Testimonials From Some of Our Buyers From UK - Midlands
Di and Mick Riddle, Coventry
We would like to thank you for your Company's involvement in our purchase and especially pass on our grateful thanks to Dave Robertson for his help and assistance in our venture. Right from our first contact with Dolby Properties we have been impressed with the professional way we have been dealt with. We did not want to be pressurised at all and Dolby did not do that. Your Company (and Dave) allowed us time to consider our options without any pressure sales..
Without Dave Robertson, we would not have known where to turn or what to do regarding a property purchase in the U.S. At all times he dealt with our questions in a patient and efficient manner, and everyone he recommended to assist us have been polite and helpful. At no time did he try to push us into buying a property, but guided and assisted us at every step. Please convey to him our sincere thanks.
Alan and Tracy Ellingham, Mansfield
The most important word to use to describe Dolby's is TRUST. Estate agents are well known throughout most countries as not being particularly trustworthy, and keen to make the sale. Indeed in Florida, it can appear more difficult to find the right agent, as estate agents are only paid if there is a sale, and paid on a commission basis. Dolby's do not push you for a sale, and will work with you to place a lower bid (if reasonable), even though that would reduce their commission. Indeed if it turns out that the sale is not right for you at this time, then Dolbys will also not push you. We touched base with several agents during our search, and know that Dolby's were ticking all the right boxes.
As well as the trust, one of the other brilliant aspects in working with Dolby's is the hard work they are willing to put in, over and above the norm. This is evident in all aspects in working with Dolby's, from the website (which contains so much useful information), from Lesley Dolby herself in setting very high standards and to the agents in the team. We had the pleasure of working with Sam Brightman as our agent. Other companies will only take you to areas that they are familiar with (eg. some stick just to Davenport, or some stick to Kissimmee). We had a long list that involved a wide area, and even though some of the properties were outside of the normal areas, Sam was more than happy to take us where we wanted. Additionally, where we wanted to have a second visit, going over old ground, she was able to juggle her diary to help us out.
Sam provided some brilliant first-hand practical advice, and provided lots of useful tips about the next stages of the process as well, renting the property out. Sam provided excellent balance in our visits as well, not only able to share the positives but able to outline the negatives as well. If a property wasn't up to scratch she would help us. The issue of trust cannot be underestimated when working with agents. We had a very wide ranging budget and ended up buying at the lower end. Sam gave us no pressure whatsoever in going to the higher budget, and this proves beyond doubt that Sam (and Dolby's) have the buyer's interest at heart, and NOT thinking about their commission which is a %age based on sale. When it came to the sale itself, Dolby's continued with their hard work and helped us every step of the way, helping us with issues well outside their scope. Indeed Dolby's provided some fantastic information after the sale, with a list of recommended websites, and contractors to use (eg. photographers), all of whom have also come up trumps as well !! We are so glad we found Dolby's, as it really is a daunting process trying to buy a property being thousands of miles away. Dolby's recognise the fear that clients have and work tirelessly to overcome the fears.
Nigel & Sharron Binns, Staffordshire
Dolby Properties was highly recommended to us - and we see why! From the outset Lesley and Steve provided (and continue to provide) first class help and guidance, along with plenty of much-needed humour. They made the American house-buying procedure straightforward, and held our hands through the inevitable hiccups that occur along the way when buying any property – especially one overseas. Many thanks to you both. If you’re looking to find a professional, caring, knowledgeable and honest realtor, you will not do better than Dolby Properties, Inc.
Adrian & Deborah Sharpe, Hinstock, Shropshire
Lesley, thank you for your mail. We have just stayed in our new property and are very pleased with our purchase. Dominique has been fabulous throughout the process. We did speak with another company prior to meeting with Dominique and felt pressured into buying a back to back new build property. The other company never asked us what exactly we wanted, just our budget. We did not speak with them again. Dominique's first question was to ask what we were looking for. We gave our criteria and every property we viewed matched this. We ended up buying the first house we were shown. The process to close ran really smoothly and Dominique was always there to answer any questions that we had.
The Kings, Leicester
Sam, Thanks very much for all of your help, and of course for the help of all the team at Dolby's. I realise that with how the market has been of late, finding good properties at a sensible price cannot be an easy task. I think a mark of how important you have been in this process, is the fact that the property I have eventually purchased never actually got to appear on the mls listings. Your contacts obviously came up trumps in finding this before it had actually hit the market. Even then the buying process can prove to be a little fraught. I have to say the offer by Steve to hire a plane to survey the area, is not one I would expect from the vast majority of companies, and indicates the personal involvement of everyone at Dolby's. This effort, I am sure made the actual process as easy as these things can be.
