Central Florida Newbie V2.0

30 Replies

Hi Bigger Pockets! I got my feet wet on the forums here a few years back, but realized I had some big hurdles to overcome (i.e. get my financial house in order) before I could "get started". Now, I'm ready to dive in. 

My focus is on BRRRR/Buy & Hold in the outskirts of the Orlando Metro Area - specifically Clermont, Winter Garden, Apopka, Tavares, Eustis, and Leesburg. I have professional experience in construction and a ton of residential renovation contacts in the area, so I believe I have a leg-up on the rehab side.

I'm looking to connect with investors, investor-friendly realtors, lenders, and wholesalers in the area. I have yet to buy my first investment property, but plan to buy within the next 6 months.

@Lane Register Welcome (back) to the forums! I'm a Realtor in the Apopka area and hunting for investment properties throughout the area. I have a personal preference for the west and northwest areas of Orlando (Apopka, Eustis, Mt Dora, Clermont, Leesburg, Umatilla, etc). I think there is tremendous growth in this whole area and builders can't put new inventory on the market quick enough. I'm walking an MLS flip property with a client in Eustis Monday and have an Off Market seller I'm meeting with later in the week who has a distressed 3/1 block house in Apopka. The market is tight, but I'm actively in the hunt! I'd love to grab a cup of coffee when convenient for you!

@Travis Rasmussen  

It really came down to finances. When i first stuck my toe in the water of real estate investing, I realized how ill-prepared I was financially. Since then, I've paid off a tremendous amount of debt and hoarded cash. Also had to get my wife on board - she's all about it now though. 

Welcome back, @Lane Register ! I'm out in Clermont and my wife and I are looking to land our first deal. Like others have said above the area is growing rapidly! But as I'm sure you've seen out this way, most builds are new and distressed housing can be tough to come by. Although Leesburg, Mt. Dora, and Eustis have many options as well!

Anyways...welcome back! :)

Welcome back, @Lane Register . Biggerpockets has members from all over the nation. It's nice to see that there are some local people in the game. 

I started in the RE game a few years ago. I focus on buy and hold rentals. I completed my first deal in 2016 in Eustis and then in 2017, I bought two more in Leesburg. I believe in steady & stable growth and so my goal is acquiring one new property every year.

That being said, it seems that inventory in our area like others is low and prices are getting up there. It's a little harder to land a deal these days but I'm sure we can get something if we keep at it.

Would love to join you guys for a meetup @Russell Holmes@Brandon Reed

@Jay Patel @Brandon Reed its great to see some more Lake and NW Orange Co investors!  I always feel like the distant cousin claiming to be 'Orlando' area but really preferring our 'neck of the woods'. 

Jay, where are your Eustis and Leesburg rentals?  What type of properties are they and what purchase/rehab/rent ballparks did they come in at?  (Only share what you're willing to, rough approximations are fine).  Ever since I bought my home in Apopka in 2009 I've been interested in the growth out in the area northwest of me.  I grew up in Altamonte Springs ('87-04)  and saw it go from a rural town to what it is today, sort of a haphazard mix of nice residential, not so nice residential, run down commercial with pockets of freshly built/rehabbed commercial, low income apartments-turned condos before the crash-turned foreclosure havens that are barely recovering....  I watched as the growth spread to Apopka, but Apopka seemed to have a better handle on controlling that growth to be appealing. We still have a Pawn Shop at the Main St corner downtown and the fireworks vendor hired for the 4th of July extravaganza dropped the ball and cancelled the show (luckily we blew stuff up in our own street), so we are no Downtown Winter Garden yet, but headed in the right direction.  I'm now seeing Apopka beginning to build out on all available land as Altamonte was feverishly doing in the 90s and it is already spreading into Eustis, Mt. Dora and beyond.

