Fort Lauderdale is located on Florida’s east coast on the Atlantic Ocean. Its population in the latest United States census of 2010 nears 166,000. The city boasts a Mediterranean style canal system, much like the coast of Venice, Italy.
With stunning views and attractive weather, people looking to relocate to Fort Lauderdale might consider purchasing a condominum. Future full-time or part-time residents interested in buying a condo in the Broward county city should be aware of what a condo purchase entails.
The location of your Fort Lauderdale condo will not only mean paying more to be on the beach, it will also mean more in terms of insurance coverage. South Florida is a prime target for tropical storm and hurricane activity. Damage can be severe in the case of an emergency weather event; especially for those on the bottom floor.
Location also means considering extra commuting time. Because of the city’s configuration, congestion in certain corridors can be a problem for local commuters.
Costs and Fees
Condominiums are different not only in physical structure from single family homes, they are different in ownership. The majority of condominium communities operate on under an owner’s association. The sale of the unit can mean purchase of that particular unit or a percentage of the entire property.
Most condo associations charge each unit owner an monthly “maintenance” fee. These fees are typically not included with the monthly mortgage payment. Maintenance fees are placed into a general fund and used to make repairs or improvements to shared or community property. Examples include pool and grounds maintenance.
Condos hold a “reserve” fund to cover the cost of major repairs, such as replacing a roof or repaving a parking lot. A condominium’s reserves should be enough to fund these large repairs, experts recommend. If the reserve is under-funded, each unit owner may be required to pay a “special assessment” to make necessary repairs.
Condo associations have rules in place which encompass a wide variety of situations. Some allow owners to rent their units. Others might allow renting but prohibit subletting units. Other considerations are domestic animals. This includes the number and size of dogs, cats and birds.
Community property amenities also have rules. Clubhouses, tennis courts or pools could restrict non-owners from using the facilities. While these rules are usually general, some associations are specific. Examples include fitness center protocol and etiquette. Bylaws might also include things like painting doors, hanging a flag or parking assignments.
Condominium owners may be involved in legal proceedings against the association. Search public records in local circuit civil courts. Lawsuits between owners and the association might alert you to trouble in paradise.
Additionally, speak to current residents. Ask about the association, the reserves, the maintenance fees and rules.
In short, do your homework and be prepared. Look through several condo listings, weighing the purchase price with the monthly maintenance fees. Keep in mind, those fees can go up in the future, increasing your monthly outlays.