You have obviously put in a huge effort in finding me the right place, and the amount of photographs you have taken and sent over to me, must in itself turned you into a world class photographer! To have actually got through the process of finding, offering, and buying without actually being in Orlando as easily as I have, is a testament to your effort, skills, and knowledge. Rest assured when/if I am looking to make another purchase, you will be hearing from me. I will obviously have no hesitation giving your name to any friends that are looking to make a similar purchase. Once again, thanks for all of your help, and I will keep you in touch with how things are going.
David & Kathryn Thomas, Leicestershire
We would just like to thank Dolby Properties, in particular Sam Brightman, for all your help in our purchase of our Florida Property. When we arrived in Florida in March, a golf course property was high on our wish-list, despite being told by other realtors that resale golf properties were "hard to come by" and "a rarity". Naturally, we were fully prepared to compromise, but in the event, it was not necessary and we are now thwe proud owners of a beautiful pool home on Southern Dunes Golf Course.
We would like to offer our especial thanks to Sam who drove us to property after property, kept us supplied with lively entertainment and chocolate biscuits, and went that extra mile in giving up her Saturday evening to take us to view a house that was so new on the market, it had not even been listed on the MLS. Without her energy and "first off the mark" professional attitude, we would not have our Southern Dunes property that has the WOW factor spelled out in capital letters. We would definitely recommend Dolby Properties to anyone thinking of purchasing a property in Florida. Once again, thank you all very much.
Linda and Elroy, Wolverhampton
Both my husband & I thank you for your support during the buying process of our villa. Special thanks to Sam Brightman our contact with your company, who we know took on a lot of the stress (without telling us - but we realised her difficult times by reading between the lines by talking to other people we needed to be in touch with). If we know of other people wanting to follow our lead of buying property in the US we wouldn't hesitate to point them in your direction especially if Sam Brightman is to be involved. Once again many thanks........
Helen Tidcombe, Lincolnshire
I would like you to know that we owe a great deal to Paul in the way that he looked after my son, Matthew and I when we visited in August to look at houses. Even though Hurricane Charlie had arrived he kept in touch with me at the hotel, turned up when he said and was a pleasure to work with. On our return to the UK he has kept in touch constantly and given me valuable information right up to closing and beyond. I feel that today it is VERY hard to get good customer service but Paul certainly did that in a very professional and pleasant manner and it has been a pleasure to work with him. I have told him that I would have no hesitation in recommending him and Dolby Properties to anyone looking to buy in Florida! Thank you again.
Fran and Tracy Guerra, Astley, Leicestershire
Sam, it is hard to believe that we first met you at the animal kingdom 18 months ago. What luck? Thanks to that chance meeting and a second chat a year later we are now the proud owners of a property in Kissimmee. You have made the process simple and stress free for us. Your regular, lengthy and patient explanations have made everything so easy. Thank you so much for putting us in touch with all of the professionals we have needed to talk to so that the sale could complete. To us it feels that you really went the extra mile to make sure we were looked after. We will be visiting the house in August and would be honoured if you would let us take you and the family out for a meal. With heartfelt thanks.
Andy Bestwick, Hinckley, Leicestershire
Dear Michelle, I would just like to say thank you for all your personal help during the purchase of my house in Florida. Your attention to detail and prompt response to any query was very much appreciated. I'm sure you had lots of clients at the same time as me, but you made me feel as if I was the only one. I also welcomed the opinions and guidance you gave during the selection process and viewings and with your help, I now have a lovely home in Florida.
Clive, Laraine, and Katie Nunn, Chesterfield, Derbyshire
My family and I have been fortunate to have enjoyed holidays in Florida's warm climate year round sunshine, friendly locals, and facilities for every generation, and " that Mouse on your doorstep" providing a magnet for Britons seeking the ultimate holiday, for my family staying in a villa was the icing on the cake it gave us the freedom to do exactly what we wanted and every time we came home to the UK we would dream of owning a property ourselves but that only happened to other people doesn't it........then........
"Congratulations to you all on being the owners of a villa in Florida", this one sentence was the communication from Sam Brightman of Dolby Properties one of their realtors and was the culmination of a quest and dream that began in 2004 doing exactly what you are doing now gathering information, reading testimonials, and like yourselves probably unsure, where to start, who to contact, if you have been on the internet there are so many investment property and business brokers out there. So with so many companies to pick from why did we opt for Dolby properties, well their site was extremely informative, it doesn't pull punches, it doesn't offer free flights or gimmicks on how to get rich quick its extremely professional analysis gives a step by step overview to purchasing a property and then the process of how to be successful in short term rental, in addition Dolby were the only company that put photos of their team on the web which we felt was a personal touch, to actually see who you are dealing with may not be everyone's view but to us it was important.
