5 Things You Need to Know Before Buying Your First Condo

Founder, Condoblackbook.com & Owner/Broker, HB Roswell Realty
5 Things You Need to Know Before Buying Your First Condo
Founder, Condoblackbook.com & Owner/Broker, HB Roswell Realty

Oct 15, 2018 October 15, 2018

Miami’s impressive beaches and world-class art galleries attract visitors from all over the world, but most visitors overlook the vibrant community calling these sun-faded streets home. There’s a lot to love about living in Miami, and once you’ve decided to stick around, you might be ready to buy a piece of property to call your own.

If this will be your first condo purchase, navigating the Miami real estate market can seem intimidating. Or you might already know what neighborhood you love and just need to navigate the buying process. Either way, to prepare you mentally and financially for your big purchase, here are five things you should know before making the leap from renting to buying.

1. You’re married to your new condo for five years.

To see the financial benefits of buying a condo you typically want to own it for five years. If you’re already planning to move sooner than that, then you have two choices: lease it until it’s a sound investment, or just don’t buy it to begin with. It may sound harsh, but it’s more about assessing your own financial stability and accounting for the reality of the Miami real estate market. On average, Miami real estate values have done very well historically, but don’t expect your property value to rise every year—the market runs in cycles and five years is a good rule of thumb.

You're married to your condo for five years

2. Know your deal breakers.

Identify your deal breakers and not just a “would be nice to have” list. For a tried-and-tested way to assess your priorities, consider what will make you smile when you come home every night. Is it having more square footage, or a gorgeous water view? Perhaps you’re a social create and prioritize walking to your favorite coffee shop? Forget the technical details and figure out what is important to you. By deciding now, you’ll enter your condo search with a clear idea of what your new condo needs to feel like home.

Know your deal breakers

3. You’ll have a few more monthly and one-off expenses.

When upgrading to your first condo, you’re going to spend a bit more than just mortgage and utilities every month. New condo owners must budget for: property taxes, homeowners’ association fees, and condo maintenance, too.

Those are the fixed, regular expenses—you also need a six-month financial cushion to account for all of those extra things that will make your new condo feel like home. This includes any new furniture and home decor, painting the walls, and generally settling into your new pad. When budgeting for a condo you can afford, account for how your cash flow will support some of those additional expenses.

You'll have a few more monthly costs and one-off expenses.

4. It’s your job to know your finances.

Work on your personal finances long before you decide to shop for a condo. Practically, this means ensuring that your credit score is up to par since this affects your interest rate and down payment options. And since condos require a downpayment of between three and 20 percent (right now you can get into most condos with 10% down or less), you need that money in savings before beginning your condo search.

It's your job to know your finance.

5. The right support makes all the difference.

Preparing for your condo purchase comes with a raft of decisions—when to buy, which lender is best, and can you trust your realtor? Don’t cut corners here! If the people helping you navigate this process don’t thoroughly know their business, hire someone else. This isn’t the time to use your friend’s cousin who’s just getting started in real estate or lending. Seasoned realtors and lenders know the local market and help narrow your search to buildings that match both your financial and lifestyle goals (i.e., buildings where you can afford the downpayment and condo association fees located in a neighborhood you’ll enjoy).

And since lending options differ for single family homes and condos, work with a lender that knows the Miami market specifically and offers flexible loan programs for condos — especially condos that might not conform to typical loan requirements. With the right lender, you can get prequalified and understand how much condo you can realistically afford. Bypass Miami’s long list of fly-by-night professionals here one day and gone the next. By doing business with dedicated professionals, you create a strong team with comprehensive knowledge that will help you make the right decisions.

By taking the time to give yourself clarity, direction and a strong team, you will make the right moves and be moved into your own little castle soon enough.

The right support makes all the difference.

