Thursday, May 4, 2023 / by Marie Babin Real Estate Team .
Top 5 Questions to ask your Real Estate Agent when Investing in a Condo
It’s the perfect blend of lively beach towns, unspoiled beaches, great seafood, warm and brilliant Gulf waters, and dazzling white sand. Welcome to the Emerald Coast (also known less poetically as the Florida Panhandle).
The Emerald Coast, in our completely biased opinion, is one of the most beautiful stretches of beach you’ll find anywhere, and we invite you to see it for yourself. We are quite certain that once you’ve visited the beaches here, you’ll be a loyal devotee for life.
Are you looking for the perfect vacation home? Marie Babin, an experienced Emerald Coast Real Estate Agent, can help you fulfill that wish and help you find the perfect condo, whether you’re seeking an investment property or your new home away from home.
Purchasing a condo has unique considerations that set it apart from a single-family dwelling. Condos share common areas, come with amenities on site, and require owners to contribute to improvement projects through special assessments and general maintenance through property owners’ associations. To make sure you know what you are getting before making that Emerald Coast Real Estate purchase, here are some questions you’ll want to ask.
1. WHAT AMENITIES ARE AVAILABLE?
Condominiums along the Emerald Coast are not just popular because of their proximity to the beach. They are also known for awesome resort amenities. Gulf front pools, Lazy river pools, tennis courts, shuffleboard, tiki bars, world class dining, grills and gathering spaces, gyms, bike paths, golf cart communities . . . the list goes on. Share the amenities that are top on your list with your Agent so she can help you find the right fit.
2. WHAT ARE THE COMMUNITY COSTS?
Because of the shared features of condo living, owners will pay monthly or quarterly condo association dues. These fees can cover such costs as maintenance and repairs in common areas, the master insurance policy, building security, onsite management, and commonly include utilities such as water and sewer, and internet. The combination of these differ between resorts and should be a factor when considering which condominium is right for you.
Also ask your Emerald Coast Real Estate Agent to procure the last few years’ financial reports for the property owners’ association and discuss these with you. These financial records forecast what you can expect to pay over time, enabling you to plan your budget accordingly.
3. HOW IS A CONDO MORTGAGE DIFFERENT FROM ONE FOR A SINGLE-FAMILY HOME?
As in buying a single-family home, you must submit documentation to the lender and gain approval for the mortgage. Your income, debt-to-income ratio, employment, credit history, and more are all evaluated, and if you’re found to be fiscally responsible, you’ll qualify for a loan amount that suits your finances. However, the type of loans lenders use for condominiums are different from the traditional conventional loans for homes. Florida lenders commonly use portfolio loans which fall outside of the normal underwriting guidelines for conventional loans. Portfolio loans are not sold to other lending institutions and are kept within the lender’s own inside “portfolio”. Having a knowledgeable Real Estate Agent on your side to guide you through the lending process is a must.
4. WHAT RULES AND EXPECTATIONS ARE IN PLACE FOR OWNERS AND GUESTS?
Here again, your Emerald Coast Real Estate Agent can be a tremendous resource. Ask her to help you access the property owner association’s policy manual. Read through the policy carefully and then speak with a member of the condo association to ask for clarification of anything that seems unclear. Typically, new condo owners are most concerned about the pet policy for both owners and their guests, parking guidelines, rental policies, and storage facilities for owners.
5. ARE YOU EXPERIENCED IN CONDO SALES?
Because of all of these unique considerations of purchasing a condo, you’ll benefit from working with an Agent who is already familiar with and experienced in condo transactions. Marie Babin is just such an Agent, and she is ready and eager to address your questions, guide you to the perfect property for your family, and welcome you as the newest resident of the Emerald Coast. Give the Marie Babin Team a call today!