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Old 03-06-2014, 02:41 PM
 
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The more I see , the more I live this part of the county. Looked at two condos on , near ocean on gulf and gathering info. Rent it - use it option if funds allow. ?

Doe anyone on live in this immediate area and can advise pluses and negatives? Ty and DM me if u like.
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Old 03-06-2014, 11:01 PM
 
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I'm building a house in SPB right now and my inlaws have been condo shopping, so I've come up to speed on several of the buildings. I can tell you the first thing to watch out for is maintenance fees, especially if they're going towards amenities you don't care about. The lowest I've seen is $400/mo and I've seen upwards of $900/mo at some of the buildings that are not necessarily nicer but have lots of stuff like club house, multiple tennis courts, so on and so forth.

Of course, what goes along with maintenance fees, are the actual financial situations of the respective associations. There are some buildings on SPB that seem nice on the surface but then you realize the bulk of the units are rentals and rental owners never want to invest in the infrastructure unless forced to, so those buildings tend to run with razor thin reserves which means lots of special assessments and typically lacking in responsiveness from the management/maintenance team. Any building you consider, you should ask the selling realtor for the past few years association budgets and records of any special assessments. Also check for whether or not the unit has a washer/dryer; it's easy to overlook that fact since what kind of condo would not have one. Several of the buildings on SPB do not have them but instead of a common laundry on each floor, typically change operated.

Finally, nearly all SPB condos are old. Many are still under original ownership (or the children of deceased original owners) from the late 70's to early 80's when most of the buildings were built. This has lead to many of the units on the market being offered at unrealistic prices and so they sit. The owners think they're worth more even though it could easily cost $50k to $100k to update a 1980 condo to something reasonable for today. My inlaws put in an all cash as-is contract offer of $475k on a unit offered at $600k that had been on the market for almost a year. It was built in 1978 and had not been updated since; seriously, think shag carpet, yellow range and fluorescent ceiling lights. It would have easily taken $100k to make this into a modern condo, $600k would have been the second highest a unit had ever sold for in the building, and the one that was higher had been completed remodeled. They rejected it.

If you're patient and find a good building, I think ultimately you'll be able to get a unit for a reasonable price.

As far as SPB goes, I love it there. It's very relaxed, even when tourist season is in full swing. There are several good restaurants along Gulf Blvd. There are of course numerous beach bars of varying types that can meet pretty much anyone's preferences. My wife and I spend a lot of time at Bongos at the Grand Plaza. We always run into a random mix of locals and vacationers. Few weeks ago we met a local business owner and a group from Sweden; it's great to talk to people from all over and learn about their home states or countries. Even though it's of course catering to tourists, it feels a lot less touristy than Clearwater Beach.
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Old 03-06-2014, 11:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spbbound View Post

Finally, nearly all SPB condos are old. Many are still under original ownership (or the children of deceased original owners) from the late 70's to early 80's when most of the buildings were built. This has lead to many of the units on the market being offered at unrealistic prices and so they sit. The owners think they're worth more even though it could easily cost $50k to $100k to update a 1980 condo to something reasonable for today.

Wow, $50-$100K to update an 80's condo ?
Presuming it's unlikely to involve major structural changes that seems a huge amount to spend on cosmetic improvement ?
Paint the walls, put in a new floor and refurbing a kitchen and bathroom should cost far less than that.
Agree with you on the SPB vibe.I really like the retro feel of the place which is so different from some glass and steel modern resort.

Last edited by Roscoe Conkling; 03-07-2014 at 12:22 AM..
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Old 03-07-2014, 04:33 AM
 
1,698 posts, read 1,717,292 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spbbound View Post
I'm building a house in SPB right now and my inlaws have been condo shopping, so I've come up to speed on several of the buildings. I can tell you the first thing to watch out for is maintenance fees, especially if they're going towards amenities you don't care about. The lowest I've seen is $400/mo and I've seen upwards of $900/mo at some of the buildings that are not necessarily nicer but have lots of stuff like club house, multiple tennis courts, so on and so forth.