The quest began then to purchase a dream property in Oct 2004 with a very tentative e-mail to Lesley Dolby basically enquiring that we were considering purchasing a property in or around the Disney catchment short term rental area but would the fact we couldn't get back over to the US until Oct 2005 make a difference, the next day came a reply that one of their realtors Sam Brightman was assigned to us and would make contact, which Sam did, immediately. The correspondence between Sam and my family were informal but special as she was trying to narrow down what type of property we were looking for and the important location "wow" factor we felt we were getting to know Sam and building a bond, any property purchase is important, on cost alone you have to have absolute trust due to the geographic distance in that you can't just pop into town to make an appointment, the rules and regulations and legality around buying a property in the US are different, bank accounts, mortgages, taxes, management companies etc, are all considerations, there is absolutely no doubt in our mind its not insurmountable to go it alone, but why would you when you have contact with the professionals.
Do you still want to go through with a purchase, well Sam very kindly continued to send over properties for sale, via e-mail even though we had stated we couldn't get over for approx a year again the process of looking what was on offer , and the location gave us a mental picture of what we were looking for, any questions of which there were many were always answered immediately the time difference taken into account. At no time did we deviate from dealing with Dolby we had complete faith in their integrity and were given an opportunity to meet the team when the "Place in the Sun" exhibition took place in April 2005 in London's Docklands anyone who went to the exhibition couldn't help being bowled over by the larger companies, offering flights and accommodation to view their properties for sale. A personal view of course but we avoided the something for nothing companies and maintained our relationship with Dolby.
I'm not going to comment on the purchasing process as this has been covered by other testimonials on the Dolby web site, I would however like to make comments on individuals within their organisation and their professional contacts. The Dolby Admin office Kathy , Amy, thank you so much for your professionalism, answering the many questions sometimes we forget in the euphoria of a property purchase the hard work behind the scenes that is often unseen.
To Sam Brightman, This lady began our quest and ended it, to be the other people who own a villa, we have a very special place for Sam, please read the other testimonials, she has a gift, and understanding of your requirements and willingness through Bl----hard work to get the dream property (Apologies to Sam) to any one reading this testimonial this lady was 9 months pregnant and still kept every appointment , every property viewing with us, continued to support us after her beautiful baby was born, and to any prospective client of Dolby the aftersales from all the team including Sam has continued ...........thank you to Dolby Properties.
John Fautley, Lincoln
Many of us dream of owning our own villa in Florida, but making it a reality is a major step and one that requires confidence, money and plenty of help, advice and expertise along the way. Once you have taken that big step and decided to purchase, the next very important stage is to find someone who can help you achieve that dream. Someone you can trust to work for you and your interests only'.not those of the seller. Someone to help you every step of the way. Dolby Properties is that someone. I first stumbled across Dolby Properties in the overseas property magazine 'Place in the Sun ' Everything America'. I researched them along with a number of other companies. What first impressed me about Dolby was their very informative website. It made a point about the fact that they worked solely for the buyer and helped you every step of the way and beyond. I read every single page of the website, trying to digest all the information. One very important page for me was the testimonial page, containing many recommendations from people who had actually purchased homes through Dolby. All of them said how helpful, friendly and professional the team was.
I planned a visit the 'Place in the Sun Live' exhibition at London's ExCel Arena, at which, Dolby Properties had a trade stand. Now, you won't find a big flash audio-visual stand over-run with young go-getting sales executives eager to bag their commission and trying to book you on the first available inspection trip to Florida. The Dolby stand was an understated affair and manned by the actual people you deal with during the whole buying process. I met Paul Irwin on the stand and had a chat with him, briefly discussing my requirements and what the next steps would be if I progressed with them. I also visited a number of the other stands, but meeting Paul only reinforced my initial thoughts that they were the best choice for me. I liked the laid back, no pressure approach. A few days later, I received an email from Paul which was nothing more than a thank you for visiting them at their stand and gently reminding me that he was available to answer any questions I had. Of course, after visiting the exhibition, it raised many questions, all of which Paul answered by return email within hours of my clicking the send button. I wanted a property purely for investment, one that was close to Disney and that would hopefully pay for itself. Paul was able to help me define what I actually needed to achieve that goal and not stretch myself too far. He sent me details of a range of properties currently available from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Dolby is not in alliance with any property developer and can sell any property that is on the market''..brand new or resale.
