A client was in town looking for a short term rental near the beach, and we had pretty much looked at the Tampa / Clearwater/ St. Pete area. So with the weekend approaching it occurred to me, why don’t I go and explore some not so familiar areas? I convinced my wife to come along, and together with the client’s family we headed
off north.


I’ve always wanted to visit Amelia Island but never got around to it, so I thought this will be a good opportunity. So here I was setting out to – as the saying goes “kill two birds with one stone”, or maybe in my situation I was going after the flock. I will able to spend some time with my wife, I will see a part of Florida I’ve never been to, I will expose the clients to something different and unique, and they will certainly have life-long memories.


We stayed at the OMNI Amelia Island Plantation Resort, a four star hotel with 3 championship golf courses, 9 restaurants spas, etc. and since I made reservations the same day I was lucky to get a great deal of $126.65 + taxes per room. With the REALTOR® charm I was able to get a free upgrade to a villa and late check out… So I’m already looking like a winner.


We got there late, and after dinner and some chit chat we headed off to get some rest. The next day we explored some of what the resort had to offer and left to look at some properties and do some sightseeing in historic downtown- Fernandina.


Named after Princess Amelia, daughter of England’s King George II, and known as the “Isle of Eight Flags,” Amelia Island is the only territory in the United States to have been ruled under eight flags of sovereignty. After the Civil War, Fernandina became a bustling and thriving seaport town. It relied on the shipping industry, shrimping, and the
tourist trade.


Thousands of Northerners voyaged to Fernandina on the Mallory Steamship Line from New York. Fernandina was hailed as “The Queen of Summer Resorts” by an 1896 edition of American Resorts magazine. Golden Age prosperity prompted a building boom. This attracted visitors such as the Vanderbilts, DuPonts, and Carnegies. Fernandina was home to the First Customs House in the United States. The oldest newspaper in Florida was started in Fernandina.


During the Spanish-American War (the Cuban war for independence from Spain) Amelia Island played another historic role. Soldiers were again housed at Fort Clinch. Freedom fighter Jose Marti was overheard plotting strategies in the Florida House Inn (Florida’s oldest surviving hotel) in Fernandina. This helped lead to the end of the war.


Today, an original 1899 railroad depot and a 1920s-era railroad sleeper car serve as the Visitor Center on Amelia Island. The area is the home of an early plantation, an international port, a Civil War fort, a turn-of-the century playground for rich tourists, Florida’s first cross-state railroad, and world headquarters of the shrimping industry.


The Historic District of Fernandina reflects the city’s long history. Centre Street has Florida’s oldest tavern, The Palace Saloon (1878). The state museum at nearby Fort Clinch State Park adds to the history visitors can relive when visiting Fernandina and Amelia Island. (Excerpts from


I also took the opportunity to meet with other REALTORS® in the area but when I stopped in on a REALTOR® colleague in the area my work was pretty much done. She explained about the areas that were zoned short term rentals, average prices, provided some valuable local knowledge of the Island, etc. even recommended some good places to eat, etc.


We left that evening for St. Augustine – America’s oldest city and during the Holiday season, St. Augustine becomes a truly magical place with millions of tiny white lights adorning the city. Holding the distinct honor as one of the 10 Best Holiday Displays in the World by National Geographic, this years’ 24th Anniversary Nights of Lights event begins on November 19th and runs through the end of January 2017. (


The many small shops in historic downtown made the wives happy and after looking at the lights, etc. we headed back to the hotel. We stayed at the World Golf Village Renaissance St. Augustine Resort, again a last minute check in and got a great deal. As an added bonus the hotel was kind enough to provide us with an early wakeup call … there was a small fire at the hotel and we all got evacuated at 6:00am.           


We couldn’t leave America’s oldest city without visiting some of the historic buildings and late that evening after our whirlwind tour we headed back to Kissimmee… tired but it was an experience that will not be forgotten.


This may sound a bit lavish but in reality it’s time and money well spent. I was able to build rapport and connect at a personal level, the wives hit it off so you know that’s always good, and I’ve etched into my clients’ memories an experience that they will talk about to their friends and families and who knows to how many other people. Maybe they will become a walking-talking billboard for me abroad…. Ask your CPA or Tax Advisor how to use your business expenses to your best advantage when traveling and entertaining clients.


Remember, like you I am a REALTOR® licensed in the state of Florida, so why not expose our clients to other areas and use those comparisons to justify why Central Florida is a great place to invest. If they like what they see in other areas and decide to buy there instead then that’s great. They may encourage their friends and family members to invest there also and that will open up a new aspect for growing your business.

Written by Imran Mohamed

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