With its stretches of sandy beaches and year round sunny weather, Florida is home to some of the most desirable condominium communities in the world. Despite the allure of less maintenance and a more manageable mortgage payment, condo living can pose certain challenges. If you’re thinking about buying a condo in Florida, it’s important to understand the pros and cons. Here’s what you should consider.
Condominiums are something of a cross between renting and owning a home. The units are owned by individuals, but common areas, facilities and other infrastructure are maintained by a condominium association (COA). This is paid for by assessing fees, which can range from several hundred to a thousand dollars or more each year. The fees can be increased over time. It’s important to factor in these fees, in addition to mortgage costs, insurance and utilities, when figuring your housing budget.
Each condominium association has its own rules that all unit owners are bound to follow. It’s common for a COA to impose requirements concerning upkeep and appearance, regulating things like exterior painting, landscaping, and the number of vehicles in driveways. There also may be restrictions on noise, social activities and display of political signs. What’s more, the condo rules can be altered over time, and although each owner has a voice, whatever the majority decides is binding.
Even with the expense of COA fees, a condominium is often more affordable than a house, since there is no purchase of land beyond the individual unit. The cost of a mortgage is also generally less. In addition, condos are less expensive to insure against potential property damage and liability to others, since only the interior of the unit need be covered. The COA is responsible for all exterior areas.
Many condominium communities have pools, clubhouses, tennis courts, gyms and even open spaces that are paid for by COA fees. This inspires a sense of community as residents come together to share these facilities. Landscaping and other exterior maintenance may also be provided, which makes condominium living less stressful and work-intensive than home ownership.
While single family homes tend to appreciate more quickly than condos, the gap isn’t as wide as you might think. In fact, between 2010 and 2020, condo market value increased by about 42 percent. Study the housing market in the area you’ve selected to check on condo property values.
Before you purchase a unit, it is worth meeting with COA representatives to understand how the association operates and to decide whether the community’s rules are those you can live with.
The Law Office of Tania Sayegh Bartolini, P.A. helps individuals in Fort Lauderdale safeguard their rights as real estate investors and property owners. Call 954-603-1865 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.