3 Questions to Ask Before Making an Offer on a Miami Beach Home with a Condo Association

*Article written by Victoria Standridge, especially for LuxSouthFloridaHomes.com

You have found your dream luxury beach home in Miami and you simply cannot wait to move in. That warm tropical air, miles of sunny white sand beaches, cocktails by the ocean in the evenings, Cuban sandwiches for lunch, dancing the night away- the beauty of the Miami Beach lifestyle is calling your name.

But before you can move in and start enjoying all the fun in the sun, you have to put an offer on your ideal Miami Beach home first! If you are considering making an offer on a Condo, there are some important factors you should take into consideration first. Let’s take a look at three important questions to ask before you make your offer on a Miami Beach Condo.

1. Is the Condo Association Managed Well?

Before you make your offer, you will want to be sure that the association is run smoothly. Residential conflicts are as old as neighbors; if you are joining a housing association as a new resident, you will want to have a clear sense of how people resolve conflicts. Are board meetings held productively? Does everyone get a chance to share their opinions, and is each member’s voice heard?

If possible, attend a meeting or two before you join the Condo Association in question. Not only will you get a good sense of how association members interact with each other, but you can also begin to understand what kinds of issues homeowners may face in this particular association.

When the same issues form the bulk of everyone’s complaints, like bad plumbing or a gardener who never shows up, then you will be able to tell that the building may not be managed well. Look out for red flags that tell you the seller has not revealed the entire picture and steer clear of the condo building if you sense there are longstanding problems and unresolved maintenance issues.

2. What Amenities Will the Condo Association Fund?

Buying a Condo can provide a broad range of benefits. As you search for your perfect Miami beach home, you will want to make sure you are able to find a building that offers the most fitting types of amenities for your lifestyle.

If you are moving in as a family, you may want to seek out a Miami Beach building that offers kid-friendly amenities, like a swimming pool and a clubhouse. Make sure the swimming pool is regularly serviced and cleaned. If the condo amenities includes entertainment facilities, like a kids’ clubhouse, a tennis court, a gym, or even a mini golf course, look into what kinds of services are provided alongside these features. For community movie nights and sports event viewings, check out whether or not there is a quality cable TV provider for the TV in the shared clubhouse. Determine whether there are instructors available for swimming, fitness, and tennis lessons, and even a childcare service provided by the association.

And what about security? Does the building include a secured lobby, a security guard, video cameras, and/or a local security company to monitor activity in the complex? These kinds of amenities can be the make or break deciding factor when you search among different home options in Miami.

3. What Is the Financial Situation?

Home repairs should be a regular part of renting or buying with condo, and the homeowner’s fees will vary in cost according to the building. Make sure the condo association you are investigating has enough in their repair fund to attend to normal maintenance requests and regular upgrades. Has this particular association done a review of their reserve fund sometime in the last five years?

The reserve fund should be able to cover a reasonable percentage of the cost of replaceable maintenance items, like roofs, tennis courts, and roads. And what constitutes a reasonable amount can vary from building to building based on age. If the complex you are looking at is between one and ten years old, the reserve fund should be able to cover at least 10% of the cost.

That percentage grows in accordance with the age, so a complex that is between ten and twenty years old should have a reserve fund that can cover 25 to 30% of the costs. Once a complex reaches twenty years old (or older), the repair fund should be able to cover at least half the cost of the replaceable repairs, if not more. The older a complex is, the more regular maintenance will be required.

For building approaching the 40-year mark, Miami-Dade county requires the building be recertified by a Licensed Florida Engineer or Architect for Structural and Electrical Safety. This Recertification goes into effect every 10 years thereafter. Issues like Plumbing, Electrical, Concrete restoration, and other age related items maybe be addressed. 

Residents of the condo building should be willing to chip in to maintain a sufficient amount in the reserve repairs fund. One key sign to look out for in terms of the reasonable upkeep and maintenance of the building is whether or not residents are paying their dues in a timely manner. Ask to browse through the financial records so you can get a good sense of delinquency rates among current home owners in the complex. If there are high numbers of residents who consistently fail to pay their association dues on time, you may be able to discern dissatisfaction with the management- or detect a lack of funds for the association in general.

Finding The Perfect Fit

There are plenty of benefits to be gained from renting or buying with an condo association in Miami. Just make sure your beach community is the right fit for your needs. Check out their records, do your diligent research, and make an offer with confidence. Once you start the negotiations, you will want to be sure you are making a choice with full awareness of the housing situation being presented to you. So, arm yourself with information beforehand, get to know the condo association you may be joining, and then get ready to reap the benefits of signing a lease or mortgage.


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