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Port St. Lucie - Sebastian - Vero Beach St. Lucie, Martin, and Indian River counties (Treasure Coast)
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Old 02-18-2014, 07:05 AM
 
95 posts, read 155,005 times
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We have been looking around at houses in Vero Beach and Sebastian, for a nice place to buy and rent out. We're looking for a place in a good neighborhood that would be someplace we may eventually want to snowbird or retire to ourselves. So we want a house we would be proud to own, and not just be cheap slumlords.

So far we have been browsing houses on-line, and learning all we can here on the forum. When I get a break from work I want to go down to see houses and neighborhoods in person.

We are looking at single-family houses with probably 3 bedrooms, in a neighborhood with no HOA, in the $100-160k range. We tend to lean toward fairly simple and modest houses, in an established neighborhood, hopefully with some trees. A larger lot is a plus, too. But we're somewhat flexible with that.

I am guessing this would be rented out to retirees or snowbirds, or possibly a young family. We could afford to take some extra time to be picky about tenants. Hopefully we could get $1200 a month or so in rent, a bit more or less depending on the purchase price. I am assuming the tenant would pay all utilities and handle lawn care.

Does anyone have any suggestions or observations about the market for renting out this type of house? Any information would be appreciated.

Thanks!

David
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Old 02-18-2014, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Venice, FL
1,690 posts, read 2,794,563 times
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FlaLadyB is a realtor that can help you out if you're interested. She is very knowledgeable in the housing market here. Message her and she would be more than happy to assist I'm sure!

Good luck!
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Old 02-20-2014, 10:44 AM
 
95 posts, read 155,005 times
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Thanks for the suggestion. I may contact her.

In the meantime, though, I would really like to hear about experiences and suggestions from people either renting houses out, or from renters themselves.

David

Last edited by db4570; 02-20-2014 at 11:42 AM..
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Old 02-20-2014, 11:43 AM
 
Location: Gainesville, FL; formerly Weston, FL
3,233 posts, read 3,186,050 times
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I met with a potential client around the early part of 2012, and in the meeting, we discussed the rental properties owned -- two were in Weston, FL (a condo and a single family home) and one, a single family home, a 3/2, was in Port St. Lucie. The one in Port St. Lucie was, according to this person, not pulling its own weight -- there were lots of homes available, the demand wasn't as great as Broward, it was sitting empty a lot, or they had to keep reducing the rent. What was expressed to me was if they had to do it over again, they would never have bought the home in Port St. Lucie to rent.

I know that the real estate market can be a lot like the stock market -- demand is high, then low, certain areas are hot, then not. Maybe check the yellowkey realty website and search for rentals in Port St. Lucie and see how long they've been listed -- that might give you some idea as to the market. An article appeared in the paper here in Broward stating that, at least in Broward, it was cheaper to buy than rent, primarily due to low interest rates. Good luck in your research!
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Old 02-20-2014, 04:24 PM
 
Location: Port St. Lucie, Florida
4,507 posts, read 9,195,244 times
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right now the demand for rentals is great and the prices for rentals in the area have gone up. There are a number of people purchasing foreclosure properties, fixing them up and putting them on the market. If they didnt think they could make money they wouldnt be doing it.

I've been here for many years and never ever heard of yellowkey realty.....

and...for the record... many many of the rental people moved FROM Broward to live up here...where it's safe
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Old 02-20-2014, 06:14 PM
 
10,599 posts, read 17,886,038 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wizrap View Post
I met with a potential client around the early part of 2012, and in the meeting, we discussed the rental properties owned -- two were in Weston, FL (a condo and a single family home) and one, a single family home, a 3/2, was in Port St. Lucie. The one in Port St. Lucie was, according to this person, not pulling its own weight -- there were lots of homes available, the demand wasn't as great as Broward, it was sitting empty a lot, or they had to keep reducing the rent. What was expressed to me was if they had to do it over again, they would never have bought the home in Port St. Lucie to rent.

I know that the real estate market can be a lot like the stock market -- demand is high, then low, certain areas are hot, then not. Maybe check the yellowkey realty website and search for rentals in Port St. Lucie and see how long they've been listed -- that might give you some idea as to the market. An article appeared in the paper here in Broward stating that, at least in Broward, it was cheaper to buy than rent, primarily due to low interest rates. Good luck in your research!
Yeah but Weston is tricky. It's very desirable and geographically situated really well for people even commuting to Miami but retaining that family vibe with good schools and ULTRA safe. Also close to the airport.

A condo in Weston is ALWAYS going to be easier to rent than a single in PSL. Especially after the crash. Weston is expensive and single people are going to want to rent a condo. I'm no realtor but I'd guess this to be true ANYWHERE in FL.

PSL has 3x the population of Weston, with half the per capita income. Also the median house/condo value is three times greater in Weston, less than half the crime rate, and 1/3 the square miles of PSL.

