Archive for August, 2016

3 Things You Must Know When Buying A Condo in
Punta Gorda

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016
Sailboats docked at the Villas at Cedar Key

Sailboats docked at the Villas at Cedar Key

By: Adrienne Andreae

You’ve been taken care of houses for 20+ years. You’re tired. You want someone else to cut the lawn and maintain the pool.

Downsizing to a Punta Gorda condo could be the perfect solution. After so many years of homeownership, you may wonder what are the main differences in buying a condo vs. a home. I’m going to give you the basics about condo buying in a minute, but first let’s discuss the differences between a condo, a villa, and a townhome.

What’s the difference between a condo, a townhome, and a villa?

It’s my understanding that some parts of the country use these words differently. We’re talking Punta Gorda here, so I’m going to tell you what these words mean in these parts. A condo is in a multi-level complex. We don’t allow highrises to ruin are quaintness or cause traffic jams, so the highest living space you’ll see is three floors. (There is one exception to that rule. That’s another story for another post.)

Condo owners usually pay $350 per month in fees on the low side and $550 on the high end. Although, we do have a few complexes that go higher and lower in the area.

We tend to use the word villa more than we use townhome although they’re similar. A villa falls somewhere in between a single family home and a condo. You don’t have anyone above or below you. Sometimes they have two floors within the unit, but most are one. You will share at least one side with another villa. Villas have an association that takes care of the grounds and usually the outer shell of the building.

Villa fees in our area usually range between $500-650 per month.

1 Colony Pt, Vivante and Solamar complexes

1 Colony Pt, Vivante and Solamar complexes

When it comes time to purchase a condo, villa or a townhome, the transaction is very similar. Here are some basics you need to know:

Association Matters

Every association runs differently. You want an association that thinks like you do. Often I know the history of a complex or it’s reputation and I’m happy to pass any information I have on. However, the best way to learn about the association, bar going to a meeting, is to read their most current condo documents. When you put an offer on a condo, we attach a condo rider. This rider requests the listing agent give you the most current condo docs. I keep using the word ‘current’, because sometimes you’ll find these documents attached to the MLS or online. The seller pays for the most current and usually only buys them after an offer is put on the unit.

After you receive the documents, you have 3 days to back out of the contract if you don’t like what you read.

Check the Financials

Along with the condo docs, you’ll receive the financials. If a complex doesn’t keep reserves, a bank won’t give you a loan. Paying cash? You still have problems without reserves. What if the roof leaks? You and your neighbors will have to get together to fix it. The bank doesn’t give loans on these complexes, because they’re so risky. When you go to sell, you’ve cut out a fair amount of buyers.

So, how much should a complex have in reserves? That’s hard to say. Reserves are like savings accounts. Some people like to be safe and keep a lot of money in them. They will raise fees over spending money from the reserves. Some associations lean towards spending. Older complexes tend to have more in reserves, because they’ve had time to build them up. Of course, their structures are older, so you could argue they need more.

Fannie Mae likes to see a certain amount of the fees being put into reserves every year. Some complexes have great reserves and stop paying into them, like you might with a savings account. Because of this, I highly recommend using someone local for your loan. They are more likely to do the research early and find loan products that will work for you. (If you need help with this, call me. I know some great lenders.)

All Condos within a Complex are Not the Same

Customers often ask me why a condo is priced so much higher or lower than the last one sold in the complex. First, it’s likely they have two different sellers. It is also likely that although they may have the same floor plans many factors go into the price of the condo.

Obviously, a differences in views or upgrades cause price differences. What you may not realize is in some complexes some condos have deeded docks and some do not. A deeded dock can add $30k-$50k on to the price of a unit.

Have more questions about buying condos? We have answers. Please email us at info@andreaegroup.com or give us a call at 941-833-4217.

Tarpon Cove condos (orange-ish roofs in the foreground) have private elevators and many have docks

Tarpon Cove condos (orange-ish roofs in the foreground) have private elevators and many have docks