Home » Blog » Homes For Sale in Heathrow, FL: A Guide For First-Time Buyers
Homes For Sale in Heathrow, FL: A Guide For First-Time Buyers
With Florida’s year-round sunny weather, gorgeous beaches, and zero income tax, it’s hardly surprising why so many people relocate here. In fact, the Office of Economic Demographic Research reports that the Sunshine State welcomed almost 330,000 new residents between April 2020 and April 2021 alone.
With countless neighborhoods to choose from, however, selecting a place to live in can be challenging. Luckily, Heathrow offers everything you could ever want in a community: utmost privacy, beautiful homes, excellent amenities, and breathtaking lakeside views.
Read on to know more about this in-demand community in Lake Mary — and how to purchase homes for sale in Heathrow, FL.
There are plenty of reasons why Heathrow is the best place to raise your family. Below are just a few of them:
Cost of living — Housing prices in Heathrow are considerably higher than the national average, but its living costs are still fairly affordable. Data from BestPlaces.net, for example, show that essentials like groceries, healthcare, and utilities are either below or just above the national benchmark. Considering that Heathrow is a gated country club community, you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck if you move here.
Lakeside lifestyle — Heathrow represents everything that is great about lakeside living: scenic vistas, peaceful atmosphere, proximity to nature, and endless outdoor fun. Lake Mary also has no shortage of fun water activities to enjoy, including swimming, fishing, boating, and kayaking. And the best part? All of this is right in your own backyard.
Golfer’s paradise— If your idea of a good time is tee time on the greens, Heathrow should be right up your alley. This luxurious community features two elite country clubs, along with a 36-hole championship golf course designed by Tom Fazio. The fairways are immaculately maintained and offer varying degrees of challenge, making them ideal for both neophyte and seasoned golfers. What’s more, the ranges make the most of Central Florida’s stunning locale so you can enjoy breathtaking views with every game you play.
Leisurely amenities — Aside from the golf course, residents of Heathrow also have their pick of various luxury amenities. Fitness buffs will surely appreciate the expansive athletic club, which has a newly renovated gym and Olympic-sized pools. More into tennis? The community has two hard courts and 11 clay courts that have hosted legends like Billie Jean King, Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras, and Andre Agassi. If aquatics is more your style, there’s also an impressive aquatics center complete with six-lane lap pools and diving wells.
Privacy and safety — As a gated community, Heathrow offers the utmost privacy. Only the residents and their duly authorized guests can enter the neighborhood, creating a safer environment. Because entrance is restricted, there is also far less traffic compared to other suburban areas in Florida. Vehicle speeds are far slower, too, making the streets safe and highly walkable.
Overview of Heathrow, FL real estate
Heathrow epitomizes all the perks of country club living in Florida. As you’d expect, homes for sale in Heathrow, FL come at a premium. According to data from Realtor.com, the median listing price for this neighborhood is $575,000, though there are also properties that command upwards of $1 million.
While property prices can be steep, a house here is an excellent investment. Case in point: home values in the community have risen 7.1% year over year despite the current pandemic. Hence, a house in Heathrow has excellent potential to increase its value and boost your net worth.
This upward trend is likely to continue due to Heathrow’s desirable location near Lake Mary and its proximity to Orlando, home of Walt Disney World, one of the state’s top attractions.
As far as houses are concerned, buyers have several options to choose from. Single-family homes comprise the majority of properties in the development. Spacious and well-appointed, these houses are ideal for growing families who want to put their roots down. Condos, while rare, are a more affordable entry point into this desirable community. Meanwhile, townhomes offer more space and privacy than condos while being reasonably priced.
If you’re planning on purchasing a house in Heathrow, you’d better act fast — intense demand means most homes are sold in 41 days or less.
Popular neighborhoods in Heathrow, FL
Heathrow is actually composed of 30 distinct neighborhoods, with each one catering to different lifestyles. Many of these communities are in close proximity to Lake Mary, giving residents easy access to myriad recreational activities.
Those looking for properties in this development would do well to check out these popular neighborhoods:
Heron Ridge — Heron Ridge is a master-planned community composed of 124 beautiful houses. Buyers can choose from three, four, or five-bedroom home models, each measuring anywhere from 2,100 to 3,330 square feet. Many of the properties back up to one of the three lakes in the area.
