Condo Specialist in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and South Florida
The Miami Condo Market is unlike any market in the nation, often one that is very difficult to navigate alone. When searching for condos in Miami and surrounding areas, you need a Realtor who knows all the details and points affiliated with a condo transaction. There are several types of condominiums to choose from: owner-occupied permanent residences, vacation rental with hotel amenities, second home during the Winter, investment condo to generate income, or a combination of owner flexibility for the elite person who travels the World.
That is why I am here to help guide you through the process, whether you are a first-time condo buyer or an experienced real estate mogul.Together, we can make the best decision for your next condo purchase.
Miami and South Florida condos vary throughout the neighborhoods with a price range for any type of Buyer. The neighborhoods closer to the Ocean are densely populated with a plethora of highrise condos stretching down the Atlantic and Biscayne Bay. If you are looking for more space and have no desire to be near the beach, then you can head west towards the Everglades. Some areas are more thriving for an urban lifestyle with restaurants, entertainment, and nightlife. Other communities are very residential and quiet with tree-lined streets, yet convenient to the hustle and bustle. Let me assist in finding which condo buildings will be the right choice for your lifestyle.
Association Budget and Reserves
Condominium Associations are considered Non-Profit Organizations with an annual budget that details proposed expenses and income. The goal is to have the income from owners' association fees minus the common property expenses to even out at zero dollars. A percentage of the association fees from each owner also go into a separate bank account for Reserves. The Reserves cover common capital expenditures for the roof, plumbing, electrical systems, exterior painting, and any other items that exceed $10,000.
The State of Florida has passed a new law containing strict regulations against new and existing condo buildings that are 3 or more stories tall. The condo safety law eliminated condo and homeowners’ associations’ ability to waive the funding of their reserves for ALL buildings, plus the law now requires "milestone inspections" once a building reaches 30 years of age and every 10 years after that. The inspections will be conducted by a Licensed Architect and/or Engineer authorized to practice in Florida for purposes of attesting to life safety and adequacy of structural components of the building. Any expense associated with having to make repairs will be passed on to the owners, likely requiring a hefty special assessment or a large loan to make the necessary improvements.
Condo Community Requirements
Searching for a condo online can be helpful, but a large amount of condos may not meet your requirements. That is why you need a knowledgeable expert who knows which communities you qualify for through a necessary process of elimination. Some associations have a minimum down payment requirement like 25% of the Sales Price, many have age requirements for people age 55+ (Housing for Older Persons Act - HOPA). Some condos may not qualify for financing due to poor reserves or pending special assessments for capital improvements. And if you have a four-legged family member, be sure to find out if the condo allows pets.
Many properties are even located within communities that require an expensive initial membership fee. Some condos are considered "Hotel-Condo" where the owner has a limited number of days to reside or use the space for personal use. Others have a minimum credit score requirement. Some associations have restrictions on renting your unit, which has its benefits because you are surrounded by owner-occupants, but it also comes with downfalls as you may never have the ability to produce rental income in the future.
Association Management and Approval
Each condo building is composed of Board Members of the Association that lead and make decisions for the Owners. The Board is responsible for hiring a management company to handle the operations of the Association by a Licensed Community Association Manager (LCAM). When purchasing a condo, you will be required to complete and pay for an application in order to become an approved owner within the Association. The LCAM will act as a neutral third party and submit applications to the Board Members for approval. The process can take up to 3-4 weeks for approval and may also include a personal interview with the Board Members.
Monthly Condo Association Fees
And finally, one item that can make or break the deal when buying a condo is the "Monthly Association Fee". The monthly fee is dependent upon several factors for the maintenance and upkeep of the property. Factors that affect the monthly amount include the size of the condo versus other condos within the building, insurance coverage requirements, amenities, common utility bills, management fees, etc. If you are financing a mortgage, the monthly association fee goes against your Debt-to-Income Ratio. Therefore, this amount can be a crucial point and a priority requirement when searching for a condo.