Choosing Upgrades That Will Enhance Your Investment Property

Whether you’re converting your primary residence into a profit machine or turning over multiple properties, good taste may not align with your tenants or your own pocketbook. Here are a few things one should take into consideration before changing the aesthetic of a home:

Aesthetic Zoning

Aesthetic zoning means a zoning in which, zoning regulations such as conformity to architectural and landscaping requirements are imposed to preserve the aesthetic features or values of an area.

Using this loosely – “how much individualism is good and how much conformity is good?”

One who doesn’t have a portfolio of investment properties nor the experience of turn over’s may not realize that they’re imposing personal taste onto the consumer. Studying trends in the community and comparables will show if value is in traditional, creative or modern design.

Orlando, Florida is known to have a wide range of community styles and builds, from Victorian and Colonial homes to Art Deco and High-Rise condos – each community rarely clashing with the other.

Unity and Harmony 

A cohesive look is most important in interior design. Our brains are able to recognize details and patterns immediately, so when there’s no consistency throughout the space it becomes less appealing.  

Examples of cohesive designs:

– Condo with white cabinetry and appliances flows with either

  1. A) Neutral walls and wood flooring 
  2. B) White walls and carpeted flooring

– Single-Family home with cherry wood cabinetry and stainless steel appliances allows;

  1. A) Earth toned colors and wood/tiled flooring
  2. B) Vibrant walls and tiled or carpeted flooring

Seek inspiration from properties that are alike because removing warmth from a traditional house by painting the exterior grey with modern intentions may make the property look unfinished and adding carpet to a High-Rise condo can drastically age the unit.

Kitchen and Bathroom

Real estate professionals love to highlight kitchen and bathroom remodels when consulting with owners; for it can be a determining factor to tenants. Against common belief, kitchen remodels are not always necessary – if market rent for your property meets the 1-2% rule. Simple changes like counter resurfacing and replacing cabinetry hardware can make the biggest difference and help you reach that return on your investment. *Getting rid of the fluorescent lighting wouldn’t hurt either – just a thought!

Property Managers with successful farming (the act of focusing marketing efforts on a specific area) are great consultants when exploring necessary renovations. One who embarks on managing property independently may overspend on material and services VS a property management company with established accounts and partnered vendors.

Long Term Tenants and Maintenance

Although long term tenants can place you at an advantage, with consistent revenue and annual increases in rent it is necessary to keep maintenance a priority. Meaning quarterly inspections, pest control and other preventive measures to protect your investment. 

Long term tenants find comfort in their home and see no harm in wear and tears that accumulate over the years.

Annual cosmetic repairs may not be necessary, yet owners should keep in mind the cost they’d incur when turning over a property after a 3-5 year tenancy. Property Management companies may mark up the security deposit during tenancy alongside a rent increase for safety measures.

Whether you’re converting your primary residence into a profit machine or turning over multiple properties, time is money. Seek an established Property Manager and start the conversation. 

For more information on styling, maintenance and property management, contact us at: or visit

Juan R. Figueroa – Realtor
Condo Metropolis LLC – Property Management and Realty

Office: 407-299-2997
Cell: 321-362-1126


The Pros and Cons of Owning an Investment Property

If you’ve ever been interested in owning a rental property, now may be a great time to start. Rental properties give you a chance to earn extra income, among other benefits. However, there are also several cons to renting out a home. For those who want to explore real estate investment, this article will cover the basics of owning a rental property.



 There may be only a few advantages to renting out a home, but each of them carry significant weight:

It can supplement your income.

In the ideal renting situation, your tenants will pay each month, and the funds will go directly into your bank account. So if your property rents out for $1,200 a month, that’s $14,400 a year. There may be no guarantees that your property will be rented out all year, every year, but even if you receive payment for nine or 10 months out of the year, you’re bringing in a decent amount of money.

It’s also worth noting that you stand a chance of experiencing growth in property value over time. However, if and how much the value grows depends largely on the demands of a property like yours, as well as on its location.

 DIY improvements can raise the value of the home.

Another pro is that you can take steps to raise the value of the property by doing home improvements yourself. Whether it’s repainting the interior, framing a bathroom mirror, or making upgrades to the landscaping, minor changes can raise the value significantly without costing a lot up front.

You can stay there yourself.

When you rent out a home, that means you own it, which means you can always use it if you decide later you need to live there. Maybe you want to rent the property out as a seasonal home and stay there for a few months out of the year. Or maybe you decide that rather than selling it it’s better to move in to avoid capital gains. Whatever the case, owning a rental property can provide you with both vacation lodging and another way to save money.


