There are four questions that every buyer ought to consider when they plan on purchasing a Florida condo. Most buyers, however, never think to ask them. Keep in mind that purchasing a Florida condo is more complicated than buying a house. Here are the questions to consider.
Buyers tend to forget that when they buy a condo, they are also buying into a community with its own rules and regulations. It is not like owning a house. With a house, you can:
In a condo, you only own what is inside the walls.
The condominium’s exterior must abide by the rules of the community. Many condo communities have one of two things:
Looking through the condo rules and regulations is an important part of the consideration process. Especially if you normally have the freedom to do what you want.
Some condominiums are managed professionally while others are run by a homeowner’s association (HOA). You should know which is the case for the neighborhood you are considering. If it is under professional management, get their contact information and give them a call. Management companies are often an excellent source of information on anything you want to know about the neighborhood.
If the condos are not professionally managed, you should speak with the head of the homeowner’s association. They will also be well-informed on the goings-on of the complex.
A critical question to ask when buying a condo is about the rental system. This is for a couple of reasons. Many renters within the complex can have adverse effects. Condos that aren’t used as the main residence of the homeowner are more likely to default on a loan versus an owner-occupied residence. Therefore, many lenders are reluctant to loan to a condominium with a high percentage of renters.
Renters also don’t tend to have the same pride of ownership. The property, as a result, is likely to not be as well-kept compared to condos that the owners live in. There is also the possibility that the rents will not follow the rules and regulations as closely as the owner would.
The parking situation can vary widely from one complex to another. This is likely an important consideration if you are used to having guests over.
Some condo complexes will grant you one or two “deeded” parking spaces. You will be the legal owner of this space. This means you are the only person that can park in that designated spot. They are usually located right in front of or close to your unit. Other condo communities do not have deeded parking spots. Instead they go by a “first-come-first-serve” basis.
Many condo complexes also have dedicated guest parking areas. Anyone that comes to visit is directed to park in these areas. It is important to ask this question before you sign your offer to purchase contract. You shouldn’t find out the answer when the moving truck is putting your furniture inside the unit.
There are many questions to ask before buying a condo. Be sure to do your homework, so you are happy not only the day you buy but for years to come. If you are thinking of buying or selling a condo in the area, we would love to speak with you. And be sure to read Part 2 of this series next week to learn about some financial and legal questions to consider.