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Old 03-09-2015, 10:49 PM
2,056 posts, read 2,476,392 times
Reputation: 3803


None of these pro condo comments address the negatives that I stated, negatives I might add that come from years of ownership of condos, not speculation. On a small board, a small block of owners can move through (or squash) anything they wish, within the realms of law. We had one board member who pushed through an amendment to our bylaws, wherein we were then allowed to rent out our units on a weekly basis. She turned her condo into a sort of hotel to get the maximum amount of rent from it, and it ruined the experience of living next door to her unit. People were coming and going at all hours of the day and night, and there was no attempt to make things quiet for the rest of the condo dwellers.

I won't even go into the time that I had to threaten to sue to get a roof leak fixed. You can't call someone to repair a roof, as you own only the inside of the condo. Repairs to something like a roof have to be attended to by the board or a management company, and if they wish to do it in their own sweet time, so be it. You just have to live w/ a bucket in your place to catch the water. And I still say you're better off renting vs "owning". If you get troublesome neighbors, you simply move. If you own, you're stuck, and good luck renting it out in that scenario. My biggest complaint is that you have so little control over anything. Everything is dictated to you by a board of directors or a management company. Or both, in reality. I'm not talking about major disasters, just the day to day issues w/ condo ownership. It's not something I would ever do again. One place we owned told us what color our screen door had to be, and what type of blinds had to be hung in the windows. Another condo we owned in Hawaii wouldn't allow us to have a cat. So much for ownership! $250,000 for the unit, $500 a month maintenance fees, and we couldn't have a cat? Living in a real house allows so much more freedom. Condos are nothing but apartments, and the build standards are very poor, no matter if they are up to code or not. You can hear your neighbor flush their toilet, and it's not fun having a neighbor with a loud TV just a foot from where your head lies on your bed. The walls are thin, and sound proofing is minimal to non existent.

Renting is hardly throwing money away, unless you pay cash for your place, and even then you have lots of fees to pay. Do the numbers. Most people "own" their places in name only. Actually, they are simply stewards for 20 or 30 year loans with banks or other lending institutions (who are the actual owners and holders of the title, not the "owners" of the unit). By the time you figure in all the costs and loan interest, along w/ property taxes, assessments, insurance, H.O, fees, maintenance fees, etc, and then look at what your unit MAY be worth when the note is paid off, it's a lousy idea. If you had rented, and put aside a small percentage into a tax free IRA (instead of paying out interest to a bank), 20 years later you would be doing all right. We owned back in the day when you could stay in a condo 6 months or a year and resell it and make a profit. Those days are long gone and in all likelihood never coming back, and that's a good thing. You should buy a place to live in it, not as an investment. But, don't listen to me, listen to real estate agents. They'll give you an unbiased opinion. Ha!

Last edited by smarino; 03-09-2015 at 11:22 PM..
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Old 03-10-2015, 06:01 AM
Location: Lakewood Ranch, FL
5,341 posts, read 8,207,861 times
Reputation: 6422
There's no doubt that there are good associations and bad ones, and that is why (if a buyer follows the advice that has been given) a little research before closing can help avoid those bad-for-them associations. A single person can only impose their will if the rest of the owners don't participate in the association's business. That doesn't make condos bad, that just means that those owners reaped the rewards of their indifference. I am continually amazed at the way some people will buy a condo because of the price or location without any consideration of the rules, operation, or even a basic understanding of the nature of condominium ownership.

Complaining about the color of doors or the pet policy only tells me that the person doing the complaining didn't bother to read the rules or didn't participate in the process (or didn't like the outcome) if the rule was changed. In other words, the wrong kind of person to buy a condo. However, these types of negatives can also be applied to house ownership. If you live in a HOA community, you still have rules which can seem overbearing to some. If you live in a non-HOA community, the guy who moves in next to you might be an idiot or decide to not maintain his property, etc. Every choice has pluses and minuses. Your decision on where to buy is based on those and your tolerance/preference for them.

As for renting vs. buying, there are plenty of online calculators out there to help you do an analysis. I have never met anyone who made money by "investing" in a lease. I do know many people who have made money as condo owners. Condo owners own their units just as much as house owners own theirs. They may not own the exterior but the unit is a place to live, it is able to be sold, and it is pretty much subject to the same market forces as a house.
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Old 03-11-2015, 11:27 AM
Location: Vero Beach, Fl
2,949 posts, read 12,191,131 times
Reputation: 2076
Here is my response from your original thread. Not certain if you revisited it or not.

I moved to Broward County from northern VA many years ago. You have to do your homework and speak to the condo board. If they don't give you the warm fuzzies, keep on moving. From a personal standpoint, I would stay away from condo living and opt for a patio home or single story townhome. Historically, condos in south Florida spell trouble. From an investment perspective, if you can buy something dirt cheap then maybe it's a good deal or if you are looking at the luxury market that's another story.

Condo docs aside, what are the financials? How much does the building have in reserves? Do they have loans? How many assessments have there been? What is the age of the building? Who is the management? How many renters versus owners occupy the units? By the time you finish doing all the research, a small single family home begins to look pretty appealing.

FYI - My husband is the president of a condo in Broward County. After seeing what he experiences on a weekly basis, there is no way I would ever live in a condo. This is an older condo. However, one of the newer +55 condos in our area was brand new a few years ago and it had to have a $1 million repair done on the exterior due to poor materials used on the exterior. Now that was an unexpected expense.
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