Of course, what goes along with maintenance fees, are the actual financial situations of the respective associations. There are some buildings on SPB that seem nice on the surface but then you realize the bulk of the units are rentals and rental owners never want to invest in the infrastructure unless forced to, so those buildings tend to run with razor thin reserves which means lots of special assessments and typically lacking in responsiveness from the management/maintenance team. Any building you consider, you should ask the selling realtor for the past few years association budgets and records of any special assessments. Also check for whether or not the unit has a washer/dryer; it's easy to overlook that fact since what kind of condo would not have one. Several of the buildings on SPB do not have them but instead of a common laundry on each floor, typically change operated.

Finally, nearly all SPB condos are old. Many are still under original ownership (or the children of deceased original owners) from the late 70's to early 80's when most of the buildings were built. This has lead to many of the units on the market being offered at unrealistic prices and so they sit. The owners think they're worth more even though it could easily cost $50k to $100k to update a 1980 condo to something reasonable for today. My inlaws put in an all cash as-is contract offer of $475k on a unit offered at $600k that had been on the market for almost a year. It was built in 1978 and had not been updated since; seriously, think shag carpet, yellow range and fluorescent ceiling lights. It would have easily taken $100k to make this into a modern condo, $600k would have been the second highest a unit had ever sold for in the building, and the one that was higher had been completed remodeled. They rejected it.

If you're patient and find a good building, I think ultimately you'll be able to get a unit for a reasonable price.

As far as SPB goes, I love it there. It's very relaxed, even when tourist season is in full swing. There are several good restaurants along Gulf Blvd. There are of course numerous beach bars of varying types that can meet pretty much anyone's preferences. My wife and I spend a lot of time at Bongos at the Grand Plaza. We always run into a random mix of locals and vacationers. Few weeks ago we met a local business owner and a group from Sweden; it's great to talk to people from all over and learn about their home states or countries. Even though it's of course catering to tourists, it feels a lot less touristy than Clearwater Beach.
Great post, full of help--thank you. Are your inlaws using a broker? I'm using Zillow, trulia at the moment but annoyed with the lack of info on these sites RE; HOA fees. grrrrrrr.
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:55 AM
 
819 posts, read 1,098,448 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roscoe Conkling View Post
Wow, $50-$100K to update an 80's condo ?
Presuming it's unlikely to involve major structural changes that seems a huge amount to spend on cosmetic improvement ?
Paint the walls, put in a new floor and refurbing a kitchen and bathroom should cost far less than that.
Agree with you on the SPB vibe.I really like the retro feel of the place which is so different from some glass and steel modern resort.
That estimate was a real one based on a 1600 sq ft property in SPB. You could of course get by with lower end materials but people buying what would be a $600k property have an expectation of high end, and consistency throughout; i.e. not leaving some rooms undone. Here's an example of how that estimate was derived:

