Courtesy of the Miami Herald
Posted April 17, 2005
The spires on the new high-rise tower
look sleek and chic -- but how will the future condominium association
Buyers should be thinking of such mundane
So says veteran real estate analyst
Michael Y. Cannon, who has seen condo owners hit with $25,000 special
assessments to pay for repairs.
''The design features look nice when
new,'' he says -- with an important ''but'': "I wonder how it is
going to look in 10 years?''
That's why buyers must do their homework
early: Is the building practical for upkeep? Can the materials be found
easily if repairs need to be made? Some buildings may have great
architectural details but are expensive to maintain, he says.
New developments ''are tricky -- no
history,'' adds Jan Bergemann, head of the nonprofit statewide
homeowners consumers group, Cyber Citizens for Justice (www.ccfj.net).
He recommends looking into the reputation
of the builder as well as the management company that will oversee the
''Buying at the beach comes with a hefty
price tag,'' he adds. "Maintenance will be expensive.''
So will insurance.
Regardless of where you buy, check on the
building's security devices -- in particular the storm shutters,
Also check whether your neighbors will be
owners or renters. Some buildings ''have time-shares, some have hotels
-- or rental agencies who own many units. They will later run the show
on the board and leave single owners with little representation,'' he
If there is a ''name'' architect involved
with the condominium, make sure you know what work he or she actually
did, advises well-known architect Michael Graves.
Sometimes, developers will pay architects
to design the exterior, but hire others to design the interiors, he
says. Other times, the developers may not take the advice of their
architects and will use cheaper materials, he adds.
Other matters to consider when buying a
the condominium have enough parking for you, your family or friends who
are the projected condominium maintenance fees? Realize that they will
probably go up after the builder, who has been subsidizing the project,
kind of insurance does the condominium have? What expenses will you, as
an individual unit owner, be responsible for in the event of a hurricane
or other emergency?
amenities come with the complex -- such as a pool and clubhouse -- and
how much will they cost the association to run?