Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Top 15 LGBT Gayborhoods in Orlando, FL

Orlando Area Top LGBT Gayborhoods

As I tell out of state clients looking to relocate to Orlando, we really don't have a concentrated "gay ghetto" here...we are pretty much everywhere, which really speaks volumes regarding overall acceptance in the immediate region.  

Excluding Kissimmee, Winter Park, Longwood, Apopka, Lake Mary & Belle Isle, which are long established cities, all the other neighborhoods on this list have Orlando ZIP codes; in the case of Dr. Phillips, Baldwin Park, Wedgefield and Lake Nona, which definitely feel suburban or rural, they still have Orlando addresses.  

  1. Thornton Park & Lake Eola Heights.  Walking distance to DT Orlando, great little restaurants and bars, great mix of people, gentrified neighborhood with gorgeous bungalows and craftsman style homes on cobblestone streets. Predominantly built post WWI. Upscale and gentrified. Expensive.
  2. Downtown Orlando. Professional, good looking, educated and active...endless things to do.  Ground zero for gay pride events. Many new condo towers since the 1990's. Moderate to expensive.
  3. College Park., bars and restaurants & sleepy streets lined primarily with post WWII houses. Moderate to expensive.
  4. Colonial Town & Conway. In my opinion, these areas are ripe for "up & coming" status! Primarily 50's & 60's houses...terrazzo floors found here! Value to expensive.
  5. Winter Park. Check out Park Ave., then you'll see why it's on my list! Wide range mainly built from 1920's-60's. Moderate to expensive.
  6. Delaney Park. Designing Women's own Delta Burke has a connection to the neighborhood.  This lovely part of town features cobblestone streets, big old houses and a super location to DT Orlando.  A bit east is an area called Lake Davis, AKA "Lake Betty Davis" by friends who live in the area. Homes mainly built between WWI & WWII. Moderate to expensive.
  7. Baldwin Park. Formerly a military base, Baldwin Park is new urbanism at its finest! Easy commute to DT, nice restaurants and bars...very walkable neighborhood.  Homes built 1990's+ Moderate to expensive.
  8. Kissimmee. Yep, our gal pal's and guy's enjoy the laid back atmosphere & affordable prices Kissimmee has to offer.  Excellent little ma & pa restaurants from all over, but particularly the islands and South America pepper the landscape. Lots of new but plenty from the 70's and earlier. Value to expensive.
  9. Dr. Phillips. Many Disney and Universal executives call Dr. Phillips home, and for good reason: easy access to the attractions, airport, DT and Dr. Phillips restaurants, which are fabu! Primarily built in the 1960's-1980's. Moderate to expensive.
  10. Lake Nona Area.  Who doesn't have a friend in the medical, bio-medicine and education fields?  From doctors, nurses and other specialties within medicine, to professors and teachers at the VA and UCF Medical School, which are all located here. Suburban, moderate to upscale, green and super convenient to DT, OIA, Atlantic Ocean, Disney and Universal. Some neighborhoods were built in the early to mid 2000's; the area is currently exploding with new construction.  If you like numerous small parks and easy access and many conservation/water lots, check out East Park. Moderate to expensive.
  11. Sweetwater Area.  Straddling both Longwood & Apopka, which are both approx. 30 minutes N-NW of D.T. Orlando, this area is heavily forested (old growth) with fairly decent sized lots with homes primarily built in the 1970's & 1980's with some more recent and new construction peppered throughout.  If you want a less restrictive HOA with a well maintained aesthetic, check out the Deer Lake Run neighborhood in Apopka. Nearby is beautiful Wekiva Springs State Park, which is LOVELY! Moderate to Expensive
  12. Lake Mary. Many tech companies are concentrated in this area, which is approximately 30 minutes north of D.T. Orlando, depending on I-4 traffic. Suburban and lovely...but not cheap. Like most areas on this list, Lake Mary is also considered Moderate to Expensive.
  13. Parramore.  This is a recent addition to my list and it's for those who consider themselves pioneers.  The area has been troubled with crime and poverty for years, but with gentrification moving west from D.T. Orlando and big investments, like the Orlando Soccer Stadium and the announcement of a new UCF D.T. Campus being built, there's an energy that's percolating and pervasive.  My favorite gay bar is here, it's called Stonewall...the owners invested vast amounts of $$$ to expand their venue. Inexpensive.
  14. Wedgefield.  Full disclosure. If I could get my partner to live here, we'd be the Estates Section in the south near #528, not the northern area of the community which is sub-divisions.  I grew up in a rural setting, and Wedgefield offers it yet it's only 30 minutes from DT Orlando and 15 from OIA.  You'll find 1-10 acre parcels, some heavily forested parcels, well and septic, zoned for horses and deed restricted to prevent trailers and mobile homes.  Shopping is not conveniently nearby and it's fairly remote and quiet, which is why my partner won't budge. Moderate to Expensive
  15. Belle Isle. Looking for a lake home with that "Old Florida" feel while towering Live Oaks & hanging Spanish Moss canopy over the winding roads? You'll find it here. The location is just minutes south of DT and 15 minutes from OIA.  Lovely and Expensive.
New to Orlando?  If you like attending theatre events, bowling, concerts, museums, happy hour, networking, restaurants, etc., check out 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

