The Pros and Cons of Condominiums in the Florida Keys
In the Florida Keys, condominium ownership is a common way to buy a home in a location with limited space and high property values. Purchasing a condo may not be for everyone, however, so it is important to review the pros and cons of condo ownership before making a decision.
Condominiums are popular for a reason. Affordability, ease of maintenance, and amenities are all enticing for prospective home-buyers, especially in areas like the Keys, where many homeowners spend only part of the year in their winter or vacation homes.
- Affordability. Condominiums can be significantly cheaper than purchasing single-family homes, since the owner owns only the interior of the condo, and no land. The option of buying a condo is especially convenient in the Keys and other similar locations, where many prospective purchasers may not be able to afford a stand-alone house. Condos allow people to own property in areas that would otherwise be out of their price range.
- Maintenance. Condo associations employ maintenance workers to take care of upkeep, and often also have on-site managers to handle emergencies and ensure that everything in the building runs smoothly. The ease of maintenance is especially useful for vacation homes. Condo owners do not have to worry about mowing a lawn, gardening, exterior upkeep, or repairs in the unit, and can thus avoid worry if they are living elsewhere for part of the year.
- Amenities. Often, condos have features such as a pool, gym, or clubhouse that can be used by any resident. A condo owner only has to pay for part of the cost of these amenities, since all condo owners share in the expense.
- Security. Condos often provide greater security than separate dwellings. They may have gated entries, doormen, or even security guards. Additionally, if an emergency arises, other residents are close.
However, condo ownership also comes at a cost. Expenses and limited freedoms mean that condominiums are not for everyone. It is important to understand the downsides of condos before deciding to purchase one.
- Fees. To live in a condo, owners must pay a monthly or annual fee, to be used for the upkeep of the common areas and anything else that the condo association’s bylaws provide for. If a condo owner fails to pay the fees, the association can place a lien on the property and eventually foreclose. Buying a condo means becoming a part owner in the community, so anyone looking to buy a condo should make sure that the condo association he or she investing in is financially stable.
- Limited ownership. Condo owners own only the insides of their units. This means that they lack ownership of yards and exteriors. Thus, homeowners are limited in their opportunities to do outdoor activities such as gardening or decorating for holidays.
- Rules. Every condo association has rules. These rules are designed to maintain a level of upkeep in the building and neighborhood. Rules range in strictness, and may include restrictions on pets, prohibitions on home-based businesses, or regulations regarding parking spots. If rules are not followed, this can cause serious troubles for condo owners.
- Proximity. Often, in a condo, units are adjacent to each other, so noise travels easily through units. Additionally, bad or noisy neighbors are closer, and unwelcome interactions may be more frequent.
- Storage. Generally, condos have no attics, basements, or garages, though they do often come with storage lockers.
If you are considering purchasing a condo, an experienced attorney can advise you on what is best for your individual situation. Please contact a Key West and Key Largo real estate attorney at the Silver Law Group to schedule your initial consultation.