Tips for Purchasing an Oceanfront Condo in South Florida

Picture of Author: Rich Barnhart

Author: Rich Barnhart

Welcome Friends to South Florida! This winter has been especially cold this year and we’ve had a lot of buyers coming into the market. Typically we have renters coming down for 3 to 6 months each year but with prices leveling off and the winters getting colder up North many people are ready to buy that oceanfront condo they have always wanted. I get a lot of questions from out of state buyers and buyers from other countries. They all want the best “Deal”. I have come up with some answers to frequently asked questions as well as some tips for helping you get a good deal when purchasing your waterfront vacation property.                                                                                              

Beachfront Condos in Lauderdale-by-the-SeaMost importantly find a good REALTOR®. Internet web sites (like ours) are a good place to start your search, but once you have a good idea of the area that you want to be in contact a local REALTOR® with experience in selling condos on the beach. There are hundreds of beachfront condo buildings in South Florida. It is important to talk with your REALTOR® and let her know what features and amenities are important to you. Especially if you plan on bringing your furry friend along with you on vacation. Many condo buildings do not allow pets.

Next you should decide whether or not you are interested in renting your unit when you are not using it. Some buildings do not allow rentals. Most do but there are restrictions on how often you can rent as well as the minimum term of the lease. Discuss this ahead of time so your REALTOR® can confirm that the rental policy works for you. Once you find the buildings that suit your basic interests then you can start to look at the available units.

Determine a price range that works for you. You can always increase or decrease the price as you start looking. Many factors come into play when determining asking price and market value. Your REALTOR® will be your local expert and help guide you through the process. Some things to consider when looking at different units in the same building:

  • Units with the same square footage will often sell for very different prices in the same building.
  • The location of the unit in the building is often called the “stack”. For example units ending with 01, or 02 etc are considered to be in the “01 stack or the 02 stack”. Some stacks have more value than others in the same building. Here in South Florida the most desirable units are typically on the South and East sides of the building. They will generally sell for more money that units on the North and West sides of the building even though they may be the same size.
  • Also, units on higher floors typically will sell for more money because the views are usually better as you go up higher. After all, everyone wants to enjoy a big ocean view from their balcony!

When you find a unit that you like your Realtor will pull up the most recent sales in that building to help determine the offer price and the market value. With so many buildings offering so many different amenities the best comparable sales are usually in the building that you will be purchasing in. I like to have my buyers keep in mind what the most recent sales are and not necessarily what the list price is. Some sellers will price their unit high with room to negotiate and some will price it closer to market value and may not want to negotiate. Don’t feel like you’re not getting a good deal if the seller won’t negotiate. That unit may be priced just right for the market. If you like it …buy it. I’ve seen quite a few buyers who missed out on a great unit because the seller wouldn’t negotiate even though the unit was priced well for the market. Those buyers usually ended up paying more money later for something else.

Most importantly always remember… finding your oceanfront condo should be FUN! Working with a professional REALTOR® can help you find what your looking for faster and help get you the best price. Happy Hunting!

Contact Susan for more information on buying oceanfront condos.


Blog Author:

Rich Barnhart

Rich is the broker and owner of By The Sea Realty and a frequent contributor to the company's real estate blog.

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