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Everything You Need To Know About Condos
Purchasing a condominium can be confusing, tricky, overwhelming and complicated. I have sold hundreds of condos and even purchased a few of my own within my 25 years of representing buyers and sellers and a condo closing is always challenging.
The number one misconception is the COA dues (condo owners association). Here in the Destin area the lowest monthly coa dues are around $430. Dues can range from $430 - over $1,000 per month in some instances. If you have never owned a condominium then you are saying "no way man". Well, here's the deal.
The cost of owning a condo is in most instances the same as owning a single family home. If I represented you in the purchase of a Destin or 30a home you would have these expenses.
Mortgage unless you paid cash
Homeowners insurance as well as hurricane/wind insurance
Flood insurance if required and most instances you will have it because Destin is surrounded by water.
Exterior maintenance such as roof and siding
So you say, OK Keith, I don't want the hassle of owning a single family home. I just want to come to the beach every few weeks and relax. Then condo living is most likely for you. Guess what? A condo owner still has all of the above expenses except these cost are paid through your monthly or quarterly dues except for the mortgage, electricity and taxes. Typically these condo items are paid by your dues:
Management. All condos have a management association.
Pretty much any expense outside the wall of your unit.
Reserves for new roof, exterior, etc...
All in all, the cost of owning a home compared to a condo comes out about the same. The big different is with a condo you lock the door and come back a year later everything is the same. Except for the dust.
There are 3 things I always ask my buyers to ask when representing a condo buyer, especially a novice condo buyer:
What can I do?
What Can I not do?
How much will it cost?
Did you know there is a 3 day right of rescission when purchasing a condo in Florida. By law the seller is required to give you a copy of the declaration of condo with any amendments, a current budget and a FAQ which outlines important facts such as the exact amount of dues, are pets allowed, is the association being sued, are there any new buyer fees, etc... Do not proceed with an offer until you have studied these documents.
My last tip of advise is financing. Condo financing in Destin can be difficult depending on the condo development. Not all condos are finance-able. Some require 30-40% down. Before you start making offers on condos you will want your lender to approve the development.
One rule of thumb. The older the condo development the higher the COA dues. Why Keith? Because the building is older and the master insurance policy is more expensive. Just like buying a older home. Insurance on an older home is more than a newer home.
Now you know.
Happy condo hunting!