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Should I Buy a Florida Home or Florida Condo?

Should I Buy a Florida Home or Florida Condo?

House vs. Condominium

There is something about owning a plot of land, having space to lounge about and play, and a place to grow your own garden. With a house, you can have a nice, private space, all to yourself, and you can also be close to nature. The drawbacks can be increased maintenance as well as commute times. Let’s do a toss-up of houses versus condominiums:

1) Advantages of a house
You don’t have to be right up against your neighbors. You can crank up the music, have dogs and other animals as pets, grow your own garden, have your own pool, and more, with fewer disturbances to others.
A house generally offers much more space than a condo, giving you room to grow.
A house is usually located in a much quieter location than a condo, which is a plus if you like peace and being close to nature.
No condo fees or unexpected assessments.
No need to go up a bunch of stairs or wait for an elevator.

2) Advantages of a condominium
There is basically no maintenance to do of the unit itself. Well-managed condo complexes set aside a portion of the condo fees to deal with maintenance of the building, so that there is lowered risk of a special assessment, where you would have to pay extra.
You can be located much closer to the city center and to mass transit for less than what you would spend on a house (if houses are even available close in to the core), thus drastically reducing commute times and transportation expenses.
So what if you don’t have your own pool… many larger condo projects have their own indoor pools, as well as a sauna, gym, and recreational room.
Instead of selling, you can rent the unit out and get passive income. You can do this with a house, too, but you have access to a wider pool of tenants if you are located in a decent location close to employment and higher education.
No HOAs (home-owner’s associations) telling you how often to cut your grass, what color to paint your door, or fining you for forgetting to close your garage door.

Does Condo Life Suite you?
Beside those common sensed advantages of buying a condo, along with the benefits, there can be unforeseen hassles. For example, a condo can be more than a financial commitment; it’s a social commitment as well. In this section we’ll examine these considerations to make sure that your new condo life is a great one.

Condo Costs
Costs for the condo owner usually don’t stop at the mortgage. You’ll also have to think about things like monthly owner fees, sometimes called condo association fees, and homeowner’s insurance. The association fees pay for things such as general upkeep and insurance of the condo complex. If the gate to your complex’s parking garage breaks, the fees you and your neighbors pay will go toward fixing it. These fees also pay for the condo’s insurance, which covers major situations that affect the complex as a whole. It’s important to note that these fees never go away.
Most of these expenses and fees should be broken down in your condo’s bylaws. Make sure you’re familiar with them to avoid any unforeseen holes in your monthly budget. Also, owner fees typically don’t cover things such as theft from or damage to your individual unit. To cover these, you’ll also need to get your own homeowner’s insurance policy.

The Social Setting
When you’re in buying mode, it’s common to think only in terms of dollars and cents – a condo is a huge purchase, after all. But it’s essential not to forget the social aspect of living in a condo. Different complexes work well for different kinds of people, so get to know your complex as well as your prospective neighbors to make sure that they’re a good fit for you – if you’re easing into retirement, it might not be a great idea to buy a condo next to a bunch of hard-partying college kids or vice versa.

Before you make a purchase, knock on a couple of doors and introduce yourself as a potential buyer. Make your visit count – ask your future neighbors questions about the complex that aren’t being answered by the real estate agent, or ask the same questions again to get a different perspective without the sales pitch! Not only can you learn a lot about the people you’ll possibly be living next to, but you can gain insight into how much they enjoy living in the complex.

Breaking Down the Agreement
Condominiums have bylaws that govern residents and make sure everyone is happy. These bylaws, also known as “covenants, conditions and restrictions” (CCR), are a legally binding document that you’ll have the chance to look over before you buy your condo. In the CCRs you’ll find information about fees, parking, pets and any other rules you will need to know.
According to Realtor.org, the most important parts of the CCR to pay attention to are the complex’s operating budget, subleasing and remodeling restrictions. If you don’t feel qualified to judge the CCR by yourself, it’s probably a good idea to take it to a lawyer or your real estate agent. While getting an expert opinion may cost a little more in the short run, it could save a bundle down the road.

Make Your Voice Heard
When you buy your condo, you might find that you’re not happy with certain aspects of the bylaws. If this is the case, there are ways to get things done without causing too much of a ripple. The best way to get your voice heard is to sit in on homeowners’ meetings for your complex. At these meetings, the governing body of the complex will get together to discuss issues that have come up.
At homeowners’ meetings, you’ll have the opportunity to address your concerns. Remember though, the people you’ll be talking to aren’t faceless bureaucrats – they’re your neighbors. Don’t start a war. While it’s always a good idea to make sure your needs as a resident are met, make sure that you’re not creating a situation that will make life at the condo unpleasant.

 

Does Florida have Estate Taxes?
Yes. US and Florida estate tax rules may be changing so it is important to get up to date information from your accountant or consult a tax specialist as US estate tax laws are always being debated and could be changing.
The estate tax payable is dependent on your overall gross estate proceeds and if it is over $2 million. If you are under $2 million in gross estate proceeds worldwide, then you may not have to pay estate tax.