Condo Buying Checklist For Buying a Condo in Florida

Florida Condo Checklist

Several factors and events seem to have impacted the Florida condo real estate market. These include:

  • The collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, Florida in June 2021. This tragic incident led to increased scrutiny and concern among condo residents, potential buyers, and regulators regarding the safety and maintenance of older condominium buildings throughout the state.
  • State and local government implementation of more stringent building inspection requirements for condominiums
  • State legislation requiring a Structural Integrity Reserve Study
  • The failure and withdrawal of property insurance providers in Florida

Why is it important to use a checklist when buying a condo in Florida?

  • Hurricane and Natural Disaster Preparedness: Florida is prone to hurricanes and other natural disasters. A checklist can include items related to assessing the condo's resilience to such events, such as the presence of impact-resistant windows, the building's evacuation plan, and the availability of emergency backup systems.
  • Insurance Considerations: Florida's insurance landscape, particularly for properties located in coastal areas, can be complex. A checklist can help you verify the condo's insurance coverage, understand any special assessments related to insurance, and ensure that the property is adequately protected against risks like flooding and wind damage.
  • Condo Association Rules and Regulations: Florida has a significant number of condominium developments governed by condo associations (in Florida, condos are governed by condominium associations instead of homeowners associations). A checklist can assist you in reviewing the association's rules and regulations, assessing any restrictions that may affect your lifestyle or use of the property, and understanding your rights and obligations as a condo owner.
  • Legal Compliance: Florida has specific laws and regulations governing condominiums, including the Florida Condominium Act. A checklist ensures that you verify compliance with these legal requirements, such as reviewing condominium documents, assessing the financial health of the association, and confirming that all necessary permits and inspections are up to date.
  • Environmental Concerns: Florida's unique ecosystem and geography can present environmental challenges, such as concerns related to sea-level rise, coastal erosion, and water quality. A checklist can include items related to assessing the condo's environmental resilience, such as its proximity to water bodies, flood risk zones, and environmental impact mitigation measures.
  • Investment Considerations: Florida's real estate market, particularly in popular tourist destinations and retirement communities, can be attractive for investors. A checklist can help you evaluate the condo's potential for rental income, assess market trends and property appreciation rates, and consider factors like tourism demand and seasonal fluctuations.
  • Maintenance and Upkeep: Florida's climate, characterized by high humidity and intense sunlight, can accelerate wear and tear on buildings and infrastructure. A checklist can include items related to inspecting the condo's maintenance history, assessing the condition of common areas and amenities, and identifying any immediate or future maintenance needs.

This checklist can be a starting point for what to ask a condo seller or listing real estate agent to provide when considering the purchase of a Florida condo. Buyers should review, at a minimum, the items on this checklist with their realtor, real estate attorney, and advisors before making an offer to buy. Buyers should also review any additional items not on this checklist that may apply to the specific unit considered.

Assessments for the last three years

Special assessments for the last three years

The Frequently Asked Questions and Answers (FAQ) document required by Florida Statutes 718.111(12)(d) or FS 718.504

All governing documents

Audit reports for the last three years

Annual Reports for the last three years. Buyers can search for these at, the Florida Department of State website.

Most recent condo association property insurance appraisal

CERT plans for hurricanes, fires, floods, and any other relevant threats

Most recent reserve study

Budgets for the last three years

Turnover date

Turnover - list of all open items

Condo Buying Checklist For Buying a Condo in Florida Condo buying checklist

Having a checklist for buying a condo in Florida is important as it can help you stay organized and ensure that you cover all necessary aspects of the purchasing process. Having a checklist can help you stay organized throughout the process and make informed decisions when purchasing a condo in Florida. Keep in mind that this checklist is a general guide, and you may need to customize it based on your specific preferences and circumstances.

Prospective Florida condo buyers should, if they don't understand condo association assessments, fees, or anything related, engage licensed and reputable attorneys and advisors to guide their buying decisions.