Where to buy a condo in Miami?

Jan 9th, 2007, 07:27 AM
  #1  
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Where to buy a condo in Miami?

Hi there - hopefully someone can help!

My plan is to purchase a condo in a happening area that I can get a good return on (as far as rent), so I can rent it out for a few years, and then possibly live in it, if I decide to move to Florida.

I hear they are developing Downtown Miami and Aventura tremendously, but always wanted to purchase in South Beach. Also, possibly thinking of Fort Lauderdale, near the beach and Las Olas.

I spoke to a realtor, and he said I will probably get more bang for my buck in South beach. What are your thoughts on these areas?
Karina123 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 07:32 AM
  #2  
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Downtown and South Beach is where I'd purchase. My sister and her husband recently left South Beach for downtown.

Condo taxes are much higher for those who don't live in Miami. Also, there are a glut of condos on the market down there right now. I would try and hold out until the market bottoms out.
 
Jan 9th, 2007, 07:41 AM
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I am from NJ - I hear Downtown is kind of "ghetto" and unsafe... I wouldn't purchase anything pre-construction, I would like an art deco unit on SoBe, or a condo conversion in Downtown.

What are your thoughts on Aventura and Ft. Laud?
Karina123 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 08:02 AM
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Aventura is very nice and a little more calm than South Beach. South Beach will be easier to rent (I think) Downtown to me is a no. I honestly think it will be a while before it gets "cleaned up" yes, they are making thousand of condos their and asking horrendous amount of money for them but for that I would wait and see. Ft. Lauderdale I am not too familiar with it (I live in Miami) Bottom line I think it depends what works better for you, as of now Ft. lauderdale is still a little more slow paced compared to South Beach but if the "happening area" is what intrest you then South Beach would be it. As the time to buy I think it's now, most everything here that is on the market is taking 3-4 months to sell and you may be able to make a better deal. Good luck
colombiana is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 08:33 AM
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Downtown is becoming an extremely desirable area to live in.

Some areas are unsafe but the majority of condo construction is going on downtown.

My sister and brother in law are DINK doctors and left South Beach for downtown because they liked more what it had to offer.
 
Jan 9th, 2007, 02:32 PM
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Keep in mind that the rent will not cover your costs . . . if you want this for the tax deduction on mortgage interest and so on, that's one thing, but between the high costs of condos, the high maintenance fees, and the high property taxes, you won't be able to charge enough in rent to cover the costs. I have a friend who is a realtor and owns several condos and she confirmed that she takes a loss each month on all of them. The astronomical cost of windstorm insurance is a driving force behind all this too. Our condo premium in 2006 was up 300% from 2005 and this year looks like another triple digit increase.

It's a good time to buy in that prices have hit their peak and have dropped a bit, but pretty much prices have nowhere to go but down, so realize it could be three or four years before prices start going back up again. Most think they will drop the next couple of year, at best plateau. You're buying at the "top" of the market . . . five years ago would have been different. If you have a long term outlook, that might be okay.

The condo glut here is so bad that many condo conversions have been cancelled. There are just too many condos in south Florida right now and more still being built.
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Jan 9th, 2007, 02:42 PM
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Karina123,
I just want to make you aware that Florida has some unusual property tax laws. If you are a Florida resident, your property gets a "homestead exemption" - an exemption of $25,000 off the assessed value. More importantly, it qualifies the property for "save our homes" which caps the amount your property's assessed value can be raised every year (around 3%). If you don't have a homestead exemption there is no cap to how much the assessed value of your property can be raised.

Pretty dry stuff, I know, but this means that if you are an out of state owner, your property taxes could be much, much higher than you might anticipate.

So when you're looking at property be sure to ask the realtor (or county property appraiser) what the taxes would be on the property you're looking at if it was non-homesteaded.

I don't want to discourage you, but I do think it's important to be informed. You can pay off a mortgage, but your taxes never stop. ;-)
321go is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 03:08 PM
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Those property tax laws are nothing to sneeze at. I live in a six unit condo complex. I've owned my unit for 11 years and have homestead exemption. My taxes are about $1200 per year. The most recently sold unit (last year) which is a smaller unit than mine, the out of state owner now pays over $9000 per year.

I'm not a Miami expert, but I'd consider the possibility that if you're thinking of short term rentals like those common on South Beach, you might get a huge price for the rentals, but you may also have to allow for it not being rented at least half of the time. I'd suspect that those new condos downtown might be very good for annual rentals -- more and more professionals working in downtown. So while you may get less rent, it may be much more steady and fewer management problems like you have being an out of state owner of a vacation type rental.

Another thing to consider is the monthly or quarterly maintenance fees. Many times a new condo will have rather low maintenance fees as the builder uses that as a good sales tool and may subsize the maintenance. But once units are sold and the owners take over the association, they often find it necessary to raise those fees dramatically. So if you're looking at a new complex and they say it's $1500 a quarter for maintenance fees, it could be $2500 or more a year from now, and you could also be faced with some major assessments.
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Jan 10th, 2007, 05:45 AM
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Let me add that my husband and I are also looking at condos in the under $200,000 range in Miami Beach. These are two bedroom two bath usually on the bay side several blocks from the beach. Older buildings in the 20+ year range and all are north of Mid Beach.

One of the huge advantages to this are the low homeowners association fees compared to South Beach and newer properties.

You'll have a very hard time finding HOA or POA dues under $400 a month on new properties or anything in South Beach. It seems for older properties around $175 is the norm. Again that is monthly not quarterly.
 
Jan 10th, 2007, 08:06 AM
  #10  
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Is the bay side area you're talking about North Bay Village? I see a lot of condos for sale, that are way cheaper than South Beach, and they say "Normandy" or "North Bay Village" in the listing...
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Jan 10th, 2007, 09:00 AM
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Yes, I've looked in North Bay Village and Normandy but when I say 'Bay front' I mean Biscayne Bay.
 
Jan 10th, 2007, 09:58 AM
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how popular are north bay village and normandy?
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Jan 12th, 2007, 01:27 PM
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I don't know about Normandy but North Bay Village is a very nice but expensive area. I also know the buildings there get slammed every time there's a storm, which we have dozens of down here lately.

Everything said above about property taxes and maintenance fees is true. The only thing I would add is that in Florida, properties are reassessed EVERY YEAR. I know some states do it once every ten years, or once every 20 years, etc., but down here, every single year they reassess every property and adjust the property taxes accordingly.
budget4me is offline  
Jan 15th, 2007, 06:23 PM
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No question about it, Miami Beach, especially South Beach.

Why? They are building condos in Miami at an alaming rate. Someone is going to loose their shirt, make sure it is not you.

Miami beach has had some building but nothing compared to Miami. The prices are much more secure, ask ANY agent. Also Miami Beach is safer and there is much less traffic. Best of all in South Beach you can go to the gym, the post office, a restaurant, the movies and the beach without ever using your car. Try doing that in Miami or 95% of America!
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