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Old 09-25-2007, 09:42 PM
 
Location: Reality
1,050 posts, read 1,250,398 times
Reputation: 251

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Hi everyone, I'm looking to buy a home for my first time.

I'm pretty young and don't plan on starting a family in the next 3+ years. I may have to move in 4-5 years. If I move, I'd likely not sell the place because I love Miami and want to come back often.

SFH
I like the idea of my first home being a SFH, but the level of maintenance required might not be for me. It'd be difficult to maintain the yard especially if I'm out of town for months at a time? On top of that I've been hearing that insurance and maintenance fees are ridiculous, it might not be worth the high insurance fees?

Condo
A condo may be a good choice. Last week there were new 1/1 downtown condos auctioned for 180k's. And the other day I saw some guy with a banner for 1/1 condos going for 139k on Biscayne Blvd. The only hindrance is

1: My preference not to live in a building with too many people.


2: HOA fees. Some condos, the fees are ridiculous -- even higher than my current rent! Homeowner’s insurance factors into the HOA fee right? I suppose I could find a small condo with low HOA fees. HOA fees can be increased arbitrarily or are there laws to limit its increase? Having to pay HOA fees just feels like paying rent...

Townhouse
Currently, I'm leaning more towards a townhouse without HOA fees. Is there a reason I'm missing why most townhouses have HOA fees? Maybe I just have to find townhouses without community pools and lawns. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

I'll likely really start home-hunting in 2008, sooner or later depending on the market. So at this point, I am trying to formulate what would be best for me. There are variables I haven't even considered due to my lack of experience. Thank you in advance for your insights and experience.
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Old 09-26-2007, 06:36 AM
 
2,143 posts, read 5,297,028 times
Reputation: 1076
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hero View Post
Hi everyone, I'm looking to buy a home for my first time.

I'm pretty young and don't plan on starting a family in the next 3+ years. I may have to move in 4-5 years. If I move, I'd likely not sell the place because I love Miami and want to come back often.

SFH
I like the idea of my first home being a SFH, but the level of maintenance required might not be for me. It'd be difficult to maintain the yard especially if I'm out of town for months at a time? On top of that I've been hearing that insurance and maintenance fees are ridiculous, it might not be worth the high insurance fees?

Condo
A condo may be a good choice. Last week there were new 1/1 downtown condos auctioned for 180k's. And the other day I saw some guy with a banner for 1/1 condos going for 139k on Biscayne Blvd. The only hindrance is

1: My preference not to live in a building with too many people.


2: HOA fees. Some condos, the fees are ridiculous -- even higher than my current rent! Homeowner’s insurance factors into the HOA fee right? I suppose I could find a small condo with low HOA fees. HOA fees can be increased arbitrarily or are there laws to limit its increase? Having to pay HOA fees just feels like paying rent...

Townhouse
Currently, I'm leaning more towards a townhouse without HOA fees. Is there a reason I'm missing why most townhouses have HOA fees? Maybe I just have to find townhouses without community pools and lawns. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

I'll likely really start home-hunting in 2008, sooner or later depending on the market. So at this point, I am trying to formulate what would be best for me. There are variables I haven't even considered due to my lack of experience. Thank you in advance for your insights and experience.
A townhouse is a decent option. Unlike a condo, you actually own the land the townhouse is on, and you have no one above or below you. The common land is not owned communally, like a condo, but is owned by the association, of which you are a member.

HOA fees pay for all the common elements, roads, pools, maintenance, and usually the insurance on the exterior of your home. There is also liability insurance and state required reserves for repairs. That's what HOA fees are for.
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Old 09-26-2007, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Cooper City, FL
355 posts, read 1,055,958 times
Reputation: 92
I think you should go for a townhouse. It was the first home my husband purchased. He actually lived in one without a HOA, in Palm Springs North, just off 77 Ct and 176 St. The only downside is that without a HOA everyone took varied care of their home, some better than others. Also, these homes were behind an old shopping center, not so desireable, except they are on a canal. Anyhow, good luck in your search.
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Old 09-26-2007, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Coral Springs
96 posts, read 233,272 times
Reputation: 23
I recommend you get a condo that you could use later for rental income. If you don't like big buildings with lots of people, look for some of the smaller slightly older units near popular areas such as SB or CG. That way, you can rent it later on. At a younger age, I don't recommend spending too much on housing. Instead, work on saving a bit so you can later buy a home with a decent down payment.
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Old 09-28-2007, 04:26 PM
 
