Outgrown your condo and ready for a house? Here’s what to look for when buying a home

Outgrown your condo and ready for a house? Here’s what to look for when buying a home

Mar 18, 2020 March 18, 2020

If you’ve finally outgrown your comfy condo and are considering buying your first house, there are some things to keep in mind to help you make the transition.

Living in your first house will inevitably make you feel grand. You’ll enjoy the feel of earth beneath your feet when you step out onto your lawn or yard, the right to own as many pets as you want, and the freedom from worrying about disturbing your neighbors if you want to try that latest DIY project or need to do laundry at 3 am, as well as the enhanced privacy and peace of mind that comes with living in a quiet, residential neighborhood.

If you have school-age children, your decision to move to a more residential area may be for the purpose of finding better neighborhood schools.  We’ve put together a guide to the best private schools and private pre-schools in the greater Miami area. If you're still deciding on whether to choose a house or condo for your next move, check out our ultimate pro and con guide to condos versus houses

Nevertheless, as a condo owner, you’ve been used to your building’s condo association providing many essential services for you, such as landscaping, amenities and maintenance, building security, and garbage removal service, while providing a readily available community of neighbors that you can enjoy interactions with on a daily basis.

In your new house, you’ll be fully responsible for all repairs and regular maintenance, as well as ensuring your home’s security.  It’ll also be a bit of lifestyle change as you won’t literally be sharing walls with your neighbors. 

So here at CondoBlackBook.com, we’ve compiled a list of tips you may want to consider as you make this important transition from a condo to buying a house.

What Should I Look for When Buying a House? First, Have Patience

man sitting on leather sofa

Photo courtesy of Austin Distel on Unsplash


Buying a house is somewhat more dramatic than buying a condo, and house hunting is a much more creative experience, so have some patience. When shopping for a house, you’ll want to keep an open mind for visualizing and consider possible future renovations. Unlike condos, where much of the floor plan, materials and interiors are often similar, each house you see can vary in extremes depending on the architecture, age, interiors, and any previous renovations.

Generally, when buying a house in South Florida, compared to a condo, your money goes a little farther, especially if you’re moving from a newer condo near the water, often because many homes are more mainland. This means you can expect to get more space for your money. Typically, the houses will be a bit older, so if a completely new or renovated home is on your “must-have” list, expect to pay a slight premium for this.

Also, Prepare for a More Complex Buying Process

Walkthrough home inspection

Photo courtesy of Bayhome Inspection Services


The lending process is also different when purchasing a house because there are more things to review during inspections, such as structural things, roofing, plumbing, and wiring, in contrast to the review process when buying a condo. For this reason, the cost of inspections is typically higher when buying a house versus a condo.

There are also more potential factors that can break the deal in the purchase of a house, such as whether the house uses a sewer or septic drainage system, or what the inspection process may reveal. In areas with older homes, problems such as an old leaky roof, or old, faulty wiring in electrical cables may pose red flags. Should your initial financing options fall through due to any inspection issues, and you are set on buying the home, there are many alternate financing options you can explore, including possible seller financing.

Repurpose Your HOA Payments

Piggy Bank


While it may seem like a huge relief to not have to make those monthly Homeowners Association (HOA) payments in addition to your mortgage and other expenses, hold off on splurging on a major purchase with the money that you expect to save. Those payments have been protecting you from having to shell out an intimidating lump sum in the event that your building should require a major repair, while also saving you on having to pay for things such as yard and pool maintenance. 

If you set aside an amount roughly equivalent to that which you’ve been paying to your condo association every month, you could easily build a nest egg  to cover any unexpected expenses that may come up should your new home require a major repair or upgrade. 

While you’re looking at homes, more and more residential communities are creating Homeowners Associations, so check or ask your realtor.  You may find yourself once again paying HOA payments to cover private services such as neighborhood security, garbage pickup, and tree trimming.

Get to Know Your New Home

Couple moving in

Photo courtesy of HiveBoxx on Unsplash


So, you bought it, you own it. Get to really know your new home. Understand its architecture and systems, particularly the roof type, plumbing and electrical. Common repairs in houses include leaks, whether in the roof or simply old pipes under the sink. Maintaining good insulation and window seals are also key to keeping your home in tip-top shape.

If you’re handy with home repairs and/or have a good greenthumb, you may be able to do some of this work yourself, but you can always retain the services of good vendors to take care of anything from yard work to pool maintenance. Try getting recommendations from people who have had repeated good experiences with specific vendors and service providers.

Upgrade Your Insurance

Couple reviewing financial documents


As a condo owner, you’ve likely carried basic homeowner’s insurance and relied on your condo association’s building insurance to come through in case of damage to the building caused by fire, flood or hurricane. When buying a house, insurance is no longer part of your association fees, it’s now your responsibility, and you’ll have to take care of any damage that your home incurs by yourself.