 My new builder house was worth about 20% less than a similarly sized older Altamonte Springs house when I bought it in 2009.  The market dropped a bit more into 2012 all over the state and then has recovered rapidly since.  However, my house is now worth about 20% more than those same Altamonte Springs houses I couldn't afford to buy in 2009.  With the recovery, an obvious value favoritism has grown for areas out this way when compared to Altamonte Springs (of course there are still high value and desirable areas in Altamonte). I was ready to invest in 2012-2013 and it would have been a phenomenal time to start, but unfortunately had to 'invest' in a divorce and saving my house and business. It was a good investment as the alternative would have been bankruptcy and becoming a renter again.   I'm glad I did what I did because it has put me in a position of building my business as a Realtor with my service business to pay the bills in the transition and beginning my investing later this year having watched the market for 8+ years and at least kept my net worth positive with my house appreciation, if not as large a number as it could have been.     

@Lane Register  and I had a great chat over a cup of coffee in Winter Garden on Wednesday, extended by our trucks being blocked in by the 4th of July parade of kids and parents, haha.  He's got an incredible skillset or 'unfair advantage' as Brandon Turner talks about, having a background in contracting and being well equipped to quickly estimate a rehab job himself, something most investors need to bring an outside GC in for the bid.  We're looking into and exploring listed properties and potential deals to come up. The market is getting tighter, but potential deals are still out there.  I'm the Realtor only for now hunting properties for a handful of clients to buy, but looking to invest in the same type properties and areas myself down the road, so I'm searching for properties as if it were my money in play.  Jay and Brandon, I'd love to connect with you guys as well.  Even if you've got a Realtor you're using and don't need my services on that front, I'd like to connect with you guys as investors in the area as we can all help each other as we find and invest in properties in the same general area. 

Speaking of which, Jay, since you've got some buy and holds in the area, what is your opinion of the roughly 1 square mile area of Mt. Dora south of Limit and west of 441... if you've looked into the area at all? I've seen quite a few very appealing smaller older homes in that area over the past year or two. I've put in offers on a few that didn't get accepted since being licensed, and before that put in an offer with owner financing as I didn't have the funds at the time, but I like the area and think it will improve as new development is getting closer and closer, sure to drive rents and values up on the older smaller homes. Sullivan ranch is just east on 46 and DR Horton is clearing land for Holly Estates just a few miles south on 441. If they're selling $250k+ new homes within a 5 minute drive, I think that is a good sign. I know there are a few pockets of higher crime within the area, as is to be expected in any lower value and rent area. As rents increase I'm sure crime will also decrease. I saw the same things happen in Altamonte to low income apartments built as such for favorable financing when they were rehabbed 15 years after and sold as luxury condos. Suddenly the unsafe reputation they had gained vanished when the buildings were rehabbed and people began to pay more to live there. I've seen some 2/1 houses in that area of Mt. Dora go for under $75-80k and 3/1s under $100k, sometimes drastically under those numbers when distressed. Square footage seems to be in the 800-1200 range in that area as well with some scattered newer builds from the late 90s and early 2000s. It's hard to show a high ARV as not many have 'flipped' houses in there, but there seem to be more and more being improved as rentals. I'll personally be keeping a close eye on that area.

Glad we've got Bigger Pockets to connect with locals in addition to the experts across the country! 

@Russell Holmes My Eustis rental is right off of SR 19 close to downtown. I purchased for 50K and put in about 5K, ARV was 80K when I refinanced last year and currently rents for $1,000. One Leesburg property is in the Sunny Side area, purchased for 125K, put in about 5K, ARV is probably 160K-170K, rents for $1,400 and my other Leesburg property is off of Radio road behind the Mall. That one was purchased for $130K with about 3K worth of re-hab, ARV is $140K-150K and also rents for $1400.

I'm struggling to keep the momentum going and have not found anything to purchase this year. I have been actively looking all year.

I not a very experienced rehabber. I'm targetting homes that are about 15-20 years old and basically re-painting and re-flooring as needed. I feel like in this area, that level of re-hab can achieve good rents. No need to get too fancy with it. Since I do target the 15-20 year old homes, they normally have the original roof, AC, plumbing etc. so I pay attention to that and set aside cap-ex funds accordingly. 