Wembley Park — Wembley Park was developed in the 1990s by Arvida Co. The community features large homes that are competitively priced, making it ideal for buyers with more modest budgets. Properties usually have three to four bedrooms, and measure between 1,900 to 3,500 square feet. Residents enjoy easy access to lakes, as well as the Heathrow Country Club.
Breckenridge Heights — Located between the northern and southern entrances, Breckenridge Heights’ central location gives you access to everything that Heathrow has to offer. Most of the 61 homes here were built in the 1990s; they have four to six bedrooms and measure between 2,800 to 4,000 square feet. The neighborhood borders several sections of the Heathrow Country Club’s fairways, making it ideal for avid golfers.
Grande Oaks at Heathrow — This townhouse community built by Kolter Homes features two and three-story properties that have up to four bedrooms. Its lakefront setting and abundant green spaces make it a delight to live in. Grande Oaks also has its own clubhouse, which boasts a fitness center and resort-style pool, among other leisure amenities.
Heathrow Woods — Luxurious living comes standard at Heathrow Woods, a gated enclave along the scenic Markham Woods Road corridor. The expansive homes here stand on equally expansive acreages, lending the community a distinctly estate-like vibe. There are about only 200 houses in this neighborhood, each one lovingly custom-built for the owners.
It’s important to note that the different neighborhoods have different developers, so each will have its own prescribed architectural style. Keep this in mind when looking at homes for sale in Heathrow, FL.
Things to see and do around Heathrow, FL
Homes for sale in Heathrow, FL are your gateway to a world of leisure and adventure. Living here means having easy access to these amazing destinations:
Walt Disney World Resort — When you live in Heathrow, you’re just a short drive away from the happiest place on earth. Indeed, Walt Disney World Resort and its family-friendly rides and attractions are 39 miles away. Seeing beloved Disney characters in real life will surely be a memorable experience for your kids.
Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens — The wonders of nature are on full display at the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, a 116-acre attraction located in Sanford. There are over 350 animals and over 10,000 flower and plant species here, ensuring that you’ll see something new each time you visit. Fun activities include giraffe feeding, rhinoceros encounters, and chats with the zookeepers.
Rock Springs Run State Reserve — Outdoorsy types will be glad to know that Heathrow is just 15 miles away from Rock Springs Run State Reserve. This unique attraction features sand pine scrub and pine flatwoods that are as interesting as they are picturesque. There is also a 17-mile trail that you can explore via trekking, biking, or horseback riding.
Lake Mary Historical Museum — Want to learn more about Lake Mary’s fascinating story? Then Lake Mary Historical Museum is the place to go. Here you can find various artifacts and photographs that trace the events and colorful characters that shaped the area. You can also go on a free self-guided walking tour of 40 historically significant locations on the museum’s premises.
A step-by-step guide to buying your first home
Now that you have a deeper appreciation of what Heathrow can offer, it’s time to delve into the process of buying a home here. Here’s everything you need to know at every step:
Know what you want — Many people take the I’ll-know-it-when-I-see-it approach when looking at homes for sale in Heathrow, FL. To make the process more efficient, however, list down exactly what you want in your dream home. By enumerating the features that matter to you the most, you can quickly pass on properties that don’t have them, drastically speeding up your home search. That said, be clear about which features are absolutely necessary and which ones you can compromise on.
Prepare your finances — To ensure a smooth and hassle-free transaction, make sure that your finances are in order. If you’re taking out a mortgage, make sure that your credit score is above 700 to get the best interest rates possible from lenders. Having the requisite 20% down payment will also boost your chances of getting your mortgage application approved. Lastly, contact a lender and get a pre-qualification letter; most sellers won’t even entertain your offer if you don’t have one.
Hire a good agent — Buyers often scoff at the commission that realtors pocket after facilitating a deal. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s a small price to pay to have an expert at your side. Your agent takes on the arduous task of shortlisting properties that fit your needs and budget. They help you craft a winning offer and negotiate a more favorable price on your behalf, too. Should you decide to buy a house, realtors will also ensure that all paperwork and payments are transmitted on time so the deal doesn’t fall through. When you realize how much hassle you can avoid by hiring a real estate agent, you’ll be glad to pay the commission.
