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Advice please on spending the winters in Florida

Advice please on spending the winters in Florida

Old Jan 26th 2015, 9:52 am
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Default Advice please on spending the winters in Florida

We are retiring in March 2016 and are thinking of buying a place in Florida to escape to during the UK winter months. Any advice or tips on best places to buy, whether to buy within a complex, do we buy a car or rent, is it feasible to offer holiday lets in the property when we are not there,all advice would be welcome.
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Old Jan 26th 2015, 11:26 am
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Default Re: Advice please on spending the winters in Florida

Unless you buy a condo (flat) you're going to have to get into a lot of maintenance costs of mowing and yard maintenance, and also boarding up the windows when a hurricane is forecast.

Given that a fair number of people from Britain do what you're considering, as are half the pensioners in Canada, I wouldn't expect to get much rental income, if only because there are so many homes available.
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Old Jan 26th 2015, 3:34 pm
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Default Re: Advice please on spending the winters in Florida

Originally Posted by BevJez View Post
We are retiring in March 2016 and are thinking of buying a place in Florida to escape to during the UK winter months. Any advice or tips on best places to buy, whether to buy within a complex, do we buy a car or rent, is it feasible to offer holiday lets in the property when we are not there,all advice would be welcome.
How long are you hoping to spend there each year, you realise you will be restricted by the visa you have. On the VWP, you will only be allowed in for 90 days max, and it is recommended that you then stay out of the US for at least the same length of time.
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Old Jan 26th 2015, 4:21 pm
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Question Re: Advice please on spending the winters in Florida

I may be wrong but I think that Canadians don't have a problem with medical coverage when they become 'snowbirds' and spend the winter in Florida.

What do British citizen retirees without US residency rights do when they want to spend the winters in the States? Would travel insurance become ineligible if the insurance company finds out that the person whom has taken out a policy with them actually spends a few months in their property abroad (ie. the USA)? Or are there specialist insurers for long-term overseas visits?
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Old Jan 26th 2015, 4:34 pm
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Default Re: Advice please on spending the winters in Florida

Originally Posted by mikelincs View Post
How long are you hoping to spend there each year, you realise you will be restricted by the visa you have. On the VWP, you will only be allowed in for 90 days max, and it is recommended that you then stay out of the US for at least the same length of time.
Retirees just get a B-2 visa, which in most cases appears to be easy enough to obtain for retirees and gives them up to 6 months. A greater problem can occur with the IRS though, because the IRS looks at average time in the US over several years, such that over a period of years you can't spend more than, eventually, 122 days per year in the US without having to file US tax returns.
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Old Jan 26th 2015, 6:20 pm
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Default Re: Advice please on spending the winters in Florida

Thanks all for your comments and advice, any recommendations for good locations? we want to be close to shops and leisure facilities and ideally not too far from the attractions in case our family want to use it during the summer. The information Pulaski has written about tax is really useful, I wasn't aware of that. I think the biggest problem will be the health insurance. We are British, not Canadian.
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Old Jan 26th 2015, 7:00 pm
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Default Re: Advice please on spending the winters in Florida

I know people who have Florida apartments, one couple bought at the bo5om of the market. The management company also let their property when they are not there but the fees are high and they obviously let their own properties first.
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Old Jan 26th 2015, 9:39 pm
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Default Re: Advice please on spending the winters in Florida

With regard to vacation (short-term) rental - be mindful that the area that your property is located in must be zoned for short-term rental - most residential neighborhoods in Orange County (metro Orlando) are not.
If your strategy necessitates renting your house/condo to holiday makers when you are not using it during the summer, you will most probably have to look at Kissimmee, Clermont, Davenport, Haines City (Osceola, Polk and Lake Counties), where zoning for such use is more widespread.
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Old Jan 26th 2015, 10:56 pm
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Default Re: Advice please on spending the winters in Florida

There is plenty of choice in Florida with a wide range of prices.
Before you take the plunge try renting for a month or so in an area you have an interest in. Websites like VRBO - The Most Popular Vacation Rental Site in the US (vacation rentals by owner) offer a lot of choice.
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Old Jan 27th 2015, 9:33 pm
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Default Re: Advice please on spending the winters in Florida

Orlando complexes going up everywhere, International drive sucks used to be nice driving around there.
We have lived in Lakeland for 2 1/2 years and been to Orlando no more than 5 times since we have been here. Everywhere in Florida needs a car. Property is moving up in price, slowly. Where we live there are loads of snowbirds.
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Old Jan 27th 2015, 9:48 pm
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Default Re: Advice please on spending the winters in Florida

Port St Lucie is a good place to go. It's a developing place, central to Orlando, Miami, Ft Lauderdale, and the property market hasn't gone up too much.
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Old Jan 27th 2015, 10:21 pm
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Default Re: Advice please on spending the winters in Florida

You may encounter better value in Florida along the Panhandle, aka, the Redneck Riviera. It's more suth'n and less touristy. Probably fewer attractions tho.
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Old Jan 28th 2015, 3:26 am
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Default Re: Advice please on spending the winters in Florida

Originally Posted by BevJez View Post
The information Pulaski has written about tax is really useful, I wasn't aware of that.
Actually you can stay in the US for up to 182 days per year but then you'll likely meet the "substantial presence test" after two or three years and then you'll have to file form 8840 (Closer Connection Exception Statement for Aliens) to not be liable to file a US tax return. The 122 days per year that Pulaski mentioned makes sure you won't have to file anything with the IRS.

Any year that over 182 days is spent in the US automatically makes someone liable to file a US tax return.

Conditions for a Closer Connection to a Foreign Country
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Old Jan 28th 2015, 6:10 am
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Default Re: Advice please on spending the winters in Florida

Originally Posted by BevJez View Post
We are retiring in March 2016 and are thinking of buying a place in Florida to escape to during the UK winter months. Any advice or tips on best places to buy, whether to buy within a complex, do we buy a car or rent, is it feasible to offer holiday lets in the property when we are not there,all advice would be welcome.
If I were buying I'd pick Tampa/St. Petersberg/Clearwater near the beach. It's on the Gulf, beautiful beaches. Nice communities, very moderate.
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Old Jan 28th 2015, 11:28 am
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Default Advice please on spending the winters in Florida

Channel 4 have programmes, "Place in the Sun" where they take you to the area and show you up to 5 homes in and around your price range. Check out their website.
BBC also advertise doing the same
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