While Weston was considered a "good" area especially for Hispanic folks, they have/had PLENTY of foreclosures just like PSL. But I do believe that perhaps PSL was more difficult to rent back then because of Weston's niche'y market. Much easier to put tenants in Weston than PSL, and good ones IMO.

Weston Foreclosures For Sale, Foreclosed Homes - Zillow

Ironically, my first landlord in Vero was from Peru, lived in Weston and bought this single house in Vero for his future retirement and rented it out. And he had a really crappy tenant up here...before I rented it.

The market in FL was just a total mess and just now starting to stabilize and come back IMO. I stated out needing to relo to Broward (FT Lauderdale or Tamarac) and could NOT get a decent rental in 2008 (for $1200!)so I worked my way up the coast and changed my entire relo plan and ended up in Vero. Broward was a complete disaster back then I'd fly down to see a duplex in Coral Ridge and find a mattress outside on the porch next door! And 850 sq feet bungalows holding 8 adult renters inside! But Weston was still holding it's own in terms of desirability from what I remember.

So to the OP, if you want to rent out a single home as an investment property, for your future use, I would recommend Vero Beach. As a pet sitter/dog walker, I work for MANY people who are renters in single homes. Just last week I did a live in job in a $2 Million dollar property on the ocean for renters (annual not seasonal).

The trick, of course is managing it from a distance. And for this reason I think you should INSIST On an HOA community. As long as the HOA is strong with good reserves. Which would be tricky in that price range but there are many single family subdivisions with a very small HOA fee because they only maintain small things like the common areas grass or a gazebo or something...no pool or gates.

There are also a MILLION laid back streets of singles in that price range. And what you may find is that as a long distance owner, you have no idea how your particular street is going to "hold up". It's a Florida thing that is not resolved yet.

You'll have no problem finding something, It all depends on what you LIKE when you get here. You have to look in person, because this street view google earth thing does not show the entire picture. Especially of the neighborhood and surrounding streets.

It's hilarious all the people who say they don't want an HOA yet want to live IN THAT COMMUNITY. Like it magically gets so nice by coincidence and not from the community's residents. So maybe keep an open mind since you're talking about leaving a property in the hands of total STRANGERS!

To ME, $1200 is HIGH for a house that cost you &100 - $160. But maybe I"m wrong, I haven't looked lately. You can get that info on line on realtor dot com, trulia etc.

And I'm not too sure of the tenant doing lawn care. But utilities, sure. And yes, we have TONS of trees here.

I'd suggest paying a property manager. My friends with rental properties do that and have them go EVERY MONTH to replace the AC filter...AND eyeball the condition of the house. It's in the lease.

Last edited by runswithscissors; 02-20-2014 at 06:36 PM..
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Old 02-21-2014, 04:27 PM
 
Location: Port St. Lucie, Florida
4,507 posts, read 9,195,244 times
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what it comes down to ..your original question.... buy a decent house that you like since its your retirement house. Put it up for rent with a local Realtor who knows your area....possibly the one you bought the house from.

a lesson

Make sure they do a credit and background check that includes the entire US..not just Florida. SEE their application and reports yourself first so you have an idea of who you are renting to. Do not...have them deposit their monthly rental check in your bank account. Why? The attorneys that do my leases are big on this.. because, if you ever need to evict them and they deposit money...of any amount....in the account... you are back to square one and the eviction notice is null and void. You "accepted" partial or full payment and thats all folks.

In the end.. buy what YOU want. Don't dwell on the rental. That is only "in the meantime". You will be living there so please...be happy with your purchase of a house. THAT is what counts.

by the way.. not all tenants are bad. I have has some wonderful tenants who left my houses in wonderful shape...like they received it. Just pick and choose till you find one you like and have good jobs, background and income.
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Old 02-23-2014, 08:23 AM
 
95 posts, read 155,005 times
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Thanks for the helpful replies.

Runswithscissors: I really appreciate your regular and helpful replies to my and other posters' questions. But I am wondering why you recommend a HOA community for a house to rent? Is it just because they have rules about junk in the yard, busted cars, behavior, etc? I am finding that in looking at properties in other places, the HOAs do a lot of the work that where I live now, in the Northeast, is handled by the municipality. For instance, if someone has a car up on blocks, or a junky camper in their driveway, these are against our town ordinances, and a phone call to the town will generally be responded to immediately. I understand how other communities consider this to be too intrusive, or too much work for the town. In these cases, it seems like the HOA functions as a de facto local government. Would you say this is the situation there?

FlaLadyB: Thanks for your suggestions. Very helpful. I agree with you that all tenants are not bad. I'm optimistic, but will do my due diligence. I usually have a pretty good nose for the bad apples.

