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The condos were furnished but empty...
Old 04-22-2017, 05:27 PM   #1
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The condos were furnished but empty...

Spring is the best time to sell your home. The lush green lawns, the flowers and the joy of the warm comfortable days.

The complex is large and the mature landscape is extremely well maintained. The cars speak to who lives here -Jaguars and Mercedes coupes, the realtor, a nice gent, drove a newer Mercedes. There is a sense here of 'old money' but not the opposite of Nouveau riche this is old people's money. There were few people about other then the landscapers but, it was drizzling all day.

The homes are varied but our needs are simple 3 bedrooms (bigger then shoeboxes please), 1st floor master and two bathrooms. We found a model with all the requirements. The small garages disappoint - did cars suddenly get bigger?

The condos we saw were furnished but empty. Their owners had gone but left behind their furniture. I found that odd but after a while it became clear ... they simply no longer required accommodations. Here we were in the hotel California - "you can check in but never check out".

In the end we visited the $11,000 initiation fee golf clubhouse. It was nice but neither she nor I golf. There's a pool, tennis courts and lots of clubs. I just don't know - we are simple people and this didn't seem all that simple. Still it is a beautiful place...
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Old 04-22-2017, 09:04 PM   #2
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The condos we saw were furnished but empty. Their owners had gone but left behind their furniture. I found that odd but after a while it became clear ... they simply no longer required accommodations. Here we were in the hotel California - "you can check in but never check out".

In the end we visited the $11,000 initiation fee golf clubhouse. It was nice but neither she nor I golf. There's a pool, tennis courts and lots of clubs. I just don't know - we are simple people and this didn't seem all that simple. Still it is a beautiful place...
Here in SW FL many condos are sold "turnkey" with furnishings, accessories, and everything included (sometimes even down to knives and spoons). Many owners move to new places and simply love to buy and decorate their new places with different themes/colors, and are sometimes upsizing or downsizing, so they prefer to choose new items for their new abode, sometimes hiring designers/decorators to assist. Thus they prefer to sell their old places turnkey. I know several couples who move every few years in this manner.

Other "turnkey'' units may have been used as fully furnished and outfitted seasonal rentals and the owners have decided to get out of that rental business, so they sell the units "turnkey'. This is what my cousin and her husband did. They bought a 2-bedroom condo turnkey, rented it out for a few seasons and sold it turnkey.

It's often easier to sell in a snowbird market when everything is tastefully decorated and already 'in place'...just bring your toothbrush as the realtors like to say.

I've noticed that often units that have been vacated by someone who has moved on to assisted living often have their furnishings discarded or donated, as the decor may be so outdated that it hampers a sale.

As for selling a unit in a golf course community, that is hard to do. (I read a statistic recently that said only 17% of Americans over 50 golf.) Those units here typically languish on the market. When they do sell, they go for much less than a comparable non-golf course community, as educated buyers know they are buying into an expensive proposition -- the monthly contractual commitment for club and golf course fees can be prohibitive.... and, if they look ahead, resale can take
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forever. I know a couple that is paying $14,000/yr while their large old golf course home sits vacant, as they moved into a [new contruction] condo (with no golf course or tennis courts) less than a mile away. They no longer golf. They often go back to the old place to have breakfast, lunch or dinner at the clubhouse simply to get some value out of their "social club" obligation. After moving out over a year ago, I'm sure they'd love to be rid of their old home and it's costly fees altogether.

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Old 04-22-2017, 10:05 PM   #3
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I always wondered about all those golf course housing developments.
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Old 04-23-2017, 12:38 AM   #4
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+1 as to high monthly fees at many golf course membership condos. Entry fees are high enough already, but many HOA's keep raising the monthly fees after you move in.

1. Talk to the HOA treasurer and look at the annual financial report. Some HOA's are behind in reasonably funding major expenses: roof replacement, as an example.
2. Be sure to look at the size of the driveway and the availability of near by guest parking spots. If your driveway is only large enough for one car, where will your friends park when they visit? A block away? Also, if all driveways are short, full time residents with two cars will hog many of the guest spots. This is often overlooked in the passion of the moment when shopping for a condo.