How To Flip A Property: Status Update Week 3 Article 5

In case you missed the first articles on how to flip a property.

We've been hard at it the past couple weeks...

Our initial timeline was 2 weeks to have everything completed, but when you are doing a majority of the work yourself it's important to be prepared for the unexpected!  Since our delay is due to work related matters, we gave ourselves a pass on the delay!

That said, time IS money!  Any further delays means our property will not be ready to rent until the first week of March, which is less than ideal because of the carrying costs: taxes, insurance, HOA dues, mortgage, etc.

Here is a quick status update

  • flooring is being removed for new
  • even the sub-floor by removing loose edges and re-screwing squeaky/raised areas (never nail)
  • remove builder grade formica in both bathrooms and kitchen
  • remove kitchen and bathroom(s) sinks and faucets
  • patch holes in wall and re-spray texture for seamless look
  • repair loose and cracked ceiling drywall joints
  • re-texture ceiling repair

This shows the subfloor after removing the carpeting.  It's important to make this area as level as possible prior to wood flooring installation, otherwise you'll have lumps and humps causing un-evenness throughout.  We took a scraper and removed rough edges then re-screwed some of the OSB.  The black rubber pieces shown here are transitions from one flooring surface to another.

Installing the underlayment (used for floating floors) for the new flooring after the OSB has been leveled.

Kitchen counters without formica and sink.

Master bath vanities without formica counters and sinks.

Main bathroom without counter and sink.  You can also see from this photo where I began "cutting in" (painting) with the new color.

Questions about flipping?  I'm always available!

Monday, February 1, 2016

How To Flip A Property: Our Property

In case you missed the first 3 articles on how to flip a property.

Search Objectives

  • Purchase price at or below $150,000
  • At least 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms minimum
  • Minimum of 1,000 sq. ft. under air
  • Condo-Villa-Townhome (our budget did not allow single family homes as an option)
  • Lake Nona area of Orlando
  • Low HOA
  • Must have upward pricing potential to flip
  • The Cap. Rate must be 10% or above to hold
  • $10,000 set aside for repairs, improvements and upgrades

Property purchased

  • $129,900
  • 1,300+ under air
  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 baths
  • Villa
  • 1 car garage
  • Lake Nona area
  • Sales price will be upper $160's after upgrades
  • 11.45% Cap. Rate if we decide to hold instead of flip
  • Rents will average $1,375 to $1,425 after upgrades
  • REO (bank owned)
  • Costs of upgrade $6,500

You can see the property is not in horrible condition for being bank owned.  We began filling holes in the walls and prepping for the project.  Everything works, including the stainless appliances (excluding the broken handle on microwave) washer/dryer, HVAC system and garage door opener.

If you have questions about this project, you can reach me by email, text or cell anytime.

Friday, January 22, 2016

How To Flip A Property: Identify Property

In case you missed the first two articles on How To Flip A Property.

OK, here we are so far.