There are also some disadvantages to owning a rental property that you should be aware of:

Maintenance can be stressful.

There’s a lot of maintenance that comes with owning a rental property. That’s where a property management company comes in. Hiring professionals to keep your property running smoothly will save you a great deal of stress, and it’s well worth the investment.

You could have a terrible tenant.

Another disadvantage of renting out a home is that you can’t always know for sure whether your tenant will be a good one. Sometimes a prospective tenant seems great when you meet them in person, but four months down the road they begin to miss payment after payment. Or maybe they neglect to clean up after themselves and disturb the neighbors. You can, however, avoid all of these issues by contracting with a reliable property management company that performs extensive background checks on all tenants. With Orlando averaging $1,401 in rent for a single-family home, you want a piece of that pie, and having a solid management team can ensure you’re getting the most out of your investment and that it’s inhabited by reputable tenants.

One property isn’t diversified.

Last but not least, when you own just one property, there isn’t much diversity involved. For instance, you can lose money if the neighborhood, block, or home itself loses value or experiences damage. If you plan to own more rental homes, however, you can then better diversify your investments.

There’s a lot that goes into renting out a home. The most important thing is to do your research and consider all the pros and cons. Then you’ll be able to make an educated decision on whether to pursue a rental property as an investment.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Homeowners: How to Budget for Home Repairs and Renovations


When you were a kid wishing you were an adult, owning your dream home was probably right up there with being able to eat ice cream whenever you want. Now that you’ve reached adulthood and you’ve been handed the keys, you’ve probably realized home ownership comes with a few headaches too. Home repairs are a necessary evil, and the aftermath of some could result in a noisy renovation project. Both of these scenarios come at a cost, but it doesn’t have to completely ruin your monthly budget – here’s how:

Start Building a Rainy Day Fund

No matter how meticulous you are about taking care of your home, emergencies happen. Your roof might spring a leak after a rough storm, the kids could cause a pipe to burst after flushing an entire box of crayons, or the A/C might conk out on the hottest day of the year. You truly never know what your home has in store for you, so be prepared by putting money into a home repair emergency fund.

Aim to put aside 1 percent to 3 percent of your home’s value so that you have about three to six months of living expenses. This sounds like a lot, but when you add up the cost of various repairs and include the fact that one or many could happen at once, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Renovations can be costly too, averaging $100 to $200 per square foot according to Budget Dumpster. Some are by choice, but damages from leaks, flooding, and mold could mean a room remodel.

What If You Find Yourself Unprepared?

When an emergency happens, waiting around until you have the funds to cover it isn’t a smart option, as it can result in further damage. So what are your payment options if you are truly in a bind? A smart way to cover the cost would be with your emergency fund, but if that is nonexistent or not enough, you can use a personal loan, take out a home equity line of credit (HELOC), or borrow from a family member or friend. Some repairs may be covered by your home insurance policy, so make a point to check there first. In addition, there are various government programs in Florida you can look into to help offset the costs.

Preparing for the Renovation

If a repair needs to be made, hiring the right professional, whether it’s a plumber, electrician, or roofer, is pretty straightforward. However, a renovation is on a much larger scale, and will require a contractor. When you are looking for the right contractor for the job, be sure to interview candidates and explain your expectations and timeframe. It helps to have a plan in place so you can get an accurate bid. Ideally you should speak with three or four contractors and get the same amount of bids before putting a contract in writing to avoid potential scams. Keep in mind that you’ll likely run into ancillary costs such as unexpected expenses, costly additions — even a storage unit. Your home will be a construction zone for a bit, so you might play it safe and protect your furniture and belongings by putting them into storage. Thankfully you can get a cheap 5’x5’ unit for $25.20 a month at CubeSmart Self Storage (located in Orlando at 7200 Old Cheney Hwy.)

Avoid Repairs with Home Maintenance

Your home can’t take care of itself, so with regular maintenance you can prevent costly repairs from catching you off guard. Living in Florida, you find yourself in a warm climate with a significant rainy season and a high probability of experiencing hurricanes. Make sure the exterior of your home can withstand the beating, and use this monthly checklist to keep your home up and running all year long.

Home repairs and renovations aren’t easy on your wallet. Keep costs down by starting an emergency fund or exploring various payment options. Know what to expect when hiring a contractor for renovations, and avoid costly repairs with regular home maintenance.

