We have also bought a home at Compass Bay, and your question all depends on what your expectations are;
I have been visiting the Kissimmee area on a regular basis for about 20 years now and ended up buying a home which will be rented out at Compass Bay after a long research, why?
Location: Close to old town and Disney, far enough from 192 not to have the constant traffic noise, yet within walking distance for anyone wanting to take the bus (Englishmen who have not learned to drive on the right side of the street).
I am comfortable with this location, but would not consider buying any property much closer to downtown Kissimmee. Although a lot of the local shops (which I do not visit - expensive and sells a lot of junk) are run by Hispanics, donÂ´t worry. Everybody doing business speak English and I have never had any problems in this respect - ever.
Quality of build: I have looked at a lot of locations, KB Home and others, and my impression is that this location offer one of the best impressions. Good quality as far as I can judge( as is the opinon of the rental agency). Other locations in the area I have looked at I would not buy even if they were discounted by 50%. In addition, the sales people at Compass Bay are the most honest I have met during my search. They have offered suggestions and advice I have not seen anywhere else.
Investment: What are you looking for? Lending the money to fund the home and expect to pay down the loan and make a profit? Forget it .
My approach is this; the home is paid in cash, we intend to use it more once we retire. In the mean time we aim that the rental income will cover the fixed and variable fees such as HOA, property tax, electricity and so on as well as building a small maintenance fund. Any profit besides this is considered a bonus.
We bought now because of the slow market and record low exchange rate. This gives a security in the future as the US$ likely will rise again, and the market will pick up eventually.
The purchase price does not sound unreasonalbe, but depends on which unit and which options are chosen. Location in the community is also a factor, close to the pool area and away from thru traffic would be a factor in my view.
Property manager; this is an area in which we did a lot of research. Make sure you get a good one, or you might be in a lot of trouble. The manager will be responsible for paying the daily bills, and most importantly - the sales tax for the rental. Miss one of these payments and you are in big trouble!
Anyways, we are confident with our situation and looking forward to taking possession of the house shortly. If you would like to make direct contact with me, please post an e-mail in which I could reach you, and I will be happy to respond.
The townhomes are very nice and KB is a good builder. The area is not the best when compared to other vacation home area like Davenport.
The reason agents try and push this community is because the builder is paying a very high commission. In all honesty it's overpriced for what it is and there are much, much better deals out there right now. On top of that, the townhomes do not book so well for holiday rentals. You would be better off in a more established community like Regal Palms, Bella Vida or Emerald Island.
Please know that while choice of Management Company is totally up to you, certain utilities will be dictated by service area so there wonâ€™t be any choice in the matter. KUA (Kissimmee Utility Authority) does water, electric, and sewer in Compass Bay. You might want to check with your Management Company (once you choose one) on things like phone/internet service as they may have requirements for you. For example, one might require you to have free long distance, one might want you to have local or emergency service only, others might not care. You should get info on transferring utilities from KB Home at closing. If youâ€™ve contracted a Management Company by that time, Iâ€™d ask them to help you set this up â€“ thatâ€™s what theyâ€™re there for.
International Drive Realty Orlando
Yes Eric, I think we are going to be neighbours, so it's really nice to speak with you.
I did an awful lot of reasearch before deciding on Compass Bay too. I don't think we're going to get rich on this one, but it would be nice to have the costs paid. We close in September and have to arrange insurance, telephone etc yet and, as I asked, find a management company. We are going out in October to make sure everything is ok and finalise things with management company's etc. We too had a copy of the deeds which made an interesting read.
If you can give me any pointers regarding who's cheapest for water, electric and phone/cables etc, use the contact me button on my profile and it will send me an email, which I would really appreciate.
Alessandro, hope my post has helped to ease your fears about Compass Bay.
Regarding choice of Property manager and choice of community, here is how we did it. Last fall was used to search the web extensively for prospects and Property managers. One of the reviews that came up was this:
We went to each homepage of the agencies mentioned and picked three that we would like to check out further. I suggest anyone looking for a property manager do the same. What we felt was right for us may not be right for you.
