You don’t know the half of it

Canadians are no strangers to Florida real estate. Of the $19 billion Canuck investors spent on property in the US in 2017, $7.3 billion of it made its way to the Sunshine State. Some Canadians may be eyeing Florida-based opportunities with trepidation while America remains in the hands of Donald Trump, but those who have gone forward with their investments have been enjoying remarkable returns.

But Trump isn’t the only reason investors have resisted dipping their toes into the Florida market. Purchasing, managing and maintaining properties that are more than 2,000km away can seem like a daunting task, especially for snowbirds nearing retirement age. Canadians wishing to get in on the earnings while sacrificing nothing of their lifestyles will be looking for partners – reputable, professional local experts who can find cash-flowing properties, facilitate deals and take over the most laborious aspects of property ownership.

Of these companies, The Orlando Agency stands head and shoulders above its competitors. A division of Global Real Estate Services, The Orlando Agency specializes in the needs of Canadian investors. Over the course of its 25- year existence, the company has helped thousands of Canadian clients reach their investment goals.

More than just Mickey
“We have a saying here in Orlando,” says Garry Walmsley, senior global real estate advisor for The Orlando Agency. “‘You don’t know the half of it.’ Obviously we have the tourism, and if it wasn’t for Walt Disney, a lot of what you see now would never have been created. But in addition to that, Orlando is now being recognized domestically and globally for so many other achievements and accomplishments.”

Orlando’s market fundamentals would make even the most hardened investor’s mouth water. The city has led the US in job growth for the last two years and is forecast to be the third strongest job market in 2018.

The 500,000 students living within an hour of the city, an enormous healthcare sector and a rapidly growing tech footprint provide both stability and upside – and then there’s the steady employment created by the 68 million tourists who visit the area every year.

The booming job growth and surging millennial population have helped make Orlando one of America’s strongest rental markets. A combination of steadily rising rents, a solid average annual appreciation rate – 4.5% over the past 30 years – and the increasing pressure being put on the market by rising sales have helped Walmsley’s clients obtain yearly returns of 10% or 11%. “And that’s the minimum goal for our investor clients,” he says.

The median price in Orlando as of December 2017 was a mere $230,000. This would be considered a bargain in most Canadian cities, but Walmsley says The Orlando Agency regularly finds even sweeter deals for its clients. He recently helped a Canadian investor purchase a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo on the western side of the city for $139,000 that is renting for $1,250 a month, returning 5.30% net ROI and a projected three-year cumulative figure close to 35%.

Paving the way
While The Orlando Agency initially specialized in vacation and resort properties, Walmsley says the company is now a onestop shop for Canadians looking to purchase either short- or long-term investment properties. These investors have often availed themselves of the services of local Realtors, to varying degrees of success.

“Most Canadians’ relationship with a Realtor here seems to end when they purchase a property,” Walmsley says, adding that many buyers routinely find themselves dealing with tax and operational issues their real estate agent failed to prepare them for.

“We hold your hand throughout the sourcing, purchase, management and operation of the product, starting with education and customizing our approach to your needs. But when you close on a property, that’s really when our relationship with you begins,” Walmsley says, a nod to The Orlando Agency’s unrivalled network of property management professionals.

Financing the purchase of a US property has long been a presumed sticking point for Canadian investors, an issue The Orlando Agency has all but eliminated through its partnership with RBC. “As the only US financial institution dedicated to serving Canadians in the US, their cross-border banking and financing solutions are secondto- none,” Walmsley says. “RBC Bank US is the perfect fit for our business model and values. It’s because of that that we’ve been able to build such a great relationship.”

No matter your location or goals, The Orlando Agency is ready to work for you, providing the resources, education and transparency so critical for investor success.

“We have a network of experts and affiliates who focus specifically on the needs of Canadians,” Walmsley says. “Once we determine what it is you’re looking for – appreciation, cash flow, convenience – we can help you find it.”

To learn more about The Orlando Agency’s success in helping Canadians source, acquire and manage cash-flowing rental properties in Orlando – or to find one of your own – visit theorlandoagency.com.

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