If you are in the market to buy property in South Florida, you may be asking yourself if you should buy a condo. Condos are great options as they are oftentimes more affordable than single families and come with some great conveniences. However, before you decide to fully start your search, consider some of these points about condo ownership to see if it is right for you.
Homeowner limitations – A Homeowner Association (HOA) that manages a condo complex will have a set of documents that spell out the parameters of what a resident can or cannot do. Before you rescue that 80lb dog or decide to paint your front door purple, you will need to check your documents to see if your wishes are allowed.
More amenities, less maintenance – One of the best reasons to buy a condo is that you may often get more amenities like a pool or a gym access while routine maintenance like landscaping is conveniently included in your regular dues.
Budget for HOA fees – Condos may appear like a more affordable option at first when you see a listing price, however be sure to factor in the regular HOA fees. Some associations collect these monthly while others do quarterly. Whichever the case may be for the home of interest, be sure to factor in what that translates into monthly for your budget.
Number of units for sale – Consider the number of units available for sale in the complex. Are there many to choose from or do they seldom come available? A higher turnover rate could mean a higher level of dissatisfaction in the complex and could also mean more competition when the time comes when you decide to sell.
Once you have decided that condo living is for you, be sure to consider the following when you find a condo that you wish to submit an offer on.
HOA Finances and assessments – Check to see the budget of the association. Is there a healthy reserve? Do they plan on having any major assessments in the near future? Is the current owner paying any assessments now that you will need to assume?
Insurance – Find out what the master insurance covers. You may need to purchase additional insurance depending on its limitations. Does the condominium have a fire sprinkler system? If not, has the association waived the retrofitting?
HOA lawsuits – This is similar to assessments. Are there any outstanding or pending lawsuits against the association currently that you may have to pay towards? Certain lawsuits may result in difficulties in obtaining financing.
Parking – Find out if your parking space is deeded to your unit. Also see what the options are for additional spaces for you or your guests. It is common for many two bedroom condos to have only one deeded/assigned parking space.
Rentability – Many times a person’s life situation may change down the road calling for a move. Would this mean you would sell or keep the condo and rent it out? Find out the restrictions that may exist should you decide to rent the condo out. Many condos restrict leasing in the first one or two years of ownership, and also regulate how often the unit may be rented.
Pet Rules – Many condominiums have rules regulating pets. Those regulations cover the number of pets allowed, weight restrictions, breed restricions and tenant restrictions.