Happy hunting!
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Old 04-23-2017, 07:53 AM   #5
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Here in SW FL many condos are sold "turnkey" with furnishings, accessories, and everything included (sometimes even down to knives and spoons). Many owners move to new places and simply love to buy and decorate their new places with different themes/colors, and are sometimes upsizing or downsizing, so they prefer to choose new items for their new abode, sometimes hiring designers/decorators to assist.
It's very common to sell vacation homes turnkey. We were the first overnight visitors to a vacation home my wife's boss bought, and the kitchen table was left set by the sellers.
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Old 04-23-2017, 08:47 AM   #6
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Funny, I can remember when "golf course community" was seen as a desirable thing, at least in South Florida, where as a teen I lived with my parents. Particularly desirable was having a house on the golf course, since it meant nobody would build anything in back of your house. Such homes carried premium prices, which is why my parents didn't live in one, although they might have liked to.
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Old 04-23-2017, 09:24 AM   #7
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Where we live two private golf courses have been sold in the last few years. Residential homes grew up around them over time, some of which backed on to the golf course.

So, golf courses sold, properties are being developed for residential-single family and multi family. Those with homes either backing on to the course or in the immediate area to a haircut on the RE value. Lots of other issues including density,traffic patterns, etc.
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Old 04-23-2017, 10:36 AM   #8
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Around here (SW FL), I've noticed in the past few years many of the new huge housing developments seem to be being built and marketed as "XYZ Reserve" or "ABC Preserve". The sales literature often shows future residents paddling kayaks on the inland "fake lakes" and wandering on the walking paths which wind around the large property, lakes and areas left to look like wilderness. Typically, there's a club house with exercise equipment built adjacent to the outdoor pool and hot tub, with lots of real estate dedicated to a large pool deck (for community parties/gatherings). As the water table here is so high, you can create a lake most anywhere, and the developers, if they are working with a large parcel, now create these winding lake complexes and homes/condos are built alongside these lakes. Units with water views command higher prices. A lot of effort is often expended in putting in all sorts of landscaping, which can give a lot of screening/ privacy as well as visual interest. The previous desire to be on a golf course to simply add a buffer around one's property is less of a need if one can find developments with built-in buffers of water or landscaping.

In the US , the number of people who belong to country clubs has declined significantly -- some of this is due to the fact that fewer corporations pay for the memberships, also fewer people are golfing, and due to technology, we now have more means of entertaining ourselves and 'connecting' with others through social media. Additionally, a game of golf takes a huge amount of time, and many boomers simply don't feel that they have that kind of time to invest. As boomers retire, I don't see many of them taking up golf if they didn't already play golf as a hobby.

I keep wondering about the dozens and dozens of communities around here with their private golf courses and I try to project what may happen down the road if the trend of fewer folks golfing continues. By the governing rules of a community, it typically takes a huge percentage of owners to make a change. So, unless all the owners decide they don't want a golf course, it's highly unlikely that the golf course will go away.....but their real estate pricing is often depressed (and slow to sell) and may continue to drop, due to the golf course. I don't know if a golf course community can possibly open their golf course to the public to try to defray some of the expense. It will be interesting to watch what develops.

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Old 04-23-2017, 11:39 AM   #9
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Early in my career, I was in a golf industry. Growth in the 90"s was phenomenal. In the US alone there were a average of 3 new courses opening each week (many of those in housing developments). 10-15 years later, a lot of those courses were plowed under and replaced with other homes, or amenities without the overhead of a course.

The golf industry is struggling for reasons already listed. The number of rounds played annually has been in a downward spiral for a decade and the future isn't looking any better. I'd run from any property that hitched my wagon to a golf course.
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Old 04-23-2017, 04:40 PM   #10
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The changing demographics are making developers scramble for the right offer for would-be buyers. Our friends from Wisconsin moved to Branson and bought a sprawling (5000 ft2) one floor with 5 car garage for what they got in WI. Now they want to downsize and finding buyers is a challenge.

And many remodelers are staging homes because they are easier to sell (contents an optional extra).
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Old 04-24-2017, 04:41 AM   #11
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Funny, I can remember when "golf course community" was seen as a desirable thing, at least in South Florida, where as a teen I lived with my parents. Particularly desirable was having a house on the golf course, since it meant nobody would build anything in back of your house. Such homes carried premium prices, which is why my parents didn't live in one, although they might have liked to.
They still carry a premium here in Sarasota, especially if it is right on the golf course - which about half the properties are in a typical golfing community. There are a few older communities where the golf course is at risk, but most are staying afloat. The main premium is water property because as the population grows the # of properties with water access stays the same and so they are in higher demand and the premium continues to rise.