  1. decided on budget
  2. determined type of property available with budget
  3. reached consensus on size, bedrooms, baths, etc.
  4. decided on a specific location
Now we need to identify a property.  This is the hard part, in my opinion, because we (Roberto and I) are looking for something with a dual purpose...being a profitable flip OR a profitable rental.  If you ask 10 agents, you'll probably get 3 good answers because most don't have real time experience dealing with their own flipping or rentals, but this is what we do.
  • Is the property already discounted or at market price? This is what I mean.  If, for example, I am looking at a property that is already priced $20,000 below comp. properties, that is the sort of discount we look for in this specific price range.  Typically bank owned, short sale type listings offer the best deals, but not always!! Keep your options open and consider everything instead of assuming it's bank owned or nothing.
  • This is for flipping.  What will it cost to get top dollar for this property?  What type of updates or upgrades are needed?  Consider your immediate market.  If you are doing a flip in an upscale area where it's generally expected that high value properties have wood floors, stainless appliances and granite, what does all of that cost?  Will these improvements increase the price to pay for itself + extra $$ for your efforts?  Are you going to have to hire most improvements?  This needs to be factored as well, because labor costs will consume your profits.  Each investor has different margins, some want to make $50,000 profit while others are content making $30,000 or even $10,000, so these numbers are investor specific.
  • This is for rental.  Again, we do a similar assessment regarding repairs/upgrades for rentals because properties in upscale communities can get better returns and quicker turn around (time to lease) with bling.  But, now you have to determine if the improvements will pay for themselves.  For example, if a 2/2 property with 1,300 sq. ft. with no upgrades leases for $1,250 per month, will it lease for $1,400 with some upgrades?  Lastly, what type of returns do you want?  Are you looking just to make the mortgage payment plus a little extra OR do you expect specific performance?  We won't purchase anything without getting a 10% Cap. Rate.
As you can see, there are many variables to consider when dabbling in rentals OR flips, but it's not super difficult if you recognize what you don't know and ask questions along the way.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

How To Flip A Property: Criteria

In case you missed the first part of the series How To Flip A Property.

Now it's time for us to identify the specific search criteria on MLS.  This screen shot shows our parameters and search criteria.  As you can see, we didn't specify a lot of things since this area is quite competitive with most properties exceeding $150,000 altogether.

We are not interested in 1 bedroom 1 bath properties since their overall appeal and upward pricing and rentability is much more limited and outside our scope of objectives.

1. Budget to $150,000
2. At least 2 bedrooms and bathrooms

3. Anything above 1,000 sq. ft. under air
4. The 32832 ZIP Code, which is in the Lake Nona area

Our budget does not get us into single family properties, but we are content to have a townhouse/condo/villa.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

How To Flip A Property

If you're like me, "must see" TV is generally centered on one of the real estate "flipping" shows: Flip or Flop, Las Vegas Flip, Fixer Upper, etc., are some of my favorites.  None of them really show the process or offer viewers a logical place to begin if they have plans to enter the flipping business.

With that in mind, this blog series will follow our latest endeavor, which is to locate a flip/rental property in the Orlando area.

Our budget is $150,000.  

The objective is to identify a property in a solid/upcoming neighborhood that supports 
1. increased property pricing after improvements 
2. strong rental income...we want to have the option to hold or flip.

Now the fun part!  Looking for properties!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Privacy & Country Living Near DT Orlando and Lake Nona

If you are looking for acreage but don't want to be way out in the boonies, check out the southern part of Wedgefield southeast of DT Orlando.  It is fairly rural, but it's only 10 minutes east of OIA and Lake Nona off the Beachline #528 at Dallas Blvd.

You can find 1 to 10 acre parcels and build what you want OR pre-owned homes are always available.  The area is deed restricted with these being the more important rules:

  • Anything built on an acre must have at least 2,200 sq. ft. under air
  • No mobile homes, doublewides, modular homes are allowed
  • Optional HOA 
  • Horses are allowed but you must have two contiguous acres for the first horse

Additionally, the acreage lots to the south (estates area) are well and septic, only the homes in the northern part of Wedgefield have public utilities...they are on small subdivision lots.  This is also in the USDA Financing zone where 100% financing is available.

For new construction in Wedgefield or Lake Nona, I recommend SPC Homes.  They build a nice home, they 100% welcome the LGBT community, which I can confirm since I've had numerous transactions with them over the years.