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Non Vegas condo advice needed

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Chat' started by Joe, Feb 15, 2014.

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  1. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    OK, this winter has done me in. We are going to sell the house that sits on 2.5 acres and we are looking at condos. Then, we are going to look at becoming snowbirds and get the hell out of here during the winter. Ken2v need not reply.:peace:

    Besides the obvious, like condo fees, what things do I need to look for in purchasing a condo? I've only owned single family homes since 1978. I would think a lot of the same due diligence I have done on any previous home purchase, but are there gotchas with a condo that I need to watch out for?

    I know...VMB is not the place for financial, real estate advice etc, but there are some very sharp board members, so any input is appreciated. I do have a reliable broker we have worked with many times in the past.

    Only 5 inches of snow expected tonight.
     
    Christmas
  2. UTE

    UTE Plastics

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    Sounds like you know what you're getting into. But, I'll throw in what may be relevant. I looked at condos in several warm weather locations and settled on Las Vegas.

    One of the things to look for is that the HOA has built up a healthy reserve or emergency fund. You don't want to be hit with special assessments to replace expensive things like pools and roofs because the HOA did not plan ahead.

    Obviously, a new condo won't have built up reserve funds yet. In that case, you want to buy into an HOA that will have enough members to contribute. Some new developments in FL and CA suffered for years because they did not have enough occupancy to even pay for ongoing maintenance, nonetheless major repairs.

    One of the perks of buying a condo in a resort or tourist-type city is a significant portion of listings are "turn key." Sellers are often willing to leave most everything in place as part of the sale (or as a separate agreement).

    Bill
     
  3. chess

    chess VIP Whale

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    Joe: I can put you in touch with a pretty legit realtor that wont rake you over the coals.... She does alot of work in North Dakota as thats where she is based but she does alot of selling in Vegas too... Let me know... I will ask her to take care of you and she will just do that....

    Just let me know :) :thumbsup:

    Another option is ask paperposter... he lives in Vegas and can probably give a damn good insight !!
     
  4. 4Eyes

    4Eyes Low-Roller

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    Condo Associations are notorious for having gadfly members that aspire to run for public office but are so out of the mainstream that they are unelectable. If one of them gets elected to your condo board, good luck.

    If you are looking to buy a condo, the best way to evaluate the association leadership is to look at the recent history of Association dues increases and the Association's Reserve Analysis.
     
  5. squidward

    squidward Probationary Member

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    Joe

    I have a nice Barn with an air-conditioned apartment in South Texas. I can make you a deal on it. No dishwasher, no satellite TV, no Internet, no heat, no carpet... oh yea, no snow and no condo fees!

    Great view and it comes with an 6" Aeromotor windmill!

    OK; this is my "man-hut" where I go to right-up my trip-reports and stuff... but seriously I will sell it!

    P.S. - My dog loves hanging out there... but my wife hates it?
     
  6. Guardian

    Guardian Low-Roller

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    I'm on the same wavelength as you Joe. Social Security comes next January and I'm getting me a nice warm winter home.
     
  7. Julie888

    Julie888 High-Roller

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    I've thought a bit about condos too.

    Adult only?

    Where I live, there's one place that seems to have numerous signs up. Someone suggested it was because of lack of insulation for noise issues. Worth 'listening' into.

    Safety re fire. I watch the tv news and see condos going up in flames because of one careless person.

    Read the minutes from the annual meetings carefully. What's not said can be indicative of problems or that there are none.
     
  8. RebelDiceMan

    RebelDiceMan High-Roller

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    Oddly enough, we closed on a condo in Biloxi, MS. yesterday. As others have pointed out, you have to look beyond just the price you pay for the property. Your first thing to check is how much the HOA charges you. We found a pretty wide range in the ones we were considering. Check into the HOA dues history for regular or recent increases, any special assessments, and the cash reserves that the HOA holds. The cash reserves impacted our decision a good deal. One of our two finalists had less than 100K in reserve while the other had over a million dollars in reserve. We wound up buying a unit in the second property.

