How can I buy a condo for cheap in florida?

Mar 28th, 2013, 06:47 AM
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Mohan, no, do NOT assume there is no maintenance. There would almost have to be!

I don't think many owners resent other owners not staying there full time -- but they do often resent it if those part time resident/owners rent out or even "lend out" their unit to friends or relatives. Be sure if you are even considering that, what the rules are about guests as well as renting. Some associations actually forbid visitors to stay in the unit unless the owner is present!

A small garden is possible with some condos, but I wouldn't hold my breath as they are not common.

It is wise, if you're going to be away to have someone checking your unit every few weeks at least. AC can fail and within a month or so the mold and mildew can virtually ruin everything you have. Or a leaky toilet or washer hose can destroy a lot over a period of time.

That's a VERY low cost condo. I'm not sure what you're looking for, but I can't even visualize one that goes for that little unless it's really in a horrible location and the size of a large closet. But yes, realtors handle very cheap as well as very expensive condos.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Mar 28th, 2013, 06:48 AM
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By the way, I'm trying to picture how you can "tend" a garden if you are only there for two months a year. What happens to it the rest of the year?
NeoPatrick is online now  
Mar 28th, 2013, 07:29 AM
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What the people in nytraveler's building fail to understand is how reserves work. You collect the reserve and you spend it when needed. That doesn't then change your regular maintenance amount. You just keep collecting and set aside a new reserve for the next time the item needs replacing. It's just a means of saving in advance for a big-ticket expenditure instead of having to take out a loan to pay for it, and paying back that loan AFTER the expenditure is made.

Ex. Roof - cost $100,000. If you collect $33 a month from 25 people for 10 years, you will have enough money to replace the roof. Replace the roof and use all of the money. Keep collecting $33 a month from the same people and 10 years later, when you need to do it again, you'll have enough money again. No need to INCREASE the regular maintenance charge.
sf7307 is online now  
Mar 28th, 2013, 08:20 AM
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mohan, I am going to give my two cents on your questions:

NO! A condo will have a monthly fee, period. You may also be assessed any amount at any time; a well-run association won;t sock you with a massive assessment unless an emergency occurs. Other expenses would include utilities; some may be covered by your monthly fee. And don't forget insurance and property taxes.

Depends on the community. Some have a lot of snowbirds. You must research this, and whether the association requires you to pay an additional monthly fee for the months that you are not there.

I would want someone to check on my unit occasionally. Some large associations will do this, for a fee.

It's possible that you can find a condo with a small garden, but do consider what happens to it when you're not there.

Condo ownership is like home ownership in the sense that you are responsible for the interior of your unit, so if something breaks down you'll have to hire someone to deal with it if you can't. Larger associations with lots of retirees often have maintenance crews that will do the work for a fee.

Some of these communities are ONLY accessible by car. If your dh can't do the driving, for some reason, you will not be able to walk to the store or take a bus. Taxis can be called, but are a rarity in many communities. Some larger associations have shuttle service. Look into this! Also remember that you will have to pay insurance on the car year-round, and registration fees. (You can usually get a decreased rate for months you are not using it.)

They do.
NewbE is offline  
Mar 28th, 2013, 08:50 AM
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And of course the reserve for future expenses (see discussion above). As NeoPatrick said, most states require collection in advance to fund major projects such as roof replacement and repaving -- it's part of the regular monthly fees. (It's not like you wouldn't have similar costs if you owned a single-family home, the difference is a) the law requires the set-aside, and b) you don't get to make the decision when those repairs will be made, the board does). The more items that the association handles (ex. landscaping, taxes, utilities) the higher the fees will be. Also, if there are "amenities" such as a concierge or doorman, recreation center, pool, etc., costs will be higher than if those things are non-existent. We currently rent an apartment in a condo building, and, for example, gas and water are included in the condo fee, whereas electricity is paid separately by the homeowner.
sf7307 is online now  
Mar 28th, 2013, 08:52 AM
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NewbE's post was so good it needed to be posted twice. I'm only half kidding -- as yes, it is a very complete post!