Recent Posts

Guide to Buying or Renting Loft-Style Condos in Miami
Real Estate News Guide to Buying or Renting Loft-Style Condos in Miami
Think loft-style condo living, Miami may not be the first place that comes to mind. Though New York is the birthplace of lofts, their modern, minimalist appeal has won them devotees across the country, including Miami (aka “New Yorker’s home away from home”). This is what has made loft-style living highly sought after in Miami too. Read on for a lowdown on the origins, characteristics and varieties of loft-style living spaces and where to begin your search for loft-style condos in Miami: Start here if you are ready to search loft-style condos Humble Origins of the Loft Condo Roots of the industrial chic ‘loft’ can be traced back to the factory districts of the 40s in Manhattan, New York. With increasing land prices forcing out production units to the suburbs, abandoned warehouses and factories were converted into studio spaces by young artists and musicians. Their large, open floor plans and raw canvas appeal made them the ideal live-work situation for artists of every...
How to Finance Your Airbnb Investment or Vacation Rental Purchase
Real Estate News How to Finance Your Airbnb Investment or Vacation Rental Purchase
Airbnb has taken the world by storm, and it’s no news that vacation rental investments have become a great source of extra income for many. In fact, this platform focused on short-term vacation rentals worldwide has been growing steadily, and Airbnb managed to rake in $2.6 billion in revenue in 2017, providing an average of $924 monthly for hosts with Airbnb rental properties. There are even people who can now afford to live simply from income generated through Airbnb rentals and vacation rental investments in general. So, how do you go about financing a property for your Airbnb rental business so you can cash in on some of this growth? A lot depends on the property that you select. If you’re buying a condominium for this purpose, you’ll have to look at the condo association’s regulations regarding short-term rentals in order to determine what rental investment financing options you should focus on. Your down payment, financial profile, credit score, and the type of use you will...
Selling a Home For Sale By Owner: 11 Things All Home Sellers Should Know
Opinions and Advice Selling a Home For Sale By Owner: 11 Things All Home Sellers Should Know
When selling your home, it’s understandable that you’ll want to make as much money as possible from the sale, and you may be weighing the pros and cons of saving a little money by selling the home yourself without hiring a real estate agent. Real estate agents typically charge a 5-7% commission on the sale price of your home, so you could potentially save thousands of dollars by selling the home yourself, and this is the most common reason why home sellers make the decision to sell on their own. But is it a sound decision? While saving money on commission sounds like it could be a benefit, there are actually several drawbacks to selling the home yourself unless you happen to be very well trained and experienced in the field of real estate, have lots of time on your hands, are a whiz at marketing, and have some legal know-how. According to The National Association of Realtors, more than 90% of all properties listed for sale by owner fail to sell, and sellers end up having to hire a...
The Future Miami Riverwalk is Taking Forever
Brickell The Future Miami Riverwalk is Taking Forever
The Miami River meanders through the heart of Miami, diving the twin, skyscraper-strewn districts of Downtown and Brickell before it bends northwest and heads toward the airport. Planners intend the river to someday have a riverwalk, also known as the Miami River Greenway, running along both sides, much like the one that already exists along the New River in Fort Lauderdale. An idea that has been in the works for decades, the river walk will someday add life and vitality to the downtown core. But the river walk is a more complicated proposition than its sibling, the Miami bay walk. The river walk has more obstacles and, unlike with the bay walk, there is no one central section that is mostly complete to serve as a catalyst for the rest.     The closest it gets to a functioning river walk is the area where the river opens to the bay. There the river walk is wide and inviting, festooned with public art as it wraps around either side of the gap. On the south side of the river, it...
Guide to Buying a Condo Hotel (Condotel) in Miami - FAQs and More
Opinions and Advice Guide to Buying a Condo Hotel (Condotel) in Miami - FAQs and More
Miami has been the playground of choice for beach lovers, party goers and tourists in general for ages. The constant demand from people wanting to live and play here makes Miami a natural pick for the concept of condo hotels. Almost every major hospitality brand out there either has one or is in the process of putting a new condo hotel in the city. But, what is a condo hotel? What makes it a good investment? Why would anyone choose a condo hotel over a traditional condo or a timeshare? Find answers to such frequently asked questions and more below in our complete guide to buying a condo hotel in Miami. Quick Links What is a Condo Hotel and How Does it Work? Condot Hotels: One Residence, Many Names Advantages of Owning a Condo Hotel Vs. Traditional Vacation Condo Difference between a Timeshare and Condo Hotel Is a Condo Hotel the Right Choice for Me? Is Buying a Condo Hotel a Good Investment? How to Ensure your Condo Hotel is a Successful Buy? Key Questions to Ask Before...
Miami Events to Start Your New Year on a Bright Note
Lifestyle Miami Events to Start Your New Year on a Bright Note
January’s basket of events has the perfect mix to get rid of those post-holiday blues. Art and culture take front seat with six different events to appeal to your whimsical side. And, a wine and international chocolate festival make sure there’s ample soulfulness on the menu. Read on for details on these and many more events this January in Miami: South Beach Jazz Festival: January 4 – 6 Various venues across Miami Beach After a festive season full of parties, it’s time to unwind with some soulful music at the South Beach Jazz Festival. There will be at least one artist with a disability performing with rest of the talent roster. This year’s lineup includes Dee Dee Bridgewater, Alex Weitz, Maria Rivas, Leesa Richards, Nicole Yarling, Brian Lynch and more. YoungArts Week: January 6 – 13 Various venues in Miami Get a taste of what the next gen of artists is conjuring up across a wide spectrum of arts. There will be writers’ readings at the YoungArts...