    Your personal preferences will dictate what is important to you as far as things like pools, club rooms, excercise rooms, etc. For us, a nice view of the Gulf was a priority. We will be happy gazing at the water from our 12th floor balcony. We originally started looking at properties from Panama City,FL. to Pass Christian, MS. almost two years ago. Even after we had narrowed things down to 5 or 6 properties, the amenities available at the different properties had a good deal of variety from property to property.

    Something else to consider it the ratio of owners who live on property vs owners who do not. The ones who do not are usually investors who will be renting their unit as often as possible to generate income. A high percentage of owners who do not live on property usually means there will be more visitors coming and going. Those visitors will often be bringing children with them. A lot of renters will increase the noise levels around the common areas such as club rooms and pools. In extreme cases, they can raise the noise levels in the actual living areas. OTOH- a high percentage of on-site owners can make a property seem a little quiet without a lot of action going on. You will have to decide which way you want to lean on something like that.

    One thing about condo fires. That might depend on the type condo that you get into. The one we just bought is solid concrete for floor, roof, and walls. It has a built in sprinkler system in all units. Other than a fire in our own unit, I don't worry too much about a fire spreading to us from another unit.

    There is more but I am about half brain dead from our trip to buy the condo. As you might imagine, we put in some casino time the night before the closing.

    Good Luck in your looking.
     
  9. UTE

    UTE Plastics

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    Yes. High rise condo units have built in sprinkler systems, live monitoring, and staff on duty 24/7. That makes them much safer than standard housing - not more dangerous. My condo insurance is ridiculously low due to the security and safety measures built in.

    In mpst states, condo units that are built in clusters with 1 or 2 levels do not have the same safety standards as high rises.

    Bill
     
  10. jerseyguy

    jerseyguy VIP Whale

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    Have you thought about renting vs. owning?

    More stuff you own =more problems you have. Or do like me ,mooch off friends always inviting us to visit them in their winter homes.
     
  11. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    We have found that we are the worst house guests ever. We are just so terribly uncomfortable staying at someone's house. It's just not in our nature. Give us a hotel!

    OTOH, my SIL comes and stays with us once a year in summer and can make herself so at home, it is unbelievable.
     
    Christmas
  12. bardolator

    bardolator Lifelong Low Roller

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    If you have time and opportunity, try renting a unit for a month or more in a place you think you would like. In that time, keep your eyes and ears open. Try to get to know people who are active in the HOA so you can see how the wind blows. Some associations, especially some in vacation areas where owners are not onsite all year, have pocket dictators who establish little fiefdoms and control everything through proxies.

    Get a copy of the association rules and look for things that would irritate you, permit abuse by a dictator or oligarchy, or cost a lot of money- not just the monthly maintenance, but annual fees and other assessments, bullshit regulations, you name it. Maybe ask a local expert's opinion. See what rules might exist regarding rentals. You don't want a series of weekly idiot renters whooping it up next door.

    Talk to people to see how well their condos are holding up. Do they have cheap, crappy heating systems, plumbing or electrical problems, etc? Here in Florida, the workmanship in some condos is abysmal. Others are okay. Look at how well the common areas are maintained.

    Get a little nosey and also look online to establish what would be fair market value for various condo sizes, layouts, and locations where you want to buy. Prices can vary a lot depending on timing and circumstances.
     
  13. techie223

    techie223 High-Roller

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    Lots of really good advice on here concerning reserve funds, and finding out exactly what your HOA fees cover.

    I don't know how things compare in the US, but in Canada condo purchasing and regulatory laws change significantly between provinces, and can be quite different from those concerning houses. I recommend finding a realtor and/or lawyer that specializes in condos.
     