SF, the other thing apparently not understood in that NYC building is that some people are not actually completely math challenged. Many people can do the math and figure out that if there was a higher maintenance but lower purchase prices, it could all average out. The idea that their resale prices are high BECAUSE their maintenance is low is really kind of a funny way to look at it. Are people so stupid they will say, "hey, I'm willing to pay an extra $100,000 for this unit because the monthly maintenance is currently less?" Why not have a slightly higher maintenance fee and a GOOD reserve plan and then slightly lower resale prices? I realize that concept may be too complicated for some who can't add 2 plus 2, but most savvy buyers could do the math and figure out the whole thing. And the idea that people who can't afford an unexpected $100 a month assessment for a year probably couldn't afford the building to begin with means what??? Those same people couldn't afford an extra $10 every month for 10 years instead of $100 a month for one year, with the end result being the same? Math really isn't that complex!
NeoPatrick is online now  
Mar 28th, 2013, 08:57 AM
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Ha ha, Neo! I did ask for the duplicate to be deleted--why are the longest ones always the ones that get posted twice?!

As for the parallel discussion, FWIW my association prefers to have a realistic fee rather than rely on assessments. We feel that owners can plan their personal budgets better that way, and new or prospective owners get a clearer picture of what it costs to run the place.
NewbE is offline  
Mar 28th, 2013, 09:45 AM
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NewbE, it sounds like your association has intelligent people involved -- those who can actually do math for example.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Mar 28th, 2013, 12:42 PM
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Mohan: The condo that I am in right now, and which has just sold for about $170,000 or so, carries a monthy maintenance of about $500. Taxes are about $2,000 per annum.

In this complex, all the landscaping and irrigation is included in the maintenance as long as you have selected plants from the official list. You can put anything else in that you like, but you are supposed to care for these on your own. For example, even though I am a renter, with the owner's permission, I put in a few herbs.

The maintenance of the roof and all exterior elements are also covered by the monthly HOA fee. Also included is wireless service, and premium cable tv channels such as HBO and Showtime.

Unlike some other developments, we have a full roster of classes and lectures and films that are free to members. So is all use of the gyms, with several free personal orientation classes offered by the resident trainer each year to set up a personal program. Lots of fitness classes given 6 days per week, again, free.

I am a serious swimmer and love the large pools..both indoor and outdoor.

There are also a few evening paid events in the large theatre here. I do not go to these but they do get raves reviews from the mostly (older than me) crowd here. We also have at least two free films in the theatre each week...last week the film was ARGO. There are also cinema clubs. Lots of arts and crafts apart from your materials, include sculpture and painting. And the usual bridge, canasta, and other board games. Not to mention shuffleboard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And ping pong!!! And many, many tennis courts..also free.

YOU do need to have a car to live here, and daily shopping requires more driving than I am used to, as someone living most of the year in Manhattan. There is an on-site cafe serving breakfast and lunch, and owners have to pay about $150 per year to support this venture, even if they do not use the place.

I never thought I would find myself in south Florida for the winter, but this has worked out pretty well for us and while we would probably not buy anything here, we certainly might consider returning as renters.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jun 12th, 2013, 10:39 AM
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Hello, I don't normally post in blogs, but as I sit here enjoying the view of the beautiful Atlantic ocean, from my 8th floor condo I could not resist.

I am a woman in my early 50's who grew up in Connecticut/New York. I now live in an 800 square foot, direct ocean, I mean on the sand ocean front building in Daytona Beach.

In all of the answers to your original question, it surprises me that no one has mentioned a "condotel" purchase as a viable option.

I will try to point out both the pro's and con's of such an investment.. My "condo" is located in a large, established, 4-5 star rated resort on the ocean in Daytona Beach. The positives are pretty obvious. From my condo I simply take the elevator down to the first floor where there is: An indoor restaurant/bar (4-star), a small store, a gym, a large indoor pool (beautiful), 2- indoor Jacuzzi's, a sauna, a spa, an outdoor tiki-bar, 2- outdoor pools, beautiful pool decks with new furniture, outdoor fire-pit, (which makes for lovely evenings with a glass of wine, watching the ocean waves), front desk service for my mail, a 24/7 on duty maintenance staff, a 6-story indoor parking garage... all of this an example of the amenities that come with living in a condotel.

