Orlando Realtors Weigh In on the City’s Best Neighborhoods

Posted on Oct 11, 2021


Orlando has everything going for it: great weather, top restaurants, world-renowned entertainment, and more. Demand for homes here has been up 13% since last year, and the market is hot.

Homebuyers - especially those who are new to the city - might be wondering which neighborhoods are worth taking a look at. We’ve talked to several Orlando Realtors who are local experts on the area's best places to live. Here’s what you need to know.

Orlando Realtors Weigh In: Coolest Neighborhoods

Young professionals and newcomers alike are flocking to Orlando’s hottest neighborhoods. Whether it’s boutique shopping or trendy restaurants you’re after, they have it all. According to our Realtors, you should take a look at:

College Park is a very popular area. Lots of older but renovated homes with well-maintained lawns. They have their own 'Main Street' with great restaurants and shopping,” explains Orlando Realtor Fredrik Eriksson. “They also have annual festivals like Jazz Fest where they close off the Main Street, and almost everyone shows up.”

“(Horizon West) Winter Garden, FL. There’s something for everyone, from small condos to multimillion-dollar homes. Lots of newer homes and new construction, great access to the highway (429, 50 & Florida Turnpike).  It has an upscale feel and is still growing with new bars, restaurants, grocery stores, etc.,” recommends Orlando Realtor Daniel Robinson.

“There is a lot of excitement surrounding the Horizon West area of Orlando.  Hamlin is growing so quickly and provides everything you need within a few miles in any direction,” notes Orlando-based listing agent Kelly Isenhour. “From locally-owned restaurants, a new Multi-Plex theater, and a Chain Grocery store to quick access to several major roads - this area has it all!” 

Lake Nona is the hottest and coolest in Central Florida. Already being the home to Lake Nona Medical City, which represents a deliberate strategy to create a centralized focus of sophisticated medical treatment, research and education in Central Florida. Lake Nona will also be the host to the first hub location for a high-speed, electric air mobility network in America and will be launched by 2025,” explains Orlando Realtor Jeffrey Colom Ortiz.

Realtors in Orlando Weigh In: Most Underappreciated Neighborhoods

Today’s up-and-coming neighborhood is tomorrow’s hottest zip code. Stretch your budget further and take part in creating a vibrant community. According to our agents, here are the areas you should be watching out for:

Deltona - It’s a little further north than most people want to be but you get more bang for your buck here. Lots of new construction as well as smaller less expensive homes,” says Eriksson.

‘I'm partial to Orange Tree in the Dr. Phillips area. The homes are older but so many of them have been updated. Orange Tree is a Golf Course Community that offers tree-lined streets and large yards with unique homes,” Isenhour recommends.

“The market here has been so crazy that even homes in bad areas are selling within days.  I don't know of an area that's technically ‘under-appreciated.’ If it's priced right, it will sell quickly,” explains Robinson. “Apopka is a city that has had a mixed reputation. So, unfortunately, even the really nice homes appraise for less. They still sell, but not for as much just because of the name Apopka.”

“I think the Belle Isle neighborhood is underappreciated. Being centrally located, you have access to all the great dining and activities near downtown while being only minutes away from the airport!” says Ortiz.

Orlando Real Estate Agents Discuss: Neighborhoods Great for First Time Homebuyers 

First-time homebuyers and growing families have unique needs, and affordability is often the number one consideration. Here’s where our agents would recommend checking out if this is your first time buying a home:

Conway - this area is close to highways, 15 minutes from downtown Orlando, and you can still find affordable homes (by comparison). There are several schools nearby as well as plenty of shopping,” explains Erikkson. 

Sandlake Pointe in Dr. Phillips is great for first-time homebuyers. The homes were built in the early to mid-90s. In most instances, they are priced lower than new construction and you get more for your money,” says Isenhour. 

Hunters Creek/South Chase is a great place for first-time home buyers. The price point is great with plenty of school options. You're also close to major highways like the 417 and Turnpike,” recommends Ortiz.

Thornton Park is great because the homes are older so more likely to be affordable. Plus lots of bars and restaurants within walking distance. It’s a great place for first-time buyers,” advises Robinson. 

Advice From Realtors in Orlando FL: What’s One Thing Home Buyers in Orlando Should Always Double Check?

Every city comes with its own set of challenges for homebuyers. Here’s what our Orlando Realtors recommend always double checking before submitting your offer:

“Homeowners insurance, specifically your hurricane deductible. It can be tricky down here in Florida and you want to double-check what they're actually covering,” says Ortiz.

HOA fees! Don't forget to verify the fees upfront and make sure there aren't any assessments. You also need to be aware of CDDs. These fees can hit hard if you aren't expecting them,” advises Isenhour.

“Make sure you have wind/hurricane insurance in addition to your regular homeowner's insurance. There are also a lot of flood zones so make sure you check with your insurance company what the difference in cost will be and that you are covered,” recommends Erikkson.

“HOA fees because they can vary from $25 - $300+ per month and check the HOA's R & R (Rules & Reg's) to make sure the home will meet your needs,” says Robinson. “Also, are there any breed restrictions or pet weight limits - 20lbs, 45lns, 60lbs? Can I put up a fence? If so, which types of fences are approved? You should also check the age and condition of both the A/C unit and the condition of the roof.”

Orlando Agents Weigh in: Tips for Homeowners Looking to Buy a Home in 2022

Not everyone is ready to buy a home this year. If you’re saving up and preparing to buy in the spring, here’s what our Realtors think you should know:

“Find an agent that specializes as a ‘Buyers Agent’ and put together a plan sooner than later. If you prepare early, you will win later. Orlando's neighborhoods can change dramatically between subdivisions, so do your research,” says Robinson.

“Come prepared with your finances lined up. Pack your patience and be ready when you find the right home,” advises Erikkson.

“My tip would be to start planning now and get familiar with the neighborhoods you are interested in. It's good to get a feel for the area so you are confident in your decision when the time comes!” notes Ortiz.

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