“Our two Florida buy to let rental investments fund our holidays”

Case Study - Our two Florida buy to let rentals fund our holidays

Some people buy villas in Florida to capitalise on the lucrative “Disney” family holiday rentals market in Orlando. But Martin and Claire Steggles had a different plan. The couple from Chelmsford in Essex with three grown-up children love to holiday around the Sunshine State. Yet rather than buy a villa for themselves they decided to buy two properties to let out as long-term rentals.

What started with a trip to A Place in the Sun Live turns out to be a smart move as the combined rental income from the two properties they bought in 2018 enables to pay for holidays to both Europe and also their beloved Florida – they’ve just returned from the Florida Keys. “They are good investments, but we have also had the exchange rate playing into our hands,” says Martin, 55, referring to the strong US dollar over the past year. “Our dollar income has been going a long way in sterling or euros.”

So could it work for you? Martin provides some insights. “I love America. We had loads of holidays with our children and may go again to the theme parks with our grandchildren,” says the director of a construction and engineering company. “I go on a Miami cruise every year and we would love to spend longer in Florida when we retire. The climate is great, the customer-focused services superb, and there’s a hugely diverse range of things to do there outside of the theme parks.”

They headed to our London property exhibition and for the Florida stands, where they met Pat Tan of Coldwell Banker Realty who introduced the BTL idea. “We liked the idea of long term, unfurnished rentals with steady, reliable rental income. A hands-off investment that actually produces better yields than holiday lets with their weekly changeovers and utility bills to pay,” he says.

Properties for sale in florida

The couple bought two homes: a one-bedroom condo in downtown Sarasota, with a tenant already in place (who has just renewed his lease for the third time) and a two-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouse with garage in Lakewood Ranch, an award-winning master planned community Manatee county, southwest Florida. The monthly rents on them are $1,500 and $2,100 respectively – both have local workers as tenants.

Pat Tan’s company manages the properties and can provide tradesmen for any repairs. “So far it has been a very trouble-free arrangement,” says Martin. “The purchase process was easy. Even the trip to buy the properties was tax deductible – we file a tax return every year and use our dollar bank account to pay for expenses – HOA fees, insurance and annual taxes - and our holidays.”

Their holidays include trips to Anna Maria Island, Key West, the state parks of the area, the cultural attractions of Sarasota city.

Pat Tan says that the Steggles are not alone in this sort of investment. “I have quite a few clients doing this because the return is better on long-term lets. If your STR [short-term rental] house has a high level of bookings you do well, but it is a very competitive market and if bookings slide the long-term rental home will outperform significantly as running costs are so much lower.”

She points out that tenants pay all the utilities, there are no cleaning costs, no need to file sales tax and resort tax reports, and property management costs are much lower (only rent collection and responding to repairs).

The current cost to buy such properties is around $210,000 for the condo and $305,000 for the townhouse. Search for Florida properties or contact Patricia Tan.


Liz Rowlinson