You’ve thought about your next place to live. You’ve decided you want a condo in Florida. Good decision. Condos come with wonderful amenities like large, resort-style swimming pools, and you never have to worry about property maintenance.
In Florida you’ll enjoy the sub-tropical weather and be able to take advantage of the friendly state tax program. Financing for condos is available and at the cheapest rates in years. Best of all, Florida, and particularly the Miami area, currently has an abundance of condo inventory. That means you’ll have a wide variety of choices and prices that have been rolled back before the boom years of 2005-2008.
Nonetheless, you shouldn’t rush into a Miami, Florida condo purchase. You want to make a good investment, one that will bring you joy and also, hopefully, appreciate in value over time. As you compare available properties, you’ll want to keep your eyes open for any potential red flags. Among the items you’ll want to research are:
- Lawsuits: Are there any existing or pending lawsuits? If so, then you’ll want to investigate the issues and see if they’re been resolved. Litigation can put a condominium development into stagnation, with services and maintenance on hold while the lawsuits play out. Plus, you don’t want to walk into a situation where you may be assuming any potential liability. It’s worth investigating.
- Insurance: The Board will carry insurance. It will cover liability and disasters. Are you completely covered and at sufficient levels of coverage?
- Tenant-to-owner ratio: The fewer tenants, the better. Owners usually take better care of their property than do tenants. And unit turnover will be less. If a condo is primarily owner-occupied, it tends to be quieter, cleaner, and with less demand on the amenities.
- Reserves: Everyone wants nice amenities in their development, but those amenities do need to be maintained, and that can add to your monthly costs. If a development has a lot of amenities, the likelihood is that the fees will be greater. A well-planned development will build into its reserves a realistic lifespan for each type of building component. If not, be prepared for increased fees or special assessments.
- Assessments: You will want to ask if there is any history off assessments and how they were handled.
- Additional owner responsibilities: Are there any areas of responsibility that you should know about – landscaping, painting, signage, etc?
- Rules: When you live in a condo, you have to abide by the rules of the Homeowner’s Association. You’ll want to check those rules, bylaws and Conditions, Covenants and Restrctions (CCR) to see if any present a problem to you. Examples might be items relating to renting out your condo, pet policies, or parking of motorcycles, company vehicles, etc.
Other than these red flag issues, you’ll of course want to visit the property and determine whether it has the features and amenities you seek. Check out the neighborhood. Do you like what you see?
Do some comparison shopping between condo developments. If you’re looking at Miami condos, you’ll be surprised at how many there are to see. Find the one that best suits your lifestyle and budget. A realtor who is familiar with local developments can provide you with invaluable guidance in finding your Miami, Florida condo home.