Now for the important part. My "condo fee" is $450.00 per month. This fee includes, electric/heat (HUGE in Florida!), cable, internet, maintenance of common areas, insurance, (another HUGE item for ocean front in Florida), building painting/maintenance. Pretty much everything. I do not spend a penny more to live here. Also, I have a dog.. (2-are allowed under 30lbs. each).

We have a condo association, with a 1.5 -million dollar reserve!! This is KEY. Other posters hit the nail on the head, you absolutely must do your homework on the condo association, their docs., reserves, etc... We share the maintenance.

I bought this place as a weekend getaway, but moved in and made it my permanent residence two years ago.
I have a full kitchen with tons of cabinet/storage/closet space, a "stupid big bathroom", large bedroom, large living room. This is a true one-bedroom condominium. Also have a full balcony with sliding glass doors that look to the ocean, and a "step out balcony" in the bedroom with sliding glass doors. In fact the entire unit has floor to ceiling windows/sliders facing the ocean, and the intercostal waterway.

So a list of pro's and con's:
Pro's: Resort living, relatively low condo fee, Daytona Beach International Airport is 10- minutes away, SO much to do in Daytona Beach... the speedway is here, always something going on, bike week, car shows, air shows and on and on...
Only 1-hour to Orlando and all of the attractions, 45- minutes to beautiful St. Augustine. The condo is "turnkey" with regard to leaving it. You can literally lock the door, and leave to go back up north for months and not worry about it.

Con's: There are a lot of hotels who have jumped on the condotel bandwagon. Do your homework! I see many online that look great, but do not have a well established association or reserve. Financing is difficult on a condotel, a larger down payment is generally required, if not full cash payment. (I paid less than $100,000.00 for mine, 5-years ago). Be prepared for a "hotel" style room. I immediately replaced the carpet, furniture, drapes and painted. This was a relatively inexpensive fix, and my unit looks like a page from Pottery Barn.... you must be able to see the potential. Beware of resorts that do not allow you to live in the unit for 365 days a year. Some resorts require you to let them rent them. Mine does not, although they do offer a rental plan for when you are not here. However, most owners I know do not participate in the resorts rental program. They rent them themselves on line. You must also not mind having vacationers milling about. The hotel has it's busy times, but in the winter it is almost dead. There is something surreal about living in such a beautiful resort that is basically empty for a large chunk of the winter. It does get "chilly" in Daytona during January/February... for me anyway, lol. It's probably not as bad as I think as most "snow birds" here during those months are out on the beach laying in the sun. Guess I've been in Florida long enough to think 65 is cold.

Hope I've helped with another idea for you... Good luck in your search. One last note.. I did not use a real estate agent. Just offered the seller directly. I made my offer on a Thursday, closed on a Friday, and was in the unit by Saturday. Yes, you can close that fast here if your financing is in order.. you can hire a title company here to handle the paperwork for about $300.00....
Formerctgirl is offline  
Jun 12th, 2013, 11:24 AM
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All I can say is that condo fee in Daytona is a STEAL. Condo fees in South Florida for an OCEANFRONT location can easily run close to $2000/month depending on the building and the size of the unit.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jun 12th, 2013, 11:51 AM
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Formerctgirl, don't you have to pay real estate taxes?
NeoPatrick is online now  
Jun 13th, 2013, 04:38 AM
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I am always suspicious of real estate agents in this kind of market as I suspect they are really investors looking for the best pickings for themselves. Try looking for an agent at the council of residential specialists as they are supposed to be more ethical.
Katzgar is offline  
Jun 13th, 2013, 06:15 AM
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Re property taxes in Florida; expect to pay about 2% of the purchase price annually unless you qualify for a homestead exemption (which you very well may UNLESS you own a property elsewhere that is also exempted). There are also add-ons to the exemption depending upon the county such as disabled veteran status, level of income, etc.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jun 13th, 2013, 06:17 AM
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Another thing to consider IF you plan to finance the purchase. Lenders can get difficult depending on the percentage of condo units in a building which are used for rentals.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jun 13th, 2013, 09:14 AM
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Good morning all... another day in paradise .

