Buying a Condo in Florida
Buying a Florida Condo, How to Buy a Florida Condo
Condo buyers often overlook important areas of Florida condo ownership. The list below shows some of the many items that Florida condo buyers can consider before making an offer to buy a condo or before the deadline to cancel a condo contract.
Buying a condo in Florida is challenging. To learn more about how to buy a condo in Florida, read through the links below.
Also, you can read about some of the common concerns related to condo ownership. This checklist of what to ask for when considering a condo could be a good starting point.
Why did Florida condo assessments increase so much?
Find more information about what may have contributed to higher Florida condo assessments on the assessments page.
Generally, there could be several reasons why assessments go up for Florida condos. These may include:
- Rising insurance costs, particularly in the wake of natural disasters such as hurricanes.
- Changes in state or local regulations that require condo associations to increase their reserves or allocate more funds for certain expenses.
- The costs of necessary repairs or improvements to buildings or common areas such as things like roof repairs, elevator maintenance, landscaping, or unforeseen circumstances.
- Inflation or rising costs of living.
Should smaller condos pay the same assessment as larger condos? Does condo size matter?
With the recent large condo assessment increases, condo owners are trying to find creative ways to lower their share of the costs. One idea that owners of smaller condos consider is for the owners of larger condos to pay a larger portion of the assessment.
This article, Changing Allocation Of Assessments from the Shipp Law Legal Blog, Law Office Ryan S. Shipp, shows that "One area of contention that surfaces between unit owners, is how assessments are allocated between different sized units. Allocation of assessments are set forth in the declaration of condominium."
The article further references Florida Statues 718.110, stating that "Different from the traditional amendment to a condominium declaration, the only way to change how assessments are allocated is for the Association to abide by Florida Statutes 718.110."
Here is what that section showed when this blog post was written, with what appears to be the relevant portion highlighted:
(4)Unless otherwise provided in the declaration as originally recorded, no amendment may change the configuration or size of any unit in any material fashion, materially alter or modify the appurtenances to the unit, or change the proportion or percentage by which the unit owner shares the common expenses of the condominium and owns the common surplus of the condominium unless the record owner of the unit and all record owners of liens on the unit join in the execution of the amendment and unless all the record owners of all other units in the same condominium approve the amendment. The acquisition of property by the association and material alterations or substantial additions to such property or the common elements by the association in accordance with s. 718.111(7) or s. 718.113, and amendments providing for the transfer of use rights in limited common elements pursuant to s. 718.106(2)(b) shall not be deemed to constitute a material alteration or modification of the appurtenances to the units. A declaration recorded after April 1, 1992, may not require the approval of less than a majority of total voting interests of the condominium for amendments under this subsection, unless otherwise required by a governmental entity. You can find the current version of the FS 718.110 statues at leg.state.fl.us
This topic, as most condo association topics dealing with assessments, is a complex legal issue. If you have concerns about whether or how you could change how Florida condo assessments are divided amongst units, you should consult an attorney with experience in these matters.
Read more about assessments
How can Florida condominium owners respond to rising condo association fees?
Florida condo owners and prospective condo buyers can respond to rising Florida condo costs in several ways. Here are some actions that people can take:
- Personal Budgeting and Financial Planning: Evaluate your financial situation and create a budget that accommodates rising condo costs. Assess your income, expenses, and savings to ensure you can afford the associated expenses, such as mortgage payments, association fees, and maintenance costs. This may be the single biggest mistake that condo owners make. Perhaps much too often, buyers, sometimes unknowingly, overextend themselves financially because they do not understand that condo costs can rise for a variety of reasons (see the Assessments page for more info).
- Research and Educate Yourself: Stay informed about market trends, housing policies, and regulations that affect condo costs in Florida. Understand the factors influencing price increases and how they may impact your situation.
- Consider Alternative Locations: Explore condominium options in areas outside of high-demand, expensive locations. Look for emerging neighborhoods or suburbs where prices may be more affordable while still offering desirable amenities and proximity to necessary facilities.
- Explore Different Property Types: Expand your search to include other property types like townhouses or single-family homes, which may provide better value for your money compared to condos in some cases.
- Rent Instead of Buying: If purchasing a condo is financially challenging, consider renting as an alternative. Renting can provide flexibility and lower upfront costs compared to home ownership.
- Shop Around: When purchasing or renting a condo, shop around and compare prices to ensure you're getting the best value for your money.
- Community Engagement: Get involved in local government organizations that advocate for affordable housing and address rising condo costs. By joining forces with others, you can work together to raise awareness and push for policy changes that promote housing affordability.
- Seek Financial Assistance Programs: Explore available financial assistance programs, grants, or subsidies that can help offset some of the costs associated with purchasing or renting a condo. Research government programs or nonprofit organizations that provide support for affordable housing.
- Consider Co-Ownership or Co-Housing: Explore the possibility of co-ownership or co-housing arrangements where multiple individuals or families come together to jointly purchase a property. This can help reduce costs and make home ownership more affordable.
- Explore Housing Cooperatives: Investigate the option of housing cooperatives (co-ops), where residents collectively own and manage the property. Co-ops often have lower costs compared to traditional condos, making them more affordable for residents.
- Advocate for Policy Changes: Engage with local elected officials to voice your concerns about rising condo costs. Advocate for policies that promote affordable housing, increase housing supply, and protect the rights of renters and buyers.
Remember that individual responses to rising condo costs will vary based on personal circumstances, financial capabilities, and long-term goals. It's important to assess your situation and make decisions that align with your needs and resources.
Why is Florida condominium landscaping often a problem?
Landscaping is generally important at Florida condos, as it can have several benefits for both the property and its residents. Landscaping, however, can be a source of some of the most expensive and emotional problems at a condominium.
- Landscaping can often pose challenges at condominiums in Florida for several reasons which are outlined on Florida Condo Landscaping
- Landscaping can create emotional drama for Florida condo associations, as it often involves various stakeholders with differing opinions and expectations. Several factors contribute to the emotional drama associated with landscaping decisions.
- The association can establish policies for the landscaping committee.
Buying A Condo In Florida