I do like that area Mt. Dora area and would love to get ahold of some properties there. Once the Wekiva Parkway gets built I think that area will blow up. I think that is a good area to target. 

Russell - How much off-market hunting are you currently doing? If you are, whats your strategy? I think that's going to be the key moving forward for all of us. Its tough to find anything on the MLS right now that makes sense. Real estate is not a full-time gig for me so its hard for me to get fully into off-market deal searching. I don't currently have a realtor so I would be willing to send offers through you for sure, but if you are able to bring off-market deals that would be such a big plus.

Wow - apparently I missed some activity here on BP!

@David Baier I'm primary focused on small SF (2 or 3 bedroom) right now. I'd love to find a small multifamily deal, but I'm trying to stay in the sub $100k range. Light rehab only too, as I'm trying not to break the bank. I may change my limits as my financing network grows, but for now I'm focused on a conventional mortgage for the first deal. That 20% down eats up a good chunk of my planned initial outlay.

@Brandon Reed Thanks! Glad to see some Clermont folks around here. I'd love to meet up some time - maybe before/after work one day or on a weekend. I'm not sure I'm ready to tackle Clermont as a market to farm, but it would be great to trade some perspective since we're not too far apart in our RE journey.

@Jay Patel What's your schedule? Like right now?! Tell me everything about the Leesburg market! Haha! Seriously though, I'd love to get an overview of the North Lake market. I'll be driving the Leesburg pretty heavily this weekend, just to try to make sense of the market and better/worse areas. I've spent plenty of time in Leesburg over the years, but I'll be putting on my investor glasses this weekend to get a better lay of the land.

If you guys haven't met @Russell Holmes yet, you definitely need to - this guy knows how to do some research!

If any of you want to meet up, I'd love to do it. As @Russell Holmes said, I've got some decent construction experience so I'm always willing to provide a "professional" opinion a rehab.  

@Lane Register good to see you back on BP... I remember meeting you a couple of years ago at CFRI Lake County. There's a great Meetup group run by @Alexa Michna that meets on a Saturday morning every month in North Lake County. You should check out  "Lake County Real Estate Investor's Network".

Hey Kent! I remember meeting you too. Hope all is well. I just looked up the event on meetup.com. I'll definitely put the next meeting (8/11) on my calendar. Looks like the topic is rehab estimating. Hopefully I can add some value and learn a little there!

@Jay Patel I second @Lane Register 's reaction of wanting to meet up with you pretty much yesterday, haha, sounds like you have some great properties already.  All of those numbers sound like exactly what I'm scouring the market for, so I guess it makes me feel a bit better that somebody like you who OWNS deals like I'm looking for is also having a hard time. I wish I had a magic wand to find deals, I could sell 8 or 9 properties tomorrow if so! I'd be happy to meet up with you and submit any offers along the way as well. I'm looking forward to hunting some for myself, but I already feel the pain of my clients' having capital to invest and reasonable criteria but few listings to offer!  

As for off market deals, I'm not going to pretend that I'm able to rival what some CFRI wholesalers do. The sheer cost and volume of massive ongoing direct mail, bird dogging, etc that goes into what they do is a serious effort and one to be respected. But I'm not them. I also don't tie my investor buyers into an exclusive buyers agreement mainly due to this sort of second market. They say off market, but those guys are all serious enough that not calling it a second market is almost selling them short on the work they put in. I subscribe to several wholesaler mailing lists and recommend my buyers do too. I haven't seen anything from wholesalers that looks any good to me, but I also know that I'm only getting the leads that their best flippers haven't taken already. If a wholesaler who is working and spending on marketing finds a deal that is better than what I find through my marketing, networking and the MLS, I'm not going to try to jump in and get a commission on that. It would be ridiculous in my opinion to demand one on a property that I didn't bring to the buyer.

