Florida Condominiums Top Tips to Make an Intelligent Investment

Florida Condominiums and Buying Right

Florida Condominiums

Key West Style Florida Condominiums


Experiencing a steep growth curve prior to the economic downturn, the Florida real estate market is a vibrating hub of abundant unsold and new condominium units. This is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for second-home buyers as well as investors interested to grab a piece of the endlessly desirable Florida condominium realty pie. With a large number of these condominiums being located near lush golf courses, sunny beaches, and providing world-class amenities, buyers have been flocking to this part of the world. Recently prices of Florida Condominiums have been back on the rise.  Don’t be in such a rush though you forget to do your due diligence.  Purchasing a condominium under Florida laws and regulation is an entirely different ball game compared to what you have experienced so far!


Condominium and Units

Starting with the definition of condominium for first time condominium buyers in Florida.  What exactly does the term ‘condominium’ stand for? Though most owners refer to their individual apartments as ‘condominium’, in reality, condominium denotes the entire property consisting of all the apartments, parking areas, grounds, and generally, the recreational facilities incorporated there. Each apartment is known as a ‘unit’. Other than the unit, the rest of the property is referred as ‘common elements’. The buyer has the exclusive ownership of the unit and the ownership of the common elements is shared with other unit owners. The Florida Condominiums Act highlights that all the owners have an undivided ownership of the common elements.

Condominium Documents and Its Importance

This ‘unit’ arrangement could lead to absolute chaos unless there are strict management and guidelines in place. Due to this close proximity with your neighbors and the potential chances of miscommunication regarding the common elements, there are condominium documents highlighting restrictions and rules that cover different concern areas including maintaining, repairing, and insuring the common elements. These documents briefly incorporate the following:

  1. Declaration of Condominium – The key document of your ownership of Florida condominiums. Describing the common elements and the units, this document defines the precise rights of the unit owner, authorizes formation of association, and controls the operation and uses of all common elements.
  2. Articles on Incorporation of the Association – Filed with Florida Department of State, this document authorizes the creation of the condominium association.
  3. Bylaws of the Association – The bylaws are the guidelines for the association’s operation.
  4. Operating Budget – It describes the association’s common expenses. The cost is split among unit owners in proportion to their ownership interest in all the common elements and changes year to year.  We always recommend you request a current budget from the HOA directly when purchasing.
  5. Rules and Regulations – Consisting of restrictions concerning the use of the common elements, these rules are ratified by the Board of Directors.

Investment and Purchase of a Condominium Unit

Though the purchase of Florida condominiums involves many considerations like a  single family homes, different factors are involved because of unique legal structure of condominium real estate. Under the Florida Condominiums Act, the two categories of the condominium purchase process are purchasing directly from the developer or from any prior unit owner. Under the Act, these two procedures are differently treated and there are different legalities involved. If you are eager to accept the Florida condominium life and planning to invest in a unit, prior research of these criteria is important.  Once you purchase its too late to do your due diligence.


Investing in Condos in Florida

Florida Condo InvestingOne of the things that we often here are people interested in investing in condos in Florida.  This can be appealing as there continues to be increased demand for vacation homes and primary residences in the sunbelt and the price of condos can be more affordable in Florida than purchasing a single family home.  There are a number of things to consider and think about before you dive into investing in condos in Florida.

Condos are often more affordable and create a nice entry point to start with real estate investing in Florida.  The benefits of having a condominium and condominium bylaws and rules and regulations can also be a nuisance.  While you may not live in Florida but you want to invest in condos here, it can be helpful to have a management company coupled with a condo association who handles the common areas and the maintenance and upkeep of the common areas.  The problem with this is that you are also bound by the rules in the declaration of condominium or the bylaws of the condominium.  You need to make sure that the unit you are purchasing is even allowed to be rented.  Can it be rented more than once a year?  Can you rent immediately after purchasing the property.

Many Condominium Associations have restrictions on investing in condos in Florida.  They don’t necessarily want investors in their condo association and they may not allow you to rent the property more than once a year.  This can be a problem if your tenant moves out after 4 months because they have to relocate or have a death in the family.  You may be stuck without any rent and having to cover the costs for the rest of the year awaiting your ability to rent it again.

Condos also often have neighbors upstairs or downstairs or next to your unit.  Your tenants are your responsibility and if they are bothering others around them with noise or smells or pets or any nuisance, it becomes your problem.  The association can enforce rules of condominium to fine your or force you to remove your tenant from the property.  This can result in vacancy and headache.  Often times the HOA rules are not kind and give the authority to the Condominium Association to send notice without warning demanding your tenants or their pet be removed from the property immediately.

Now these rules or condo bylaws can be convenient sometimes when you are living in the property and the person next to you is a nuisance but from an investor standpoint can be nothing but a headache.  While you may like that you don’t have to worry about security or storm preparation or pool care, the trade off of the Condo Rules and Regulations and the board enforcing them may not be worth it.  Investing in Condos in Florida can be lucrative and a nice option but its important to think about the possible problems and issues that can arise.

As a condo owner, you are sharing ownership and responsibility of the common areas and therefore are bound by the Condo Documents and the Condo Rules and Regulations of the Condo.  Make sure you always read the bylaws and documents closely if you are planning on investing in condos in Florida because the devil is in the details and once you own it, you must abide by the rules.  To search for the condominium documents you can search here.  http://www.flcondodocs.com/Search

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