After years of saving, planning and researching, we were blessed to realize a long time dream earlier this year. We bought a vacation place in Florida near the Disney World parks. While our initial thoughts including maybe using this as a small business to rent it while we were not using it, COVID-19 changed that plan as it changed so many others in 2020. Instead, we are using our vacation place now as a true second home.
After considering several different communities, we decided one had the perfect combination of location, floor plan, amenities, rental flexibility and price. We wanted to buy at Regal Palms Resort.
One of the biggest attractions of Regal Palms continues to be the pool area. This includes a main pool, lazy river, zero entry area, pool slide, hot tub, bars, play areas, volleyball court and basically all the amenities I expect in an Orlando resort. The onsite restaurant, ice cream spot, spa and (in normal, non-pandemic times) planned activities like movie nights & crafts reflect the resorts original design as a short term rental community.
In addition to the resort amenities, we wound up with over 1800 square feet for a 4-bedroom, 3.5 bathroom townhouse with a patio, balcony, full kitchen, laundry and the most unique stairs I have ever seen in a townhouse. The place came fully furnished, but we are redoing it to upgrade from a rental to a home.
My husband currently has a multi-page work plan to repaint every wall, redo the flooring downstairs, upgrade the bathrooms and generally change it to our tastes. That is very much a work in progress and will keep us well occupied and out of trouble for quite some time.
As I spent far too much time watching HGTV yesterday, here’s a sneak look at some of the design choices we are considering. I want a neutral color on most walls, with maybe an accent wall here or there. So it looks like we will do Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams. The flooring will be porcelain tile. Right now I’m thinking the 6×24 Montagna Dapple Gray from the Home Depot for downstairs. Here are some of the stock pictures from these stores to show how some of these choices might look.
I almost forgot – another benefit of having our own place is being able to bring our dogs. They have adapted well to life in the townhouse. The 5-acre fenced dog park just a five minute drive from our place might have something to do with how quickly they moved from being country dogs to city dogs. But that did change my plan to bring some color in with a blue sofa. Instead, we opted for a sectional that will not show their hair so badly. But since that gives me three shades of gray, we found an area rug at Lowe’s to break it up and anchor the room.
The sofa should arrive next month. I’m hopeful that perhaps the walls and the floor will be done by then as well. As we finish some of these projects, I will either update this post or write another. In fact, I keep thinking that our whole decision to buy, the research process and experience of what it like to look for a vacation place near Disney might make a good story for another book.
What do you think – would anyone be interested in reading about our experience buying and redoing a Disney vacation place?
Amy’s Agent & Broker Recommendations
If you ever consider looking for a place in Florida, you can’t go wrong with Keisha Long as your agent. Keisha knows the ends & outs of the market and really goes the extra mile. Looking for a vacation place was different than shopping for a home. Keisha did all the hard work and all the leg work. She visited different communities, sent me pictures and even did video walkthroughs for us once we started narrowing down what we wanted. When you are hundreds of miles away, having a local agent you trust is imperative. Keisha is a tough negotiator and she pushed hard to get us a great deal. Even after closing, Keisha still helped me out. I called her to ask about paint colors & suddenly she morphed from real estate agent to designer. There is no way we could have done this without her.
Speaking of great people, Keisha recommended Jodi Goldberg from Certified Mortgage Planners. Jodi is just fabulous! I’ve bought and sold many homes over the years and I have never worked with a broker who cared so much and was so on top of the whole process. In fact, I wound up going with her fairly late in the game after being pre-approved with two other mortgage companies because Jodi consistently made the extra effort to understand what we wanted so she could tailor the mortgage to meet our needs. Not everyone understands the dynamics of vacation homes or short term rentals, so finding Jodi was like finding a goldmine.
If you happen to decide that a Disney vacation place sounds good, consider giving Keisha or Jodi a call. They took great care of me and I know they would be a great resource for you!