Photo By: Unsplash


Orlando Fixer Uppers

What You Need to Do If You Buy a Fixer-Upper


Considering the price of available homes in many areas of the U.S., a fixer-upper is a great way for first-time homebuyers to break into the market. If you’re unsure of where to start, here are a few tips to get you ready for your first home.



Buying a Home

When buying a fixer-upper, you will face a number of uncertainties. Make sure you take into account the initial investment, mortgage, insurance, and expense of repairs and renovation. This will be an important gauge when judging an asking price. Before committing, inspect your desired home. Since you’re buying a property that’s in need of renovation, it is important to assess the structure, plumbing, and wiring as part of your budget projections. In the end, your vision may not be enough to justify a purchase if an inspection finds deficiencies too severe to remedy. In addition, make sure to extensively research permit and coding requirements, as the process can be lengthy.


Get Advice and Support

 Purchasing a fixer-upper is a major investment. For example, the average listing price for a fixer-upper in Orlando, FL is $295,000. An Orlando real estate agent can help you get a deal that works for you. Look to hire an inspector to evaluate the home and identify any major flaws. An architect will be another valuable source of knowledge. They can aid you in honing your vision and give you guidance as to what will be feasible. Architects will have an extensive network and might be able to assemble a team of contractors. Having contractors is important as you start the process of renovation. Make sure to do extensive checks to ensure you assemble a team you can trust, with an emphasis on references and verifiable reviews. Research will help limit any risks and may help save you money. In addition to your team, it is prudent to consult with the homeowners’ association or neighbors to get a feel for the area and what upgrades are not acceptable.


Future Plans

 Knowing what you will do with your new home is essential before starting. Will it be your forever home? Do you intend to renovate, then flip? Having a well-defined vision will help develop the scope of your investment and give you a clear direction. If this is going to be your home, give yourself more license when it comes to emphasizing your personality. However, if you plan to ultimately flip for a profit, you will have to stress neutrality to maximize its appeal. Avoid distinctive wall colors, and opt for enduring surfaces like hardwood flooring. If you plan to rent out the property, you should opt for additional precautions, like more resilient, and inexpensive, materials.


Repairs and Designs

 When it comes to a fixer-upper, the priority has to be your home’s foundations: plumbing, wiring, walls, and ceiling. Address structure before you start to implement a grander design. This will ensure absolute safety and minimize hazards faced by you or your team. In the end, it may simply be more prudent to gradually restore rather than rip out pieces of your new property and adapt what you can to your vision. Renovations require numerous minor adjustments and decisions. Communication will be essential to ensure that the process is smooth and not disrupted by confusion and uncertainty. DIY repairs may be something you feel comfortable taking on yourself. You might be interested in replacing door knobs or patching up nicks or holes. Before taking on any personal projects, it is important to assemble the right sort of power tools, especially drills, sanders, and jigsaws, which will ensure your repairs are done correctly.


Overall, there is much to consider when venturing into the home market. If your aim is a fixer-upper, do your research, get the right team, and use the right tools. You’ll be well on your way to fulfilling your dreams of owning your own home.

Image Courtesy of

Tips for Finding the Right Condo for Sale in Orlando

orlando skyline

With a tremendous rise in Orlando’s real estate market, the desire to purchase a condo has increased. The market is ideal for investors wanting to dip their toes into the area and acquire a condominium.

Local Realtor Fred Franks states, “The housing market last year was strong in the Ocala housing market, but a rush of interest has appeared for condos in Orlando. Northeast buyers are eager to get their hands on these condos making Orlando’s market stronger.”

For those considering purchasing a condo in Orlando, it’s important to have a plan in mind before diving in.

Establish Personal Needs

  1. Size – Start with the size as that’s going to have a powerful impact on your condo’s future value. Make sure it fits with your expectations and meets the eye test as well.
  2. Rooms and Layout – While the size is important, you also want to be mindful of how the rooms are laid out. Does it have a robust family room? Is the kitchen as you want it to be? What about the bathroom(s)?

Make sure the layout is perfect before diving in and making a purchase.

Pinpoint Future Value of Condo

  1. Current Value vs. Potential Growth – What is the future growth like in the neighborhood? Look at analyzing past prices and then comparing them to what you will be paying. This can set a baseline for your decision in the future. Orlando is a bustling market with lots to give, but you still want to do your due diligence.

One of Orlando condo specialist state you still want to optimize the purchase and assess how it’s going to fit into your budget and the value it will return in the long-term when you’re ready to sell.

