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Considering Home Purchase
Old 02-15-2010, 02:34 PM   #1
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Considering Home Purchase

I've managed to avoid home ownership for over 40 years; but, the combination of a seriously depressed real estate market in South Florida along with the extended first time home buyer's credit have me seriously thinking about taking the plunge.

I am considering the Hollywood, FL area for a couple of reasons:
  • I have vacationed in and around there several times and like the area.
  • I still travel a great deal for w*rk (and, haven't been able to pull the plug on that yet), this is close to both the MIA and FLL airports.
  • Prices seem even more depressed in this area than in surrounding municipalities.

While I am leaning towards a condo/town-home, I might also consider a free standing dwelling.

Please feel free to share any cometary, thoughts, advise, etc. Some things that I would definitely be interested in seeing:
  • Anything that might dissuade me from this insanity.
  • Specific information about analyzing the financials of a condo association prior to making an offer or included in offer contingencies.
  • Advice regarding short sales and REO.
  • Information about real estate professionals in the area that anyone here has been particularly pleased with.

Please feel free to PM me anything that you do not want to share publicly.
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Old 02-15-2010, 02:47 PM   #2
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Check with your current homeowners insurance company to see if they offer coverage in Florida. See if they would give you an estimate quote on a typical home etc...Also recommend you purchase flood insurance, whether or not property is in a flood zone. Wouldn't recommend a condo, unless you find a great deal on one with a particularly financially strong and independent association. Pay particular attention to what your homeowners association or condo association allows/does not allow in addition to the financial strength etc. With the condo or HOA, look at their funded reserves and operating budget coverage, # of units delinquint with dues, # of foreclosures w/in development, and # of lawsuits pending. Also, talk to some potential neighbors or one of the officers in the association.
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Old 02-15-2010, 03:17 PM   #3
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It is unbelievable have far the condo market in Florida has fallen . I looked at a 2,500 sq,ft. condo with a private elevator with views of the water originally listed for $400,000 . It is now for sale for $199,000. If you plan on traveling a lot a condo or a house in a community where they do maintenance are ideal . Absolutely check out the association because some of them crazy with rules and fees . I lived in a maintenace free community and I nicknamed the head "The Plant Nazi " because he was always checking that you were using approved plants for landscaping .
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Old 02-16-2010, 03:18 AM   #4
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Inexpensive condos make me think the development has lots of empty condos which makes me think there are lots of missed payments into the Condo Fee fund which makes me think owners that can pay will be getting big bills to cover the shortages. Or needed repairs or maintenance won't be done because reserves are too low.

Condos also make me nervous when it comes to hurricane damage. Let's say your development has 3 buildings and the two buildings your don't live in suffer extensive damage during a hurricane. You are going to pay even if your dwelling was not affected. If you have your own home, you can upgrade it to make it as safe and sound as possible and you won't be paying for repairs just because your neighbor's roof blows off.

Annoying rules is one thing. Huge assessments or disrepair is a whole other issue.
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