That being said, I am doing my own form of off market farming, but more of a targeted-area traditional MLS listing AND/OR potential off-market deal, depending on condition as I am completely mentally exhausted and done with my service business that currently pays my bills (and wastes my time :) ) and have a burning desire to replace its income with RE commission ASAP so I can roll up my sleeves and start building a RE empire full time. I know of a few really good areas around Apopka, Mt. Dora, Eustis, and Umatilla with the sterotypical 'perfect' small 3/2 rental houses (and a good mix of 3/1s and 2/1s). I'm working on geo-based farming and cold calling as well as other forms of networking with contacts in the areas to find sellers. My goal is 500 calls per week which should get me a few listing consultations a month, but I'm still working on carving out the time to knock out that many and am at about 200 per week. Also have kids home from school for summer and in part time camp, so its hectic to try to jump on the phone at times.

 I have 8-9 buyer clients with funding for different types of investment property and I'm limited on deals.  I figure rather than try to get listings for things I don't have buyers for, I might as well try to find property for my buyers, and list any that don't quite fit as a 'deal'.  Some may be rehabbed houses that I list and sell at retail, the commissions of which will help fund my transition into full time RE more quickly.  However, many of the houses in these areas are from the 1950s through the 1980s and could fall within the 'light flip' range depending on condition making it mutually beneficial to seller and investors to solicit cash offers before or after listing. So rather than specifically seeking investment deals like a wholesaler, I'm actively seeking to play a major part in the real estate market of some 'perfect rental house' type markets, C+ to B- type areas with smaller homes, maybe some duplexes, but a place I could see myself living if on a lower budget (and if I didn't have 5 kids..haha).

  Many realtors are going after $300k+ listings, but I think the below $200k market isn't actively reached out to by Realtors.  Whether a homeowner or investor on either side of the transaction, each will lead to more referrals in similar housing areas.  And if I find something distressed in these areas of smaller, older, and cheaper homes that someone may wholesale and try to get a large fee, I'd be happy to just make both sides of  commission the 'normal way' and move on to the next.

The values in the area are right to where the older distressed properties fall within range of good rentals and/or flips. Depending on owner motivations and ideas of value after conversation, they may be MLS listed or better for off market. I'm meeting with a seller tomorrow afternoon of a 1400sqft 3/1 block home. He bought it in '95 for $55k and 'hasn't done a whole heck of a lot' to it since. Fully rehabbed the ARV is around $175 up to potentially 195k if rehabbed well enough to comp with newer builds, but in the condition I assume it is in, the CMA comes out closer to $150k with some nearly identical dated comps sold nearby in the last six months right around that price. So I feel I can honestly present a market value that is fair to the seller, and at that value he may decide to list or ask me to get some offers first. If he wants me to get off market offers, I would do so with a lower commission than the MLS listing would have on both sides (I'm not going to short another MLS buyer's agent, I know it takes a lot of work, but won't pay myself that full fee if I find a buyer before listing), making the buyer and seller better off. However, it may be within range of what an investor would be looking for or may not, but it is always on my radar. He's also mentioned putting the proceeds from sale into an annuity, so he may entertain owner financing which could sweeten the deal.

We should definitely plan on scheduling a meetup in Clermont or Leesburg or somewhere central to you all soon.  It's nice meeting one on one too, but I bet the collective knowledge of several of us could save the world.....or find some deals or something.  

It's 1:00 am now and I'll be at WESH news with my wife at 8:00 tomorrow morning washing their fleet of news vans before I get to the fun Real Estate part of my day in the afternoon.  I guess it's time to carve out that time for sleep.

@Lane Register @Russell Holmes I apologize for the late response. 

Lane - How did you visit of Leesburg go? Did you find any areas that you are interested in?

Russell - I agree with you, its hard to compete with wholesalers. They have their preferred buyers like you said and I have never seen anything worth buying from their mass emails. I would be interested to hear what happened with the seller that you met with? Sounds like a good potential lead.

Unfortunately, I can only meet on the weekends due to my schedule. Let me know if you guys are available this Saturday. Friday afternoon or evening works too. @Brandon Reed

@Jay Patel - it went well. I identified a few areas that I think are worth farming. I'd love to get your input on them though. The spillover effects from Orlando that are perhaps more apparent in Mount Dora / Apopka seem to diminish in Leesburg / Tavares, so I'm working to get a better handle on the economic drivers there.

