Frances is one of our homeowners. She owns the beautiful Cypress Pointe Villa, a fab four-bedroom home with a games room and beautiful private pool on the Cypress Pointe development.
We caught up with Frances to ask her what it’s like buying and owning a vacation home in Florida as well as what she loves about the sunshine state.
What made you decide to buy a holiday home in Florida?
It all began at my sister-in-law’s fiftieth birthday party! We talked about how we could go half shares in a house so we, our children and grandchildren could holiday in it for the rest of our lives. Three weeks later, we began looking at some properties in England. Then my sister-in-law saw a picture of a house in Florida – it looked so perfect we bought it without even viewing it! They were out in Florida when the sale went through, so they did go and check it out… I think we completed two or three days after they returned from holiday!
How long have you had your home in Florida?
We bought it in 2013 and it was 100% the right decision. In fact, we bought my brother and his wife out last year and we now own the home outright.
When did you first fall in love with Florida?
We’ve been going to Florida for at least 25 years. We go at least once a year. It’s now no longer a holiday of a lifetime… we go to shop and relax and enjoy Florida and the pool!
Did you always know where you wanted to buy?
There are a lot of properties available in Florida and it worked really well for us buying over the Internet. It’s a really good system out there; the realtors do it all for you. I was really, really impressed: it is much, much easier. It took about four or five weeks from looking at the pic on the Internet to completion.
What is the area like?
Our home is on the Polk county border, right by Champions Gate. It’s an up and coming area, but it’s also a conservation area with lots of wildlife. Although you’re only five minutes away from Walmart, restaurants and banks, it’s really quiet. You can sit by the pool and it’s not overlooked, the birds are flying overhead, it’s so relaxing. We’ve got the best of both worlds really, because we’re right on the I4 junction 28 and it’s only a fifteen-minute drive to Disney.
Did you always know you would rent your home?
We bought it pre-furnished because we knew we wanted to rent it out. The option to buy furnished really suited us as we wouldn’t have time to go out there and buy everything it needed. We just chose what we wanted. This way, the vacation home could start paying for itself straight away.
How did you find White Rose Villas property management?
When we first bought the house, it was managed by another company, but they were doing a lot of things we were not happy about. We were recommended to try White Rose Property Management. They took it over 18 months ago and they’ve been really, really good. They always keep us up to date. Because we are a long way away, we do worry. But White Rose send us pictures of everything. Even now, throughout the pandemic, they’ve taken the time to go in and do their checks and let us know how things are.
They’ve worked really hard to book the homes. We were 90% booked for this year, before the pandemic. Right at the moment, we have no one in, but we’re 60% booked for next year. We’ve put it all in their hands and we trust them.
Do you have any advice for other people thinking about buying in Florida?
It’s a great system out there. If you know what you want and where you want it, just go for it!
Have you got any tips that guests should know before booking your home?
The best feature is just that as soon as you walk through the front door you just feel at home.
What is the best thing about your home?
The pool is the best. Plus, we’ve got loads of equipment in the kitchen because we’re gadget people!
Have you got any advice for anyone considering a holiday in Florida?
I just think the people in Florida are so welcoming. I love Universal and Disney is amazing. It isn’t like any other theme park in the world – you could spend the whole day in Disney and not go on a single ride and still have a very lovely day!
Main Street, and the parade, meeting all the characters… then at Halloween, there’s trick or treat which is brilliant for the children.
Our favourite is Epcot, especially Space Ship Earth, Frozen, the Nemo ride and the food stands from all around the world. Having the kids collect the stamps for the passports is just really great fun.
We also like Port Richey in Pasco County. And MOSI, the science museum. Discovery Cove is a definite must; you can swim with the dolphins. We’ve been twice – we’ve taken my mum in a wheelchair and on her 80th birthday she swam with the dolphins. It’s just fantastic!
You can have your own Florida adventure by booking Frances’ home.