To rest well, your best bet is to insure your home against perils by purchasing the maximum coverage that you can afford, and including protection against theft, mold, and water damage, particularly if you live in South Florida or areas prone to environmental mishaps. Your real estate agent may help you calculate in advance what your home’s insurance premiums might be by requesting an estimate from a reputable insurance company, or asking the seller to show current policy premiums. However, you’ll need a 4-point inspection in order to secure the final insurance estimate.

Many home insurance plans also include other types of protection, including identity theft. If you’re expanding into a house because of your growing family, you might want to consider adding life insurance, disability insurance, critical illness insurance, and/or mortgage insurance to ensure that you and your family will be secure in your new home.

Invest in a Home Security System

Home security camera

Photo courtesy of Kyle Glenn on Unsplash


Speaking of security, most condo buildings have elaborate security systems, gated entrances, front desk security, enclosed parking lots, and other measures to assure that intruders have no access to your home. A stand-alone home doesn’t have so many safeguards, so investing in a good home security system is essential. Installing motion detector lights around the home also provides extra safety.

Get Used to a New Lifestyle

Walking the dog at the beach

Photo courtesy of Roman Bintang on Unsplash


While your new home may be your castle, offering maximum privacy, once you move into your new house, say hello to a lot more driving, and probably a longer commute. If you walked to restaurants and markets, you’ll want to find your latest favorites again. And if you had a gym in your building, you may miss the proximity of fun neighbors that you used to run into there or at your old condo’s pool.

Even if you have a workout room or pool at your new home, look to develop new ways to get sufficient exercise, consider joining a local gym, taking a yoga class in the neighborhood, or signing up as a volunteer at your neighborhood school in order to make new friends in your new neighborhood. Taking walks, particularly in the late afternoon when your neighbors arrive home from work and walk their dogs, will also allow you to meet some of your new neighbors. If your community has an HOA, it’s possible they may organize occasional community-wide events that give neighbors an opportunity to get to know each other.

Take Out the Trash

Take out the trash

Photo courtesy of VanveenJF on Unsplash


As a condo dweller, you usually don’t think much about trash disposal. You learn where the regular trash goes, where the recycling goes, and never again have to give it a second thought. In your new home, you’ll have to take the garbage out to the curb. This actually gives you a good excuse to get to know your neighbors. Take the opportunity to knock on a neighbor’s door and ask, or contact your city public works department.

Relax and Enjoy

Man relaxing in a hammock
Photo by Tobias Tullius on Unsplash

Overall, the transition into your new house and your new residential lifestyle will undoubtedly feel glorious. You can BBQ as long as you like and any time you like (without a reservation!), there’s no need to valet if guests come by, and gone are the days of lugging groceries. Last but not least, invite your old condo neighbors over to show off your amazing new house!

 



Interested in selling your condo and moving into a house? We can help you with all aspects of your move, so just give us a call with any questions you have.

Cover photo courtesy of NeONBRAND on Unsplash
Contact Us
Sep Niakan
Broker / Team Lead
(305) 697-7667
sep@blackbookproperties.com
Request Info
By sending you agree to CondoBlackBook's Terms of Use