Analyze Neighborhood in Detail

  1. Multiple Visits (Day and Evening) – Don’t visit the condo once and call it a day. Visit it multiple times to ensure you’re getting a good read on it. Visit it during the day and then during the evening to see if there’s a difference. It will ensure you make a good decision based on your needs.
  2. General Vibe – What is the vibe like in the neighborhood and building? Do you like how it is set up?

Ask these questions and don’t be afraid to go with something else. The market is bubbling, and you’ll want to determine the vibe and how it’s going to impact overall value for your condo.

  1. Layout of Neighborhood – What is the neighborhood like when it comes to its layout? Is it easy to access major stores in the area? What about schools if you have children?

Ask these questions immediately. It will help with your decision.

Additional Tips

  1. Check View from Condo – Considering the view from your new condo is important. For example, a condo overlooking a garage entrance is going to see a vigorous amount of traffic. This will mean continuous noise throughout the day leading into the evening. In general, it’s best to avoid condos of this nature.
  2. Parking Space is Important – Is there a parking space being offered? It’s important to have one available in case you want to use it or rent it out. Don’t settle for less as a parking space does come in handy even if it’s something you don’t require.

Start with these tips and dive into Orlando’s hot real estate market. This is the time to jump in and make the most of your investment. The value will only continue to rise, and the area is ready for a major burst forward in the next year or so.

Frederick Franks
Orlando Realtor.

New Legislation Will Help Condo Buyers

H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act, was passed by the Senate. Now, it just needs President Obama’s signature to become law.

This legislation includes reforms to current Federal Housing Administration restrictions on condominium financing, and will help would-be buyers of Orlando condos – in particular the condo conversions which are so ”investor heavy”. In some communities 90% of owners are absentee investors and this has made lending almost impossible until now.

These changes will make the Federal Housing Administration’s recertification process much easier, and it will lower the FHA’s current owner-occupancy requirement from 50% to 35%. The bill also requires FHA to replace existing policy on transfer fees with the less-restrictive model already in place at the Federal Housing Finance Agency.


The FHA’s current restrictions on condominium financing present a significant hurdle for one of America’s most affordable options, according to testimony given on Capitol Hill in 2015.

Current NAR President Tom Salomone oultined the opportunity. “Condominiums often represent an affordable option that’s just right for first-time and low-to-moderate income homebuyers. Unfortunately, overly burdensome restrictions on condo financing have for too long put that option out of reach for many creditworthy borrowers.”

“This legislation meets those restrictions head on, putting the dream of homeownership back in reach for more Americans,” Salomone said. “Tight inventory and rising home prices are a reality of today’s market, and mortgage credit is hard to come by.”

“We should take every opportunity to clear the path for well-qualified borrowers to purchase a home when they’re ready, and this legislation does just that,” he said.

For more information concerning Orlando condos, check out our website at: or call us on (407) 901-5161.

Just Listed: Tuscany Place 3967 Cesare St 32839

Here’s a beautiful town house we just listed for a UK seller.

Well looked after with lots of upgrades, it’s in a new community built by Taylor Morrison just a few years ago. Already the landscaping has taken hold and the location couldn’t be better. This town-home can be sold with our without a tenant, and professional property management is on hand for a would-be investor.

Just call Condo Metropolis on: 407-901-5161 x10 with any questions or for a tour (or email

3967 Cesare St. Orlando FL 32839

Drones Legal for Real Estate Photography

The legal status of drone photography when it comes to real estate remains the subject of much controversy. In fact, several industries are currently affected with it comes to the legal status of arial video and photography, including drone photography for weddings, sporting events and the like.

At the current time, any aerial photography done to advance a commercial purpose requires that the operator have a private pilots license. Such licenses are not required for “hobby” flights however, although even these flights are restricted according to proximity of crowds and buildings etc. Even hobbyists can find themselves subject to legal action if they breach these guidelines. See, for example this drone flight across the Orlando skyline. Clearly designed to advance a ”commercial purpose, the UAV operator would not only have needed a pilot’s license, but even with that, there appear to be clear breaches of the guidelines that restrict flight close to public buildings etc.

According to a wedding drone site, it seems likely that in 2016, the current Federal guidelines may be softened or otherwise revised as authorities struggle with the proliferation of unauthorized UAV flight and what appears to be a loosing battle in the face of so many “illegal” flights taking place. Clearly something has to give and it seems increasingly likely that those drone operators who are already licensed in their industry, eg. real estate photographers, may eventually be given special dispensation to carry out those legitimate business activities, provided they adhere to the guidelines provided.