@Dukey1, yes, I realize that our condo fee at $450.00 is a "steal", and we have what I call a super reserve. In fact, our building was just painted/patched, including my 2-balconies and we did not have to pay an assessment. This is the main reason I am not in South Florida. That and in addition to Daytona Beach being central to so much of what Florida has to offer, i.e. Disney World, (Epcot for me), Amway Theatre always has great shows, (Trans Siberia Orchestra at Christmas for example). I just read an article today in the NY Post ( snickering out there) about the explosion in the South Florida condo market, and how they are selling them upwards of $3,000.00 a square foot. That is crazy. Personally I don't see the draw to South Florida, unless I had unlimited funds at my disposal.

@Neopatrick, my property taxes were about $1,800 per year before I was homesteaded. Yet another great tax benefit to living in Florida. I have not yet received my new tax bill, but it should be around $600.00-$800.00. Not bad for direct ocean front. To homestead a property, you must claim it as your main residence. A person is allowed one homesteaded property. I would suggest Goggling "Homestead Laws in Florida" if you have more questions about it. I don't want to give out incorrect information. However I will say that I know a few people who live here for at least 6- months a year, and they have claimed homestead. They live somewhere else the other 6- months.
Another note on taxes. We do not have "property" tax here on things like,'s.. that alone has saved me a huge amount of money compared to Connecticut. Also there is no State Income Tax. Our food, gas, etc., is also cheaper compared to other states, especially NY or CT.

@Katzgar, if a person does their homework, uses a good title company, the real estate agent is almost a moot point. Especially with today's access to public records on line. Quick example: Anyone can look up a properties tax records on line. Let's take the building I live in. By typing in the property address it pulls up all owners of units in my building. With that information in hand, I picked out the specific unit I wanted to "go after", saw what the person had payed for it, and sent a letter with an offer to buy. The guy had been "teetering" for awhile about selling (I found out after), so my letter to him worked. BUT, I did my homework. I knew the building because I used to come here for get away weekends. During those weekends I talked to the staff, (bartenders, housekeeping, front desk, etc) and got some good information about the building. The "staff" always knows the "inside skinny".. I get that this may not be feasible for most people, especially if you live out of state, however, I believe by doing a lot of homework, and maybe coming here on vacation for a week a person can accomplish a lot. I basically named my own price. I did have a back up plan with another unit in my sights if my initial offer wasn't accepted.

@Dukey1, I did point out that financing was not "typical" on these types of units. Personally I would not discuss my intentions with a mortgage company with regard to renting it, if that was my plan. My original post was intended to answer the bloggers question about "how can I buy a condo cheap in Fl"... I assumed the person was going to use the property as a home to live in, at some point. You are correct about buying a property as a "pure investment" and financing issues though...

To all, have a great day! Time to take a stroll along the beach.

One last comment about ocean front property here... We haven't had a problem with major hurricanes/storms for years. Not sure the northern states can say the same. Since the horrible 2004 year of 4-storms, most buildings, mine included have been completely renovated to 150mph rated standards at least. When I close my sliding glass doors it is like the air is locked out of a vacuum. The glass is SO thick. (all new after 2004)
Formerctgirl is offline  
Jun 13th, 2013, 09:42 AM
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yes, as a Florida resident since 1975, I pretty well know and understand homestead exemption as well as other Florida taxes. It was just that you didn't mention real estate taxes when you said, "I do not spend a penny more to live here." That seemed to me to indicate that you somehow manage not to pay any taxes, since they were not mentioned.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Oct 16th, 2013, 09:35 AM
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@ FormerCtgirl -
Hi . I think I know the Condotel you are talking about. I will be staying there for a few days next month. I have been looking at condos in Daytona, Particularly in that area, and almost bought one in a nearby complex (regular condo) recently. I am still looking however, and when I inquired about this condotel to the agent, he said that it could not be homesteaded. so I am confused. also it looks like the maintainance is the same for the studio apartments as for the one bedrooms, which is interesting, especially since theA/C or heat is included. thanks for any additional nfo you could provide..
ZebWood312 is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2013, 03:34 PM
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Waiting to see how much we will pay on our fema insurance this year. We have never filed a claim but seems we Floridians will be paying the price.
flpab is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2013, 04:05 AM
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Actually my Fema insurance (flood) for my Naples properties hardly raised at all this year. But my homeowner's has doubled in the past two years, including some big trumped up surcharge for "age of building" anything older than about 12 years -- even with inspections proving it matches present codes.
NeoPatrick is online now  

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