What to Look For & Avoid When Buying a Fort Lauderdale Condo

37: For many people, buying a beachfront condominium from Fort Lauderdale to Pompano Beach is about owning a piece of paradise. These condos on the sand, as well as waterfront single-family, duplex, and triplex residences bring to life the allure of tropical living. They’re vibrant destinations, with countless restaurants, retailers, and lively pedestrian promenades in safe communities.

Today, as in generations past, we’re seeing people from the Northeast flock to Greater Fort Lauderdale’s prime markets. These buyers include people from the Northeast U.S., including New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, Canada’s eastern provinces, Latin America, even Europe or any other vital tourism and home-buyer feeder markets.

As we’ve written previously, buyers are reaping significant financial benefits in an appreciating market. They’re flocking to the market because of the value opportunities from properties that aren’t as expensive as beachfront properties in other markets.

Your Fort Lauderdale Condominium Expert Realtor

So if you want to sell or buy a new condo, we have the products in the right markets. Sure, places like Lake Ridge, The Corals of Oakland Park, North Andrews Gardens, or Bay Colony and Wilton Manors remain prime neighborhoods. At The Gary Lanham Group at Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach Office, we have worked to place excited new homeowners in all these communities. We’re also experts buying a condo in such areas as Coral Ridge, Coral Ridge Country Club, The Landings, Imperial Point, Coral Ridge Isles, and Oakland Park, and Santa Barbara Shores in Pompano Beach.

But what’s driving the continued passion for beachfront condominium living, especially in the Pompano Beach market? In a recent blog post and video on the Gary Lanham Group social media, we explored the convergence of two important forces.

First, we delved into the attraction of the 2019 Pompano Beach housing market as a South Florida waterfront or beachfront condominium, single family, duplex, or triplex marketplace. No Broward County community can exceed Pompano Beach as a prime coastal town. If you want a neighborhood combining lifestyle, entertainment, dining, and beautiful living, Pompano Beach is unrivaled.

The second force was the compelling argument behind buying a residential property for purposes of investment and retirement planning. Those families who bought in Pompano Beach anytime since the 1950s and even into the 2000s have seen a significant appreciation in their asset value.

The same can be said throughout the greater Fort Lauderdale real estate market. Home values have returned with vigor since the Great Recession of 2008. They continue to climb.

Looking beyond that Beautiful Pompano Beach Scenery

In this video, broadcasting again from a beautiful, waterfront condominium in Pompano Beach, this time we’re exploring condo living beyond the beachfront scenery. We’re looking into some of the details that go into condo life.

Condominium finances and considerations go well beyond the listing price, offer, closing price, or monthly maintenance fees. To navigate this unknown, it’s important to have a Fort Lauderdale Realtor at your side who knows what questions to ask, and what answers are acceptable in current market conditions.

Together, ask these questions before buying a new condo...

First, what is the 40-year review plan for the building? Condominiums are proud, strong buildings built to withstand the elements and sustain their beauty and structure. However, like anything built by man, they need upkeep. And that costs money. If the condominium you are contemplating buying was built any time before the 1980s, even the early 1990s, considerable financial considerations come into play.

On the short list are such questions as:

  • Has impact glass been installed to help prevent damage in the event of a hurricane or other tropical disturbance?
  • Has the fire alarm warning system and sprinkler system been upgraded to current, modern code?
  • Are the balconies, including the concrete flooring and metal railing, been maintained or upgraded?
  • Has the building’s overall aesthetics been modernized?

The ocean is a relentless, damaging force. Though beautiful to see, smell, and feel on the skin, the sea and salt air are corrosive. Their effects on concrete, stone, and especially all kinds of metal can cause untold damage. Therefore, upkeep is a frequent necessity. Replacement falls into that 40-year review plan, assuming conditions and decay don’t warrant more frequent attention.

Such repairs can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. These proceeds will come from the building’s maintenance set-aside or reserves. This often is money that has been saved over the years for just such repair work.

Necessary Beachfront Condo Upgrades vs Modernizing

This doesn’t include any modernizing or refreshing owners may want or need to perform on a private unit’s interior when buying a condo. Replacing carpeting with tile creates one floor covering throughout the residence. Buying modern appliances and updating the kitchen and bathrooms for older units for many is a must before taking occupancy. Are your finances prepared?

Remedying the damage done by corrosive air, though normal “wear and tear,” is just one possibility. Fire alarms and sprinklers in older buildings, though seemingly in perfect working order, may not meet modern building codes. Zoning changes and public safety concerns often cannot be “put off” until a later date. And they should be written into the building’s or association’s 40-year review plan.

Second, as an owner hoping to sell your condominium, you should disclose to your Realtor where you are in the building’s current 40-year review plan. You also should discuss your commitment to the  plan. Have there been any changes that you will need to accommodate? Have assessments been discussed or levied?  You’ll want your realtor to be your best advocate as you negotiate what final expenses are yours versus the new owners.

Third, what upgrades have you done to improve your condo? How was the flooring laid or other insulation installed to improve acoustics in the unit? Extra flooring laminate underlayment or concrete can help with soundproofing, as can insurance sprayed around water or plumbing pipes. These are especially important to residents who hope to use a unit full time. The sounds of neighbors or your own plumbing can become a nuisance that’s not easily remedied.

Older Condos and ADA Compliance

Fourth, are emergency access and power generation up to date. As baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 age, they become more reliant on conveniences they might not have needed when they were younger. In the event of a storm, an emergency power generator can guarantee the building has power to run the air conditioning or lights. That power also can ensure the elevator remains working in the aftermath of a story; this is especially important to able-bodied residents on higher floors or the disabled on any floor.

Moreover, have doorways, hallyways, and elevators been remediated for Americans with Disability Act compliance?

These are often overlooked considerations when buying a condo that should be on the top of your list when examining any building. Working with your condominium-savvy Fort Lauderdale Realtor, you can determine whether the 40-year review plan, the building finances, and its overall condition should warrant another look.

Or whether you should be considering another unit.

Realtors Who Speak Your Language

Whether you’re from the Northeast, Canada, Latin America, or Europe, the If you’re one of those international buyers, The Gary Lanham Group at Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach Office speaks your language - and the language of real estate. We’re multicultural, multilingual and comfortable negotiating in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, even Serbian and Croatian.

And we certainly speak the language of Fort Lauderdale real estate.

If you plan on buying a condo where you hope to build home equity, let’s talk. From Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, and Sailboat Bend, to Wilton Manors, Coral Ridge, Imperial Point, Coral Ridge Isles, and Oakland Park, we appreciate the trust you place in our team.

Gary Lanham Group at Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate is a boutique real estate organization offering sales, leasing, and brokerage services to the Greater Fort Lauderdale area. A listings agent matches home sellers with buyers and tenants with landlords. While Broward County is our universe, we focus on Coral Ridge Country Club, Oakland Park, Wilton Manors, Pompano Beach, and the surrounding areas. Call us today at (954) 695-6518 or visit www.GaryLanhamGroup.com.

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