  • $6k - demolition of kitchen (remove wall, remove all appliances, remove lighting fixtures, remove all cabinets, remove the closet that has no purpose), one of the three hall closets, master bath (because its walls are covered in avocado ceramic tiles, the floor is equally ugly 'fashionable' 1980's tile, the massive master closet so master bath can expand, guest bath (same issues as master bath).
  • $13k - install new fridge, induction cook top, in-wall oven, dishwasher, garbage disposal, in-wall microwave.
  • $10k - new cabinets for kitchen, master bath and guest bath.
  • $6k - granite for kitchen, master bath and guest bath.
  • $12k - marble floors throughout.
  • $15k - three large missile rated miami dade certified hurricane sliding doors, 12' width 8' height, for the exits from living to balcony, master to balcony, and guest to its separate balcony. Necessary both because the existing sliders are from 1978 and falling apart, and because the roll down hurricane shutters that were installed in the 80's are also failing.
  • $15k - general labor to rebuild the rooms that were demo'd, scrape the popcorn ceilings, paint, etc.
  • $5k bathroom fixtures, showers/tubs, etc.
  • $2k new lighting
  • $2k remove hurricane shutters
  • $3k re-tile outside balconies
That's $89k to turn a 1978 model into a 2014 model with high end materials throughout and doors that let you enjoy watching a storm roll in instead of having to roll the hurricane shutters down, if they're working, because your doors are incapable of keeping water from blown rain out. I gave the $50k variance because obviously some of that may not be necessary from one condo to the next, but still would easily be $50k if the unit is more than 20 years old, which every unit on SPB is, and you want modern.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 071402 View Post
Great post, full of help--thank you. Are your inlaws using a broker? I'm using Zillow, trulia at the moment but annoyed with the lack of info on these sites RE; HOA fees. grrrrrrr.
Unfortunately I think you'll find most SPB realtors are as laid back and casual as the city itself. While we were looking for a lot or tear down, we worked with five different realtors on the selling side and were not impressed with most of them. It was difficult to get responses to questions in under a couple days, slow to respond to emails, lack of attention to detail, so on and so forth. I felt like half of them had some other revenue stream, probably because the movement in SPB is not huge, so carving out a little time for their side real estate thing wasn't high on the priority list. We didn't use a broker on the buying side, just Zillow and driving around to find places, and a real estate attorney to handle the contract. My inlaws are using a broker on the buying side since Zillow has its shortcomings when condos are involved, as you're finding out. I can message you her info if you like; I actually referred them to her because she was the one realtor we dealt with that was actually very responsive and focused.
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Old 03-07-2014, 08:32 AM
 
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spbound: i sort of figured as much. Would love a message from you on who they use and etc.

Do you or anyone know of a good website with ACTUAL HOA FEES listed for the area? I keep calling on or emailing re; the lack of info -- they're actually posting the HOA as zero, when it's definitely NOT zero, on many sites. Sigh. thanks
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:19 AM
 
5,608 posts, read 2,663,259 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spbbound View Post
That estimate was a real one based on a 1600 sq ft property in SPB. You could of course get by with lower end materials but people buying what would be a $600k property have an expectation of high end, and consistency throughout; i.e. not leaving some rooms undone. Here's an example of how that estimate was derived:

  • $6k - demolition of kitchen (remove wall, remove all appliances, remove lighting fixtures, remove all cabinets, remove the closet that has no purpose), one of the three hall closets, master bath (because its walls are covered in avocado ceramic tiles, the floor is equally ugly 'fashionable' 1980's tile, the massive master closet so master bath can expand, guest bath (same issues as master bath).
  • $13k - install new fridge, induction cook top, in-wall oven, dishwasher, garbage disposal, in-wall microwave.
  • $10k - new cabinets for kitchen, master bath and guest bath.
  • $6k - granite for kitchen, master bath and guest bath.
  • $12k - marble floors throughout.
  • $15k - three large missile rated miami dade certified hurricane sliding doors, 12' width 8' height, for the exits from living to balcony, master to balcony, and guest to its separate balcony. Necessary both because the existing sliders are from 1978 and falling apart, and because the roll down hurricane shutters that were installed in the 80's are also failing.
  • $15k - general labor to rebuild the rooms that were demo'd, scrape the popcorn ceilings, paint, etc.
  • $5k bathroom fixtures, showers/tubs, etc.
  • $2k new lighting
  • $2k remove hurricane shutters
  • $3k re-tile outside balconies
That's $89k to turn a 1978 model into a 2014 model with high end materials throughout and doors that let you enjoy watching a storm roll in instead of having to roll the hurricane shutters down, if they're working, because your doors are incapable of keeping water from blown rain out. I gave the $50k variance because obviously some of that may not be necessary from one condo to the next, but still would easily be $50k if the unit is more than 20 years old, which every unit on SPB is, and you want modern.
I've no doubt it's a real quote but anyone paying that money for that work needs their head examined.
SIX grand just to remove closets and,I presume, a non load-bearing wall ? I could round up a couple of guys from my local bar tonight and they'd have the job done this weekend for a grand.
TWO GRAND just to remove some hurricane shutters ??? TWO GRAND ???