After a few more emails back and forth and narrowing down the type of property I wanted, I received a list of 53 properties that were available. After choosing around 12 of these, it gave Paul a better idea of the type of property I actually preferred. I decided to arrange an inspection trip to Orlando and by using the recommendations made by Dolby, I was able to secure a cheap flight and, should I actually purchase a property with them, secure a refund of my hotel accommodation at the Howard Johnson Plaza Resort. They were very quick to iron out a problem I had with the hotel booking. Dolby arranged for a mortgage consultant to contact me to arrange pre-qualification, thus speeding up the process once in the US. I contacted the currency brokers HIFX to set up an account for the transfer of funds to my US bank account. Luckily, having worked for a while in the US, I already had a bank account and Social Security number. I had enough funds in the bank to cover the inspection trip, including around $5700 required for initial fees and a deposit.
About a week before my trip, Paul sent me a MLS selection of 20 or so properties. I selected six or seven of these for him to arrange inspections. Now, the problem with this property market is that it is so fast moving. Properties are being bought and sold at such a pace that they are not on the market for long. Of the properties I selected, I think only two of those were still available on my visit. However, Paul knew exactly what I wanted and was able to arrange a shortlist of 13 properties to visit, including many new to the market. He picked me up at my hotel the morning after my arrival, a Sunday no less, and we spent the day visiting each and every one. Paul described the location of each property and it's potential. He didn't push me from room to room, whisking me through as quickly as possible. I simply wandered around at my own leisure, asking questions when I wanted to. That evening, I poured over the details of each property and stared at the small 2' screen of my digital camera, containing over 100 photos taken throughout the day. I whittled it down to 5 properties that I liked and we re-visited them the next day. This re-confirmed my initial instincts and I chose the property that was top of my list. Paul wasted no time in contacting the seller's agent to confirm that the property was still available and to put in an offer. The early afternoon was spent at the financial consultants who I had been in contact with prior to my visit. The paperwork was completed based on the offer being accepted, and indeed a phone call during the meeting confirmed that in principle, the seller would be happy to accept. Just like Paul, Alfonso'.the financial consultant, made the process very easy and answered any questions I had.
The following day, I was able to relax and spend the day in Daytona Beach. Then it was back to the property for the Home Inspection. This was a thorough two hour inspection intended to highlight any faults, problems and recommendations to ensure that I was aware of anything requiring repair prior to the sale. By now, the contracts had been drawn up, signed and the deposit paid. No backing out now. The remaining task for me was to meet with Property Management Companies who would be suitable for the type of property I was buying and the type of management I wanted. Again, Dolby was able to supply me with a list to choose from. Just to re-iterate, you are not pushed towards choosing any particular company for any of the services. They do, however, steer you towards two or three that would be suitable for YOU. There is simply not enough time to meet every management company operating in the Orlando area. I arranged to meet two companies and chose the one that I felt would be able to provide me with the services I wanted.
Back home, the work continued. There was a six week wait until final closing of the property. During this time, I started work on my advertising literature and tied down my potential income and outgoings a little more based on the new figures I had been given. A couple of weeks prior to closing, things started to hot up. Property Insurance needed to be purchased and I also opted for Home Warranty Insurance to cover repairs to the appliances etc. The closing of the property works to a tight schedule. I received the closing documents (a pack of over 120 sheets of paper, copies included) just a week before the closing date. I had to try and arrange a visit to a Notary Public, who would witness my signatures on a number of the documents, and return them within a day. Not an easy task. Please be aware that both Federal Express and UPS do not have the vast coverage of service in the U.K. that is available in the U.S. I could not get my paperwork ready in time for the one collection per day by UPS. So, the documents left my hands the following afternoon and arrived at the Title Company a day after the official closing date. Also, do not send a personal check to cover the final deposit. The closing of my property was delayed a further 4 days because of this. I had to arrange for a local branch of my American bank to provide a cashiers check to pass on to the title company as quickly as possible. Paul and Amy from the Dolby office were in constant contact with me and the title company to keep up to date with events and to try and push things along. At last, the property was mine. Dolby passed the keys and paperwork on to my property management company. Now all I have to do is get bookings.
The Dolby team are still in contact with me, making sure I am happy and willing to help in any way that they can to ensure I achieve my goals. I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending Dolby as the ideal choice for anyone wanting to invest in a property in the Orlando area.