View and select — Next is the most exciting part of the process: looking at your options! As much as possible, view properties in person as photographs often don’t tell the whole story. As your agent will likely tell you, don’t fall in love with the first home you view — go to at least three properties before making a decision. A house is a big purchase and it never hurts to compare all the options available to you.
Make an offer — Once you find “the one,” it’s time to make an offer to the seller. This is easier said than done, however, as there will likely be several prospective buyers for the same property. To make your offer stand out, put in the highest bid you can realistically make from the get-go. If you can afford to do so, you can also sweeten the deal by offering to shoulder the closing costs or waive certain buyer contingencies.
Get an inspection — An inspection is to a house what a test drive is to a car. Once a seller accepts your offer, you are given the opportunity to have the property thoroughly inspected to uncover any deal-breaking issues. When looking for an inspector, avoid choosing the cheapest professional you can find as they tend to cut corners. Instead, ask your agent or lender for a trustworthy recommendation. Lastly, be present on the day of the inspection so you can immediately ask questions about any issues you spot.
Close the deal — Finally, it’s time to finalize your purchase. This phase in the home buying process is called escrow, where both you and the seller perform your due diligence. On your part, this means having the property’s value appraised, making sure your mortgage is approved, and checking if the house has any title issues (e.g., liens). If the inspection report found problems, ask the seller to repair them during this period. You’ll also be expected to deposit good faith money to the seller, though the funds will be held by your escrow agent until the deal is closed. Once everything checks out, you get the keys to your new home!
Prepare to move in — At this point, you should have already packed up your belongings and arranged to have them delivered to your new address. Likewise, be sure to have the utilities in your current home discontinued, while getting those in your new place activated. Once you move in, have all the locks and keys replaced ASAP for added security.
What other factors should you take note of?
As you can tell by now, buying a house can be a long-winded process. If you want to avoid any snags along the way, you’ll want to take note of these other considerations:
Closing costs — During the escrow phase, expect to foot additional bills for closing costs. These include fees for things such as loan application, appraisal, property inspection, transfer taxes, real estate attorney services, title insurance, etc. If your neighborhood has a homeowners association (HOA), you may also be required to prepay association dues before moving in. All in all, closing costs are roughly equivalent to 3% to 5% of your mortgage amount, so budget accordingly.
Permits — Thinking of doing remodeling or renovations after moving in? You’ll have to secure the appropriate permits beforehand, especially if you plan to do the work yourself. Such permits ensure that any improvements done to your property comply with local ordinances and building codes. Of course, you can avoid this scenario altogether by hiring a duly licensed contractor instead.
Taxes — Most assets are charged a tax, including the home you just bought. For starters, you’ll pay a one-time documentary stamp tax, which is set at $0.35 for every $100 of mortgage financing you borrowed. As a homeowner, you’ll likewise be expected to pay real estate taxes, which vary depending on the value of your home and its location. In Seminole County, where Heathrow is located, the rate for 2021 is $4.87 for every $1,000 worth of assessed value. Property taxes are due on March 31st of every year, so don’t forget to mark your calendars.
Be part of Heathrow’s exclusive community
Purchasing a home near Lake Mary can be daunting. Luckily, Frank Benevento offers expert real estate services to buyers just like you.
As a specialist in Central Florida’s luxury property market, he thoroughly understands the needs of his discerning clients. His worldwide marketing allows him to attract and serve clients anywhere in the world, including those from South America, Europe, and Asia. Over the years, he has successfully closed hundreds of deals and helped countless people find the perfect luxury home in The Sunshine State.
His impeccable service has earned him numerous plaudits over the years. Coldwell Banker has named him to its International President’s Elite Circle, an honor bestowed only to the top one percent of all agents worldwide. He is also among the select group of agents honored by Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate. More recently, he was recognized as one of the top 100 agents in Florida.To know more about available listings in Heathrow, simply call Frank Benevento at 407.492.5153 or send an email to frank(at)listedluxury(dotted)com