When a golfing community is new membership is usually included with the house, but when you buy a used house very few require you to carry a membership.

Being on the golf course is nice whether you golf or not.
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Old 04-25-2017, 05:09 AM   #12
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I've had a couple of days to ponder on it. We've got 4 cars, my son my daughter, the wife and I. Although the son will be away at college a good part of the year there will be plenty of times when there are 4 cars. It simply won't work - the garages are just too small.

I think we will look elsewhere for a condo perhaps out of the 55 and over community.

I can't help but think your paying for that golf course even if you don't join. I don't golf and I don't plan on starting. There's one other thing that distressed me ..they were doing some stucco repairs on the properties. Stucco is the enemy.
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Old 04-25-2017, 07:35 AM   #13
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Not all 55+ communities have golf courses.
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Old 04-25-2017, 07:55 AM   #14
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When we were looking in western NC, we were shown homes in two golf course communities (at that time, frankly, they were the only communities that had homes/yards that fit our criteria; that's probably changed). One required you to pay a stiff initiation fee, the other did not; but in neither case were you allowed to walk on the trails (which adjoined/ran through the golf course) unless you paid to join the golf association. Since a big reason to live there was to walk on the beautiful trails, we passed on both.
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Old 04-25-2017, 09:28 AM   #15
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1. Talk to the HOA treasurer and look at the annual financial report. Some HOA's are behind in reasonably funding major expenses: roof replacement, as an example.
+1! And to expand - elevators are always big cost items in condos. Replacing a single elevator could be as much as $80k+! (that's for a full replacement). What amounts are in reserve compared to their annual expenses. Roof, elevators and large driveway/parking lot areas are always the major items for a condo association - how do those look in relation to the budget/reserves?
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Old 04-25-2017, 09:53 AM   #16
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We live in a Golf Country Club community but are not required to be members. In fact we do not even like golf. We chose to live nowhere near the actual course itself, but in a community within the club confines but on the outskirts of it.

We get all the benefits without the being members. All the common areas are nicely landscaped and no one can paint their home Fluorescent Green, leave partially assembled trucks and old sofas in the front yard. It is a single family only community of 600 homes.

The Club is private, and you do not have to live there to be a member. It is owned by ClubCorp.

This is the second such community we have lived in, each in excess of 13 years at each. We like it.
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Old 04-25-2017, 01:06 PM   #17
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I've had a couple of days to ponder on it. We've got 4 cars, my son my daughter, the wife and I. Although the son will be away at college a good part of the year there will be plenty of times when there are 4 cars. It simply won't work - the garages are just too small.

I think we will look elsewhere for a condo perhaps out of the 55 and over community.

I can't help but think your paying for that golf course even if you don't join. I don't golf and I don't plan on starting. There's one other thing that distressed me ..they were doing some stucco repairs on the properties. Stucco is the enemy.
Condos with 4 car garages are likely hen's teeth, and hard to buy and hard to sell.

Ha
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Old 04-25-2017, 02:19 PM   #18
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Agree with Ha on this. In fact, we are only now starting to see four-car garages on $2 million new single-family homes being built in our area.

Of course that doesn't mean people with multiple vehicles don't buy condos. Our experience in owning rental property (a single-story condo, and a townhouse with a condo-type arrangement) was that many owners (and one of our sets of renters) had more cars than the garage and assigned parking spaces could accommodate. They simply poached the visitor parking spaces, and assigned spaces of people who were known to be out of town, and hoped they did not get turned in and cited for it. I am not recommending this sort of behavior, just making an observation.

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Condos with 4 car garages are likely hen's teeth, and hard to buy and hard to sell.

Ha
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Old 04-25-2017, 03:07 PM   #19
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Yeah - I didn't expect more than 2 car parking for condos. And maybe not garages either.
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Old 04-25-2017, 04:56 PM   #20
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I'd like a two car garage ... still I'll need parking for 2 more.
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