Location: Heartland Florida
8,525 posts, read 16,554,607 times
Reputation: 4017
Best bet, leave Miami and go somewhere that you can actually afford to live in a decent area. You can come back after the future hurricane decimates the city and get a fantastic deal! Don't waste your best years in Miami.
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Old 09-28-2007, 05:04 PM
 
Location: Fort Lauderdale
423 posts, read 1,054,646 times
Reputation: 82
I suggest going for a TH as well since it offer best of both world. Less maintenance, lower HOA fees, yet a lot more freedom than condos. As some one already mentioned, you always use it as a rental down the road.
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Old 05-04-2010, 01:24 PM
 
1 posts, read 3,085 times
Reputation: 10
I live in a townhouse in Pompano Beach, and the maintenance is to high..I would like to know what I can do to control the cost, or lower the cost.
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Old 05-04-2010, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Broward County
2,519 posts, read 7,158,714 times
Reputation: 1216
I would only get a townhouse in an established area. Forget the new construction ones that were built in the past 3-4 years. Chances are there will be more and more foreclosues that will only drive up the cost of the HOA. That is why ultimately, I would recommend a single family home in an established area with NO HOA. I have owned two houses in the past....both in HOA's....and I also lived in a condo with an HOA. I went through many dissapointments regarding the HOA's.....their stupid special assessments (1,000 due within 90 days on TOP of the regular monthly HOA fee's), their stupid rules and their failed promises to keep the property and grounds clean. The condo I lived at in coral springs, the gym equipment would always get busted by teenagers....they put a sign up stating that if the equipment breaks, they will not fix it. Ok...so why was I paying a 350/month HOA fee for then ? For them to cut the grass once in a while ? The lights on the tennis courts were always broken...replaced...broken again and never fixed. Access to the tennis courts was another nightmare....gates were locked to try to keep teenagers away. When I lived in Miramar, there was supposed to be a guard at the gate...the guard was never there and the gates were stuck in the open position because people would keep tailgating and break the plastic gate arms. That's how HOA's typically deal with problems....they circumvent trying to find a solution by choosing the easiest route. That route has never meant tackling the problem head on and dealing with it. They inconvenience all homeowners....the executive boards love to pocket money....most are dishonest from my experience....and if you don't pay any special assessments or are late on your HOA payment, they threaten you with a lien. HOA's are a joke and I am so glad I am not part of one anymore. I encourage people to not settle and try their best to stay away from HOA's.

Here is a good warning article to let you know what your getting yourself into if you choose to have an HOA dictate how you should live :

http://realestate.msn.com/article.as...entid=13107752

some more horror stories :

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/real...n-or-hell.aspx

and 10 things an HOA won't tell you :

http://finance.yahoo.com/loans/artic...#39;t_Tell_You

There is plenty of more info about HOA's....just do a search on google for HOA nightmares, HOA horror stories, HOA problems...you will see page after page after page.

Buyer beware !

Last edited by heydade; 05-04-2010 at 07:12 PM.. Reason: more info
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Old 05-05-2010, 02:16 AM
r_k
 
Location: Planet Earth
773 posts, read 1,013,991 times
Reputation: 387
My .02: First decide where you want to live, then worry about what type of unit. For example, if you want to live downtown, or SoBe, then a house makes little sense, and if you plan to live in Kendall then a tall building doesn't.

From your desciption it would seem that a Townhome would be a good compromise. It has the benefits of a house, such as no one below or above you, and of a tall buolding, such as exterior maintenance. But keep in mind it is a compromise, so there are downsides as others have mentioned. For example, most townhomes are part of an HOA, so you pay a fee over which you may lose control if enough co-owners go delinquent. At the same time they don't have the same amenities of a tall building, such as pool, 24 hr security, view etc. Still, given that you are away a lot, it may be the sensible option for you. Typically the hoa fee includes insurance for the structure, i.e. the walls. You still have to get homeowners insurance to cover the interior and contents, plus liability.

No matter which way you go, do your own homework, such as tracking similar properties, studying neighborhoods etc. Don't be in a hurry, don't buy more than you can afford, and never trust anything unless it's officially in writing and signed. Location and price are critical when buying real estate.

Good luck.
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