Are you in the market to purchase a condo as an investment or first time buyer? The following concerns come up many times after the condo is purchased and it is too late to do anything about it. Don't let this happen to you by following these 5 tips:
READ THE CONDO RULES AND REGULATIONS CAREFULLY
Acquire them to review BEFORE you purchase
Look for the following items and check them off if they pertain to you:
Does the condo accept pets? If so, how many pounds do they accept and are there any dog restrictions?
Can you rent out the unit to a tenant with a pet?
Recently, I was looking for a rental in luxury buildings located in downtown Miami for a couple with a 6 pound dog. When looking through the MLS, one building in particular, some agents wrote, yes, pets were allowed and there may be restrictions (normally referring to size and breed) while others in the MLS wrote no pets except service dogs . Then a third realtor wrote something completely different and said that no pets were accepted. Yes, it could be that the owner preferred that a tenant have no pets yet which one was correct? ONE realtor got it right and sent me the rules and regulations which clearly stated "No Pets Allowed For Tenants". How odd. No other realtor for the building was aware of this important information. Now, I clearly understood why many of the units were vacant for months.
As an owner, having an unoccupied unit for months is not cost effective. Please make sure you find out if tenants can also have dogs in the unit, not just owners.
Does the building keep a security deposit on behalf of the tenant? Most landlords want first, last and one month's security. When this happens, many still request it plus the extra security deposit to the association. Many tenants balk at this and will find another property to rent. Coming up with 4 months at the start of a lease can be expensive. You can alleviate this issue by allowing the association to keep the security deposit and you, as the landlord, just taking first and last month.
Tip # 3
How long does it take for the interview to take place? Many buildings have one rule for owners and another for tenants. When you are purchasing a condo, having the application completed and accepted within two weeks is optimal. Many associations require 30 days until the tenant application is reviewed and accepted. Can you afford to have the unit vacant and then wait for up to a month until the tenant is accepted?
What fees are charged upon application? In the state of Florida, rules were passed that regulate the fees being charged for an application. The maximum allowed in Florida for an application fee is $100.00. One building in which I was representing the owner had the above stated fee in the application. I then found a couple wanting to rent the condo that had moved here from Venezuela 9 months ago, and were legally working in Florida. I was then told by the same management company, the fee for anyone in the United States residing here for less than a year was $300-$400 per person to do a background check. The same thing happened when I was looking for a condo for a couple of exchange students here from China studying at a local university. The association wanted to charge each person a $300 application fee which may be Illegal . Then they add on a lot of other charges which may not be legal either. Please consult an attorney familiar with condo law.
Do you have to be present for the interview?
Florida is an international market. People from all over the world purchase condos here and then travel back to their country. Many associations require an in person interview. Normally this is a formality once the background and screening process has been done via the association or management company. The idea for the in-person interview is to assure that all owners are aware of the the rules and regulations. Perhaps you live in another part of this country. Do you want to travel back to Florida for an interview that may last less than one hour? Is this an efficient use of your time and resources? Thankfully, many associations now offer interviews via Skype. Check to see what your building requires BEFORE you purchase the unit.
By following the above tips when searching for condos that match your criteria, you will save time and money as well as potential headaches.
Looking for a great place to buy? Feel free to check out all the properties available in South Florida here.
Any questions regarding which communities may be a best fit for your needs, feel free to e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.