I'm out of town this weekend, but I'm up for a Saturday or Sunday morning in the next few weeks. We could do a mini BP meetup for breakfast somewhere central to us all - Apopka? @Brandon Reed @Russell Holmes

Hi Lane and welcome back!

I’m finishing a property in Apopka in the Paradise Heights area. Planning to be done by the end of August.

I’ve done several with family in the “Orlando” area such as Zellwood, Casselberry and Altamonte Springs but good deals we’re getting hard to find so moved south to West Palm Beach.

Aside from finding deals it was also a choice of where we wanted to live.

We sold our house in Toronto and moved down last August. My wife wanted to be further south and closer to the ocean which is another reason we left the Orlando area. Plus, the congestion, traffic and tourism. Damn!

I will purchase a property anywhere in Central or South Florida for the right deal. North of Central Florida is too far for me at this point however my family is doing quite well with Commercial properties in the Tallahassee area at the moment.

@Jay Patel @Lane Register @Brandon Reed How about the weekend of July 28th/29th?  I'm out of town the weekend before and after that one, but it sounds like that may work?  Lane and Brandon are down in Clermont and Jay in Leesburg.  I'm in Apopka and don't mind the drive to either of those spots, but if Apopka is the most convenient for all we could do Tijuana Flats or Panera in Apopka Saturday or Sunday.  @Darren Lenick or anyone else following this thread with interest in NW Orange and Lake Counties feel free to come if in the area whenever we eventually decide on a day that works for all.  It'll be nice finding out what everyone is doing and where, areas of interest and criteria for deals.  I'm interested to find out more  from Jay about $1400 rent he's getting in Leesburg personally, haha.    It'd be nice to meet as many locals as possible in our "northwest orlando agri-metro area", or whatever we'd call the growth happening.  

Hi Russell,

I’m going to be up in Apopka about every two weeks as it gets closer to finishing my property so keep in touch about the day/time and I’ll try and schedule around that.

@Darren Lenick I'll definitely keep you in the loop, especially if planning moves off of this thread.

@Jay Patel I forgot to respond to your question regarding the seller.  Unfortunately the elderly husband was a bit more ready to sell than his wife was. He had talked with her before our first conversation and thought he got the go ahead to start exploring a sale. So we booked the appointment and I said I'd call the morning of to confirm. They are both in poor health, the wife worse off, and he had thought it would be beneficial to be done with the house now and had discussed the same with her. I was fully prepared to meet with him and confirmed by phone that morning.  However, a little while later I got a call from him and could hear her screaming at him in the background......He said he had inadvertently started world war three and would have to postpone our meeting. I honestly felt bad for the guy as I would have graciously taken a "no" while there and thanked them for their time, but it sounded like he was already in trouble as if he had sold it.  Poor guy...

When it came down to it, she was absolutely not ready to sell and it's kind of hard to list a house when only the husband wants to sell, haha.  Honestly I can see both of their viewpoints. He was really pleased with my communication and apologetic that he had 'put the cart before the horse' so to speak and said I'd be the first to call when he is ready to sell it.  The house is in pretty rough shape from driving by (old tar and gravel roof, window ACs, etc) , so even my $150k or so estimate of value is likely a little high, even on the open market, probably more in the $130-135k range.  However, it looked solid and could be turned into a great house with rehab and the area its in.  I'll keep in touch with him  once or twice a year and keep going with my marketing in that area and others with similar houses.  I'm hoping to reach some owners of mildly distressed houses that haven't considered the ability to sell as is, and aren't needing to sell quick enough to call a 'we buy house' sign or letter.  Sort of the middle ground between a sweet wholesale deal and a cookie cutter median house listing.  That range in between should result some good property if I farm it hard enough.

Let's plan a Saturday morning breakfast on 7/28 - does that work for everyone? We can firm up the location as we get closer, but I would say somewhere around the Apopka area. Gotta be a good breakfast spot up there. 

Who's in? I'm on mobile, so I can't link names.

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