Homeless in Florida?

Our Florida ‘Winter Summerland’ escape took a strange twist this weekend.  I was at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona auto race and saw a random text from someone named ‘Andy’.  I looked at it and realized it had something to do with our February month-long AirBNB rental outside of Orlando.

Andy was the AirBNB ‘host’ and he said our reservation was immediately CANCELLED “due to COVID”.  

Just that quick, we were 3 days from being homeless in Florida for the next month.

It turns out that a maid who had been cleaning the unit in preparation for our arrival had contracted CV19.  AirBNB bizarre “mandatory policy” requires the host to basically quarantine the property for 14 days.  He says no one can go in – no guests, no hosts, no cleaners.  Andy said the unit hadn’t been fully cleaned and it would probably take him 3 weeks to pass the quarantine period and get someone in the unit to clean it. 

What a travesty all around.  He’s out rent, we’re out a great place to stay.

As you might expect, finding a month-long rental on 2 days notice that is also pet friendly is a bit of a challenge.  Fortunately, money can help solve such an issue and we ended up with a cottage in Orlando’s nice Margaritaville for an extra $100/night.  That works out to an incremental $3,000 grand for the month, but still a good value compared to what we were paying on Cocoa Beach and will pay in Sarasota, adjusting for length of stay & quality of property.

The chart illustrates just how much location drives cost in the winter in Florida.  It makes a huge difference (I know, “location, location, location”).  There are a lot of vacation properties in Orlando for families, but in the winter the kids are (mostly) in school.  In the summer and over the holidays, I’m guessing the numbers flip.

Here’s the cost comparison for each of the locations if one were to rent for 75 days at a 3.5 star place over the winter.  The differences are major: $10-$15K more to stay on the coasts versus Orlando.  We haven’t done any more work on our Florida Project, but you can see why location will be the biggest decision we make.

I know it’s great to be on the beach, but I’m still shocked by what a difference it makes.

Image Credit: Margaritaville Orlando

20 thoughts on “Homeless in Florida?

  1. Loved reading this one. So sorry you had such a lousy late notice for a seemingly asinine reason, especially given the likelihood that the maid had omicron. We rented a one month condo in Lakewood Ranch last January. Although the owner had it listed on a site similar to ABB, she also listed her contact information. When we reached out, she had pulled that listing and rented to us as an individual owner. That may be a way for Andy to work around the crazy requirements. However, it sounds like you are happy with your replacement solution.

    Still hope to link up in Sarasota, if the stars align. Our construction has been halted for weeks now, waiting for trusses. Maybe between now and the end of your stay we can scoot down there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was getting ready to make a similar post. Much better going direct, especially when you are already familiar with the property. Both the renter and owner have the potential to save and avoid crazy rules.

      Often when looking for specialized auto services such as parts rebuilders, they show up in EBAY as located in LA. I then do more searching to try to find out who they are and where they are located. These small businesses are very happy to deal with you directly. My contacts are full of people who know how to deal with various issues. It is great to be able to pick up the phone and talk to the proprietor to find out if they can do what you need done.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I planned to try that option with Andy and he strangely refused to call me. He would only text me that he had to cancel the reservation.


      1. Did you have his direct mobile phone number, or was it passing through a proxy number that AirBnb was providing? I know eBay blocks messages where you try to bypass their system to deal directly with a seller.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not perfect because the ‘quality stars’ can be tough to compare, but it’s something. “Fun with Math” 🙂


      1. Do your price comparisons including the AirBnb add-on fees like the cleaning fee, service fee, and occupancy taxes? Just to satisfy my curiosity, I looked at comps in Margaritaville and Cocoa Beach to get a feel for the rental fee versus buy price to estimate how many nights per year a property has to be rented to break even. Then for comparison purposes, I compared against rents in Malibu. There is a possible new metric here, $100 nightly rental income per $100,000 of buying price. Due to the prices be a lot higher in Malibu and the income not being much more than your locations in FL, it looks like there is a better opportunity to make a return on FL rental property versus CA rental property.

        One of the other posters, Mr. Financial Samurai writes about living in San Francisco and investing in other parts of the USA for better return.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I included everything in the cost line – all fees, taxes, etc. Fully loaded bottom line.


      3. Exactly where my math geek mind was going. “Cost” in dollars is a linear & proportional measure (measured from a true zero; $200 IS exactly twice as much as $100), “Days” are similar. It’s those darn “Stars” that confound things. What exactly IS a zero-star hotel? (Yikes!) And is a 4-star hotel really exactly TWICE as ‘valuable’ as a 2-star hotel? There’s your million-dollar retirement idea: develop & market a truly proportional hotel scoring system.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. In addition, it’s hard to compare a condo with a house. And the house has a pool, but the condo has an ocean view. Still, my wife and I agreed on the ‘stars’ for each place. You know it when you see it, I guess.


  2. Crazy policy. Well on the bright side you didn’t catch COVID and you found a great place! We are driving home today from our Florida Keys stay. ☹️ It was wonderful as always. I was amazed at the difference from just under two years ago, when we were last there (in the middle of the original COVID breakout). Now, everything is open again, very few masks, and businesses are booming. It was great to see. I’m a real estate guy, so I’m always looking for opportunities, but man have prices skyrocketed! A small 2br/2ba waterfront property (just 21 months ago) that we looked at for $650k is now reselling for $1.15M. My real estate spidey senses remind me it’s just another cycle (and not to kick myself!) But I can assure you the next down cycle, we will be ready!

    Enjoy the sunshine! I’ll be thinking about you when we start seeing snow this evening as we approach home!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I visited an exchange student’s house in Saltillo Mexico during winter break in 1980. His parents had just completed building what was the nicest house I had ever been in up that point in my life. I remember the cost was around 750 thousand MX pesos, which equaled about $75,000 USD. During the summer of 1990, I was offshore fishing with friends in Baja MX. The night before we got on the boat to leave, I changed $50 USD for MX pesos and got slightly over 50,000 pesos. I remember thinking to myself, if I could figure out how to cart pesos back in time to 1980, for the cost of two night’s dinner and drinks I could have bought the nicest house I had ever stayed in up to that time.

        I haven’t quite figured out how to transport currency back in time and retain an exclusive franchise on this opportunity yet. So I guess we need to settle for investments that make sense getting in and go up in value faster than inflation.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we are in the I will trade you my Million dollar dog for two of your half Million dollar cats phase for real estate and stock markets.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Chief, You are doing some interesting field research in FL and I am seeing some interesting numbers for vacation rental income potential. Here is some follow up research for the metrics we are gathering.

    I have a co-worker who decided to spend 8 weeks in Sarasota instead of Chicago this winter. We need a metric for cost per 10 degrees warmer.

    Seriously, that was just a little warm up humor for the other posters. She has a vacation house in Wisconsin with her primary in home in Chicago. She is looking to trade her house in Chicago for one in Florida. The idea is to spend Winters in Florida and Summers in Wisconsin.

    She raised the concern about leaving a Florida house vacant for one day less than six months. What does she do with the house for the the one day less than six months? I suggested renting the house out. Please, ask around and see what the summer rental potential looks like.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Summer rental potential really depends on where in FL you are talking about. Some places are more popular in the winter (Naples, Ft Myers, Sarasota) and some in the summer (panhandle & Orlando/Disney). I’m not so sure about Miami or the Keys.


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