David
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Old 02-23-2014, 02:19 PM
 
10,599 posts, read 17,886,038 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by db4570 View Post
Thanks for the helpful replies.

Runswithscissors: I really appreciate your regular and helpful replies to my and other posters' questions. But I am wondering why you recommend a HOA community for a house to rent? Is it just because they have rules about junk in the yard, busted cars, behavior, etc? I am finding that in looking at properties in other places, the HOAs do a lot of the work that where I live now, in the Northeast, is handled by the municipality. For instance, if someone has a car up on blocks, or a junky camper in their driveway, these are against our town ordinances, and a phone call to the town will generally be responded to immediately. I understand how other communities consider this to be too intrusive, or too much work for the town. In these cases, it seems like the HOA functions as a de facto local government. Would you say this is the situation there?

FlaLadyB: Thanks for your suggestions. Very helpful. I agree with you that all tenants are not bad. I'm optimistic, but will do my due diligence. I usually have a pretty good nose for the bad apples.

David
YES - not as the de facto government but to keep the neighborhood the way people with shared values want it. Florida has alot of deferred maintenance properties especially since the crash. NO, you don't see cars up on blocks around here, but you see LOTS OF STUFF all over the place. Then the entire block turns that way. Yes behaviors, keeping the houses PAINTED, roofs repaired, grass cut, dead trees removed, fences not falling down. etc.

Junky camper? LOL very common. At least in a couple HOAs I know, some will allocate a parking area for those vehicles and they're usually not junky .

What about the Florida fake car ports of a huge TARP on poles in the driveways? Lovely. LOLOL. Yep we have them here.

I'm totally NOT AGAINST people keeping crap in their yard. Boats, RVs kid's stuff. I'm all about property rights and people enjoying whatever life style they want. But it's not my type of neighborhood.

I'm from Philly and distinctly remember our first single house in the "far northeast" newly developed area.

We walked outside one morning and the dope next door (with 6 kids in a 3 bedroom house) had 3 dead deer hanging from ladders - about 20 feet from our patio - max. FOR THE WEEK.

People have all kinds of preconceived ideas about HOAs. Some valid but TTYTT, where I live we LOVE our community. Never any problems and loads of volunteers. And where I work the HOAs are pretty invisible. Some of them are quite small and only have to maintain the SIGN, common grass and the paint on the walls holding the sign - not even any gates.

One place I work has an empty house and the guys' fence has fallen down in parts twice now and the neighbors fix it. They're just those type of people. Who lived there when the fence was getting destroyed? RENTERS.

I lived in a HOA in the suburbs of Philly where the environmental board people got a bit out of hand. I get it.

But if I'm investing hundreds of thousands of dollars to RENT TO TENANTS, and hope to RETIRE there, I am not going to be stuck with a depreciating asset or in a neighborhood that doesn't hold it's value.

Florida has some unique challenges in that regard. Luckily, things are turning around and much better than say, 2009. Can you find houses not in an HOA that suit your needs? Sure. But my son lived in a GORGEOUS little neighborhood as a tenant before the crash and after? A DISASTER. It completely changed my entire relocation plans.

RIGHT NOW I'm looking out my front door where there are three condos sharing the atrium. The guy across from me is a snow bird and renting out his condo for a month or so.

Those people have had their SHOES out on our atrium for two weeks. WTH. Take your damn shoes inside! LOL See? A minor thing. But NOBODY ELSE HERE does that! Another time their door was wide open for two days. I thought maybe they had a flood or something. NOPE, just the realtor or someone never shut it. WTH.

Bottom line is you have to look in person. Plenty of people find neighborhoods they love but it takes in person searching up and down all the streets on the "grid".

Last edited by runswithscissors; 02-23-2014 at 02:31 PM..
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Old 02-23-2014, 06:05 PM
 
Location: Port St. Lucie, Florida
4,507 posts, read 9,195,244 times
Reputation: 1999
I have plenty of owners who are not here. I have 2 in South America that I have taken care of their homes for over 6 years. Most of my owners do not live in the area. If something breaks or needs repair I am usually the one who gets the call.. and I have a handyman who fixes just about anything. I don't get paid for that part, but I do it because it keeps both my tenants and my owners happy.

There are also good and bad owners-- some who will do whatever it takes to keep their homes in top shape, and others who only do what is absolutely necessary to keep the house from falling down. Me, I prefer the one who keeps the house in shape and if something happens he get's it fixed. I don't mind being the go-between for them. I have a handyman, and a/c guy, a plumber etc...all who I trust and call on to do work for me. They do it well because they know I will only use them if I can TRUST them to do a good job and not jack me or my client for the cost.

I have heard from many tenants who have landlords who won't fix anything and sometimes, it's a major thing, like the air conditioning. Who wants to live in a house with no a/c when it 95 degrees out?

There are good and bad on both sides.
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