Seriously,though, 89K for that amount of work is criminal. I hope whoever got the estimate found two or three others as well.

I suppose it depends whether a person simply wants to write a cheque and walk into a transformed condo or goes out and buys the materials and goods themselves and pay somebody to do the work. I know I could that job for 40% less than the estimate and still make a good profit.

There's one born every day.
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Old 03-07-2014, 10:09 AM
 
819 posts, read 1,098,448 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 071402 View Post
spbound: i sort of figured as much. Would love a message from you on who they use and etc.

Do you or anyone know of a good website with ACTUAL HOA FEES listed for the area? I keep calling on or emailing re; the lack of info -- they're actually posting the HOA as zero, when it's definitely NOT zero, on many sites. Sigh. thanks
I'll shoot you a message.

Zillow rarely has the HOA fees, typically you need to see the MLS listing to get that, unless you want to do the homework on your own. A lot of that stuff is public record if you can figure out the formal business name of the condo association, then you can pull up their bylaws online.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roscoe Conkling View Post
I've no doubt it's a real quote but anyone paying that money for that work needs their head examined.
SIX grand just to remove closets and,I presume, a non load-bearing wall ? I could round up a couple of guys from my local bar tonight and they'd have the job done this weekend for a grand.
TWO GRAND just to remove some hurricane shutters ??? TWO GRAND ???

Seriously,though, 89K for that amount of work is criminal. I hope whoever got the estimate found two or three others as well.

I suppose it depends whether a person simply wants to write a cheque and walk into a transformed condo or goes out and buys the materials and goods themselves and pay somebody to do the work. I know I could that job for 40% less than the estimate and still make a good profit.

There's one born every day.
Without knowing the intracicies of the condo, it seems like you're just arguing about it for the sake of arguing. I was going to detail out some of the issues more but decided it's kind of a pointless debate, my 70 year old father in law doesn't want the hassle of rounding up some unlicensed contractors from the local bar to do work on the side, go to a bunch of contractor warehouses to buy materials, supervise their work himself, so on and so forth; he wants to buy a 1980's condo, write a check, and then walk into a unit that looks like the entire unit was constructed in 2014. He also wants a true GC who will pull proper permits, has insurance, can be held liable for any issues and who will correct any imperfections; not someone you have to pay in cash and have no hope of tracking down.
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Old 03-07-2014, 03:06 PM
 
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Thanks again SPbound. I'm crazy about the beach area there, (shhhhhh…?) as well as downtown and old northeast and nearby. It just gets better and better. Now onto finding some work- for one of us -(cross fingers) in this part of Fl.
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Old 03-07-2014, 03:10 PM
 
5,608 posts, read 2,663,259 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spbbound View Post
I'll shoot you a message.

Zillow rarely has the HOA fees, typically you need to see the MLS listing to get that, unless you want to do the homework on your own. A lot of that stuff is public record if you can figure out the formal business name of the condo association, then you can pull up their bylaws online.



Without knowing the intracicies of the condo, it seems like you're just arguing about it for the sake of arguing. I was going to detail out some of the issues more but decided it's kind of a pointless debate, my 70 year old father in law doesn't want the hassle of rounding up some unlicensed contractors from the local bar to do work on the side, go to a bunch of contractor warehouses to buy materials, supervise their work himself, so on and so forth; he wants to buy a 1980's condo, write a check, and then walk into a unit that looks like the entire unit was constructed in 2014. He also wants a true GC who will pull proper permits, has insurance, can be held liable for any issues and who will correct any imperfections; not someone you have to pay in cash and have no hope of tracking down.

In that case your father-in-law should write the cheque and enjoy the result.
And welcome to capitalaism baby.
I'm not trolling but just trying to offer some information to people on here looking to turn a buck on a condo but don't have 90K to spend.
In the last 5 years I've converted a Sarasota condo and a hovel just outside Key West.
Neither of them cost $89K.
Just saying.
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