South Florida Condo Buyer's Guide: Everything You Need to Know

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Welcome to South Florida, a tropical paradise where the sun shines brighter and life moves at a laid-back pace. Thinking of making this paradise your home? Dive into our comprehensive guide to buying a condo here, tailored to answer all your burning questions.

Navigate to the following sections to learn what you need to know when buying a condo in South Florida:

Resources for Condo Buyers

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South Florida Condos Directory:

A comprehensive list of the most sought after condos and available inventory in South Florida. 

HOA Research Tool:

From Condo Docs, by-laws, Financials to researching capital improvement plans, these government run sites will give you the public data you need. Simply search by condo building/Association Name and review documents. :

Property Tax Estimator:

Property taxes will range dependent on millage rate of where the property is located. For a more precise estimation, use these resources by inputting purchase price and location:

Mortgage Calculators:

Determine your potential monthly payments. 

Top 5 Questions About Buying a Condo in South Florida

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1. Is South Florida a good place to invest in a condo?

South Florida, with its ever-growing real estate market, robust tourism, and continuous influx of residents, remains a prime location for condo investments.

2. What are the average costs and fees associated with condo living?

Beyond the purchase price, condo owners often encounter HOA fees, maintenance fees, and possibly special assessments. HOA dues are calculated relative to the square footage of the property.

Dues generally cover water, sewer, trash and the building's exterior insurance and fees will range anywhere from $0.70 - $1 /sq ft. For luxury condos, particularly oceanfront, you can expect these to be between $1.25 - $2/ sq ft depending on services offered and amenities.

3. How does the condo approval process work?

Many condos in South Florida have an approval process. This might include background checks, interviews, and financial assessments.

Most association approval periods take between 10 - 15 business days and if association approval is required you will need to wait until receiving your certificate of approval from the board. Know the requirements upfront to streamline your buying process.

4. Are there any restrictions on renting out my condo?

Some condominium associations might have restrictions on renting, from minimum lease terms to the number of times you can rent per year. It's essential to check these details before purchasing, most condos restrict Daily rentals (Airbnb & BRVO), while other allow a minimum of 30 day rentals. 

If you are interested in learning more about the differences between these types of rentals, click here 

5. What's the difference between a condo and a co-op?

While both offer shared living experiences, in a condo, you own your specific unit, whereas in a co-op, you own shares in the entire building kind of like owning shares in a company.

While other States like New York are big on co-ops, South Florida is much more condo. Generally, co-ops are stricter with applicants and require much more details and info about their applicants. Also, it is harder to secure financing for co-ops, so property prices may be lower than condos in the area, but you will likely need to pay cash!

Top Questions to Ask About Buildings in South Florida

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When considering a purchase or investment in a building in South Florida, it's crucial to be well-informed. Here are essential questions to ask, covering everything from financial health to the all-important 40-year certification:

1. Financial Health

  • What is the current financial status of the building or association?
  • How often have maintenance fees increased in the past five years?
  • Is there a healthy reserve fund in place?

2. 40-Year Certification

  • Has the building completed its 40-year certification? If not, when is it due?
  • Were any major issues discovered during the inspection?
  • What repairs or updates were required, and have they been completed?
  • Are there any anticipated costs related to the certification that will impact residents?

3. Special Assessments 

  • Are there any proposed special assessments or discussion of possible assessments?
  • If there are assessments, are sellers able to or required to pay the balance in full when selling their unit.

4. Compliance and Inspections

  • Has the building undergone the latest safety inspections as mandated by SB 4, and can you provide the most recent inspection report?
  • If any safety issues or non-compliance areas were identified during the inspection, what remediation steps have been taken to address them, and what is the timeline for completion?

5. Management & Maintenance

  • Is the building self-managed, or is there a property management company?
  • How frequently is general maintenance and cleaning performed?
  • Are there any planned upgrades or renovations in the near future?

6. Construction & Restrictions

  • Are the windows and doors hurricane-proof or impact-resistant?
  • If I decide to re-model my condo, is there any blackout dates for construction

7. Pets & Lifestyle Restrictions

  • Is the building pet-friendly? If so, are there any size or breed restrictions?
  • Are there restrictions on smoking or other lifestyle choices within the building?

8. Parking & Transportation

  • How is the parking situation?
  • Does each unit have an assigned space, and is there guest parking available?

9. Past & Pending Litigation

  •  Are there any past or pending litigation involving the building or the association?
  •  How were past disputes or claims resolved?

10. Resale & Rental Information

  • How have property values in this building trended over the past few years?
  • What is the building's policy on owners renting out their units? Is there a minimum lease term?

By asking these questions, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of the building's status, potential future costs, and overall fit for your needs.

For more tailored advice or to schedule a condo tour in South Florida, Contact Us today by filling out the form below!

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