IMPORTANT DETAILS TO PAY ATTENTION TO

So you are looking at condos for sale in downtown Fort Lauderdale? Here you will learn about some important details:

Understand:

1. Pricing 101

2. What to pay attention to when buying a condo in downtown Fort Lauderdale

3. The difference between an “apartment” and a “condo”

4. Other “fun facts”

1. PRICING.

You have the same condo floor plan in the same building and there is a huge price discrepancy between two apparently identical units….

Besides the seller’s motivation, three important factors of condo pricing are:

* VIEWS:

Remember “location, location, location”. Views in Fort Lauderdale are often breathtaking but they are pricey. Of course as long as the view is there to stay (you need a competent realtor who knows the market very well), it is a great investment for the long term. What you don’t want is buy a condo with a magnificent view which will be gone in 2 years and whose value will drop significantly….

* FLOOR: 

The higher the floor, the higher the price. This is again linked to the views…This rule is particularly true for new constructions where pricing is very “structured”. For resales, this rule becomes less “absolute” but in general count on paying more for a higher floor.

* FINISHES:

True upgrades and higher quality finishes obviously come at a price.

This is where you will need a competent realtor who knows the market and knows what comes standard and what is a true upgrade.

Luxury is part of the Florida lifestyle. It comes in many different forms but usually it is pretty glamorous…

Keep in mind though that finishes are subject to fashion and trends. What is hot today will look “passé” down the road. So in general gorgeous views that are here to stay are the best investment you can make…

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2. CONDO LIFE: WHAT TO PAY MOST ATTENTION TO

Whenever you buy a condo, you must/should request the “condo docs” to understand what the rules are and see if you can live with them. While most of the condo docs are pretty generic and of no interest to you (if you cannot live with community rules, a condo is not the right purchase for you: you need a house), you should really focus on :

* Rules regarding pets (number of pets, breed restrictions, weight restrictions etc..) if you have pets or if you hate them….

* Potential lease restrictions. Some condo associations don’t allow leasing your unit the first year of ownership (sometimes even first two years). A few don’t allow leasing at all. That is a way to keep investors at bay. These rules are very rare for newer buildings (after 2000) but very common in associations from the 1960’s or 70’s. What is very common in newer building is limitations to the number of times you can rent the condo out per year and the minimum period a lease must have (3, 6 or 12 months are usual). You must understand these rules if you don’t plan on being an owner occupant….

* Parking situation: how many spots, garage or parking space, assigned or not assigned, parking accessibility, valet parking etc…

* HOA fees. These are monthly (some times quarterly) fees that MUST be paid to the condo association. They usually cover all the amenities (pool, elevator, fitness center etc..), the insurance of the building and the common areas (NOT the content of your condo unit), the management fees. Usually they cover water and trash services. Often times they cover basic cable packages and more rarely do they also cover internet packages. You should understand exactly what is covered and what is not, especially if you are worried about your monthly charges.

* Special assessments: while many condos in the downtown core are recently built and therefore not likely to face major expenses, you always want to make sure there are no financial surprises looming!

* Approval process: most condo associations will require approval and you will have to submit to that process which usually ends with an interview and the issuance of a “certificate of approval” which is recorded with the deed.

Please note TAXES ARE NEVER INCLUDED IN YOUR CONDO HOA FEE. Please note the latter might not apply to “coops” but we don’t cover coops on this website because they are such a small inventory. Of course, we will assist you if you are interested in purchasing a unit in a “coop”. That is what we are here for.

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3. CONDO or APARTMENT?

Just like a soda is a “pop” for other fellow Americans….well apartments in South Florida might not be what you think they are…..

An apartment building has one single owner who manages the property. Occupants are tenants and cannot buy single units. Apartments are always RENTALS. You cannot buy an apartment unless you want to buy the whole building and manage tenants.

A condo building (condo is short for “condominium”) is a building whose individual units are owned by separate legal entities (individuals, corporations etc..). It has a “condo association” which is ruled by the “condo docs” which are basically the “Constitution” of the community. It determines all the rules that apply including restrictions on sales, leasing, pet ownership etc…

To make a long story short, if you want to buy one single unit, you can only buy a “condo” in Fort Lauderdale, NOT an apartment.

Please note that an apartment complex can be converted into a condo association. This requires to follow strict procedures and filing “condo docs” with the State of Florida. We expect a wave of “condo conversions” in downtown Fort Lauderdale. How fast it will happen depends on how fast lenders loosen their lending standards which have been too rigid since the market collapsed in 2008.

There are also “coops” (cooperatives). These buildings are rare and usually date back the 1950’s or early 1960’s. They are most often found on the beach rather than in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

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4. OTHER “FUN” FACTS.

* Penthouses are the units on the top floors. They are obviously the most coveted and therefore usually priciest, because you have no neighbor above you and they have the highest/best views. While some buildings have “standard units” on their top floors, many – especially the priciest properties- have penthouse units that are usually extravagantly larger than other condos in the same building. They might have 2 or even 3 floors with lavish square footage and balconies.

Those are the units for the deep pockets…

* Flooring numbering is usually easy to understand:

Unit 1602 is unit #2 on the 16th floor.

The only exception to this rule in downtown Fort Lauderdale is “Las Olas By The River” where unit 2107 means unit #7 in the 2nd building, on the first floor. There are only 7 floors and so it is not unit #7 on the 21st floor…

* Please note most buildings don’t have a 13th floor in downtown Fort Lauderdale

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The TurinaRussell Network is your expert for downtown condos in booming Fort Lauderdale