  14. jerseyguy

    jerseyguy VIP Whale

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    We dont do that too often either

    Mostly its a guy golf and fishing deal ,guys seem to get along fine doing these kind of things . A lot of people where I live are snowbirds,I'd guess 50/50 owners and renters. Some do that Florida residency thing for tax purposes, lucky me,I dont have enough money to bother doing that. I go along with the poster who said you should consider renting in an area to get a feel for the place . A lot of the people here get together in FL during the winter ,and theres a group who rent in Myrtle Beach so they can play golf together. I honestly dont mind winter all that much,between all the amenities we have in the clubhouse here and AC,we keep busy.
     
  15. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Man, I have a good bit of thoughts and advice that might be helpful, but since you don't want my input … :thumbs down:

    Great depths of sadness.
     
  16. Viva Las Vegas

    Viva Las Vegas Ramblin' Gamblin' Man

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    I can't think of another scenario beyond senility where I would purchase another condo.

    Pros:
    - Cheaper price of entry.

    Cons:
    - Condo home values = Condo values are the first to fall and last to recover in any market.

    - Condo rules/regulations = A longtime homeowner with the independence to do what they wanted to their home may have trouble abiding by rules and regulations and also priorities of how to spend your assessment money beyond standard maintenance and repairs.

    - Condo renter risks - Dealing with bad tenants, losing the ability of potential purchasers from financing via an FHA mortgage (which mandates a high home owner occupancy rate among several considerations), which most mortgages are financed with circa 2014. It doesn't matter if you can purchase via cash - it's likely the persons most attracted (based on cheap price of entry) will need a mortgage.
     
  17. donfairplay

    donfairplay Low-Roller

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    One thing about condos that I didn't see mentioned in the thread yet: end of life for the condo building.

    There was a thread on fatwallet: Useful life of mid and high rise condos?

    I'll summarize because its way too long - there was a $60,000 HOA assessment leveled against every condo owner for concrete spall and sewer drain line repair. Essentially its a dead building, at age 45, and since most owners don't have a spare $60k lying around, its in lawsuit-ville.

    People (potentially) lost every dollar in equity; can't sell it, can't repair it. Beware fat-tail risk.
     
  18. captainron62

    captainron62 VIP Whale

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    VIVA touched on this,but I wanted to offer the point of FHA financing eligibility. The FHA publishes a list of condos that they have approved for FHA financing. FHA takes into account the health of the property as far as occupancy and foreclosure rate goes.

    My real job is a mortgage broker and you can't imagine how important this is for resale and value. A condo that is "FHA eligible" will always sell faster and retain more value than one that does not. It is also nice to know you aren't in a foreclosure rampant complex.

    This of course does not apply if you are looking north of 400K.
     
  19. hammie

    hammie VIP Whale

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    Wow, that was a scary read. I have heard of similar special assessments at a few condos at the Jersey Shore. In one case, a mid rise property had to replace all of the Dryvit stucco after about 15 years, there was a special assessment of around $25,000 per unit. Heard of another condo association having three special assessments due to unplanned maintenance totaling about $30,000.

    My mother lived in a townhouse development of about 30 homes, but it was more like a condo form of ownership. Her unit was built on a slab, yet a few others had basements. When foundation problems developed with the homes with basements, there was a $6,000 special assessment on every property.

    I owned a condo years ago and had it rented out, my tenants turned out to be dirt balls with a kid who wore the same bathing suit day and night the whole summer came to the pool without parents (not permitted) and I was constantly getting complaint letters from the HOA. Had an incident with trash and recycling that was right out of Alice's Restaurant, complete with the 8x10 glossies.

    Then there's "over 55" communities to consider. I'm sure there are good ones, but I am concerned about resale and limiting the potential pool of buyers in the future.
     
  20. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Hey, Joe, I have a tee time at 12:30, and one spot open. Looks like 72 today. Come on over. And man did we have fun in wine country this weekend. Glad I had sunscreen on. Phew.

    :thumbsup:
     
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