Your Miami Condo Awaits

Recent Posts

Related Group Proposes Waterfront Icon Residences in North Miami’s Keystone Point
Preconstruction Related Group Proposes Waterfront Icon Residences in North Miami’s Keystone Point
If the Related Group has its way, North Miami could be looking at its next wave of luxury residential development. Planning to perch the sleek, 15-story Icon Residences on the causeway heading to Bay Harbor Islands at 123rd Street, the brand-new condo building will likely set the precedent for luxury high-rises in the area. Purchased in November 2021 for $11 million, in partnership with Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi, the bayfront site is currently home to the shuttered-down White House Inn hotel. The vacant, 2-story inn was built in 1969 and has been closed and fenced down since 2014. Playing to a tough crowd, the Related Group will need approval from four out of five council members to go ahead with its plans. Vacant White House Inn hotel Related’s Icon-ic Residences In full Related Group flair, Icon Residences is proposed to be a $150 million, waterfront condo project. Designed by Arquitectonica, the 15-story tower would feature 54 impeccable, oversized condo residences averaging...
Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale - July Events at a Glance
Lifestyle Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale - July Events at a Glance
Summer is in full swing in Fort Lauderdale! With a spectacular mix of art events, music concerts, and Fourth of July festivities, we’ve got the perfect mix of events for you and your family! First off, check out these great picks for a fun Fourth of July weekend. Then explore multiple art exhibits, including Load We Carry by Megan Hildebrandt, Tranquil Tropics by Tim Forman, Our Canopy by Jen Clay, and Flotsam Fauna at the Flamingo Gardens. Rolling Loud is coming to town with Ye, Future, and Kendrick Lamar for headliners. There are plenty of pet-friendly evenings to choose from and events to find your furever friend!  Read below for these and more in our complete list of Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale for July 2022:  Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale - July Events at a Glance Special: Fourth of July 2022 Events July 2022: Fort Lauderdale Events Performances at the Hard Rock: Throughout July Artist Talk with Megan Hildebrandt: July 1 Conscious Gardening and Permaculture for Your...
How to Spend the 4th of July in Miami & More Summer Events 2022 - Miami Swim Week, Rolling Loud Miami, Swedish House Mafia, Ballet Festival
Lifestyle How to Spend the 4th of July in Miami & More Summer Events 2022 - Miami Swim Week, Rolling Loud Miami, Swedish House Mafia, Ballet Festival
Summer is hot in Miami and so are the events. We’ve got all you need to celebrate July with a bang! With an overflowing events calendar this summer, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Continuing with Miami Hotel discounts and topping those with Miami Spa special savings, you won’t be able to resist a weekend or two for self-care. Music lovers of every sort are in for a treat as the Rolling Loud Fest, Miami Salsa Festival, MB Classical Music Fest, Seaside Summer Fest, and Swedish House Mafia hit the stage in Miami. There are also plenty of summer camps and activities to keep the kiddos blissfully busy. Not to forget, the Fourth of July is right around the corner and Miami’s night sky is going to be lit with fireworks and the sweet smell of all-American barbecues. Check out our special curation of Independence Day events to make the holiday even more spectacular. And, read more below for a complete list of Top Things to Do in Miami this July 2022: Things to Do in Miami - July Events at a...
The 5 Most Luxurious Condo Buildings in Downtown Miami
Real Estate News The 5 Most Luxurious Condo Buildings in Downtown Miami
Downtown is, and continues to evolve as, one of Miami’s top neighborhoods, especially because of its central location to all that Miami has to offer, its views of Biscayne Bay, and its major public transportation hubs. In recent months, developers have been delivering world-class projects with unmatched luxuries in this urban core.  Today, a host of ultra-luxury buildings call Downtown Miami home, and we’ve listed the 5 Most Luxurious Condo Buildings in the neighborhood that set the bar for top-notch living. We’ve also included a few bonus pre-construction condo buildings that will provide even more luxurious lifestyle options for you to choose from if you’re looking to move to Miami or invest in this international city. Last updated on June 23, 2022 Why Choose Downtown Miami? Downtown is home to some of Miami’s best art, culture, shopping, entertainment, and social hotspots. It not only ties for #1 on our 11 Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Miami report, but is also the best...
Video: Agent Faves - Our 3 Favorite Condo Buildings in Sunny Isles Beach, Miami
Video Blog Video: Agent Faves - Our 3 Favorite Condo Buildings in Sunny Isles Beach, Miami
Close enough to all the action in Aventura and Miami Beach, yet far enough removed from touristy chaos, Sunny Isles Beach has turned into a darling for luxury developers in recent years. This upscale seaside community is home to an enviable collection of luxury-branded, high-rise condo towers, such as the Porsche Design Tower, Estates at Acqualina, Mansions at Acqualina, Turnberry Ocean Club, Muse, Jade Signature, and each one more luxurious and beautiful than the next. But we have a few that top our list of favorites. Check out Blackbook Properties’ Condo Specialist and licensed agent Vera Berezhnaya talk about her top 3 favorite luxury condo buildings in Sunny Isles Beach: Residences by Armani/Casa What we love about this building? Every unit in this oceanfront high-rise features a summer kitchen.  Milan couture meets Miami charm in this 66-story ultra-luxury high-rise. Besides affording private beach access, this 649-foot glass tower features 308 designer condos with interiors...
The Top 10 Miami-Area Beachfront Condos in Preconstruction Right Now!
Real Estate News The Top 10 Miami-Area Beachfront Condos in Preconstruction Right Now!
What’s more popular than Miami and South Florida’s sensational beaches these days? It’s our upcoming beachfront properties that are topping wishlists across the globe – luxury created for buyers from New York to New Zealand!  Regardless of whether you’re looking to move to the beachside for dazzling morning-to-night water views, instant access to a yachting lifestyle, or simply for bragging rights – an oceanside home in South Florida tops the wishlist for many - there are several upmarket projects on the horizon that offer you an oceanfront address. With developers eager to stay relevant in Miami and South Florida’s growing condo market, there are plenty of luxury, oceanfront condo preconstruction projects in the pipeline. Here’s our list of the Top 10 Upcoming Luxury Beachfront Condo Projects in Miami and Pompano Beach: Miami and South Florida’s Beachfront Condo Preconstruction projects at a glance: The Perigon - Mid-Beach Bentley Residences - Sunny Isles Beach St. Regis Residences...