Then last Christmas we spent 3 weeks visiting communities and homes in the area and ended up with Compass Bay on top. Then we asked a representative from the agency to view a model home with us. His first question was: is the pool heated? The sales representative was a little stunned by the question, because as it turned out, no pool heaters were installed. I did not even think of asking that question, because I took it for granted. He explained to us that every renter will expect a heated pool in the wintertime, and that this is a must as far as rental is concerned. His summary at that point:
â€¢ Excellent location for renting
â€¢ Pool heaters must be installed
â€¢ Overpriced (they were asking almost $250k + closing cost for a 1797 at that point)
We told them no interest from us before there are heaters installed. Then after a few months we got word that the heaters were in place, and after some more time monitoring the prices and seeing one house after the other go, we made an offer lower than suggested price and it got accepted. Then another 3 weeks over in May to pick the options at KB home studio and a meeting with the Property manager to sort out some questions. Again over for the walk thru and closing in September.
We are fairly confident that we have some control, we got the HOA deed of restrictions up front and discussed them with our Property manager, got insurance quotes, prices on electricity, water and what not, so hopefully there will be no big surprises.
P.S. Since you are closing in September too, I suspect that we might be neighbours..
P.P.S. Another useful link, especially for foreign buyers is: http://www.myflorida.com
I hope your own friend's decision and the two positive buyer replies here offer you some reassurance about this community and Builder.
I would agree that what KB Home is offering at Compass Bay, especially for a brand new warranted unit in such close proximity to Disney, is an exceptional value.
192 is the main tourist area in Kissimmee. The best and closest vacation homes to Disney are in close proximity to it so I would view that aspect as a positive not a negative.
Regarding language, according to U.S. Census data, a certain percentage of persons in Kissimmee do report Hispanic or Latino origin. I find your English rather good and do not think you would encounter any language barriers.
You can probably find negative comments on every Builder somewhere on the internet. In truth, all must meet the same minimal building codes. As Eric suggests, a new product in Compass Bay would be far better than many other (older) locations in terms of quality. KB Home was ranked #1 homebuilder in Fortune Magazine's 2008 list of America's most admired companies. Customer service is half the battle and you have two very positive comments here (plus me is three) regarding the helpfulness of the sales staff.
Overall, a good deal in my opinion.
We would be happy to work with you on a purchase in Compass Bay.
International Drive Realty Orlando
We are buying a townhouse in Compass Bay and have visited Kissimmee many times without any problems (walking or in a car). So I would say the 192 is as safe as any tourist area, although you have to be wary as with anywhere these days.
We put a desposit down in April of this year after looking at quite a few new properties in the area. We decided that we didn't want to buy too far outside of the disney area as that Davenport etc was too far out and would reduce our rental ability. As Eric said, the sales staff have been really good and helpful, so depending on what your friend wants he may have made a good decision. All the research I did indicated that this would be a good spot.
Eric, what management company are you using as we have seen so many and cannot tell which are good and which are not. We're due to close in September so any suggestions woul be helpful.
Your English is fine - and definitely a lot better than my Italian, so you certainly don't owe any apologies to me!
As far as the Compass Bay Townhomes are concerned, there is no absolutely right or wrong answer because so much depends on personal preferences. I wouldn't describe the area as unsafe by any means, but we would usually recommend that our clients look at houses and townhomes a few miles to the west of the Compass Bay location - just because our experience is that a higher proportion of people like it better there (and their renters also). I also prefer the 34747 zip code because I find it more to my personal taste. Other Realtors and buyers and owners may have different preferences, of course, which may be just as valid.
On the question of builders, KB has definitely come in for some criticism over the past few years and there are alternatives - but if your friend has signed a contract then it seems as if he is committed (unless he's willing to forfeit any deposit he's paid). He should discuss any options he has with his Realtor as soon as possible if he has any doubts.
Hope that helps and if you need any clarification, please just get in touch.