You have vacationed here for a couple of years. Maybe you’re looking ahead several years towards retirement. You want to buy a home you can enjoy between now and then. Usually this type of buyer wants to buy a condominium they can rent out during Season and use for themselves during the off season. What should our buyer consider with this scenario?
There are several things to think about. The first has to do with the condominium itself. If you want to rent out your condominium, you’ll want to look at it from a seasonal renter’s point of view. Is it clean and up-to-date? Comfortable and well stocked? Can your renter see themselves relaxing on the patio or at the community pool? Are there plenty of towels on hand for use at the pool and beach? How about beach chairs and toys?
Condominiums that are uncluttered, have newer appliances and great views are best. Flat screen TVs with cable and internet access are expected standard features these days. While most seasonal renters will go out to eat, they’ll want to know that the kitchen is well-equipped and there’s plenty of room for dining in if they choose.
Everything in the condominium should be in working order. When looking to buy, even though you might not mind dealing with certain blemishes the condominium may have, this is not so for your seasonal renter; they are staying for a limited amount of time and will not be happy if something isn’t working properly and they have to wait for repairs. They’ll be even less happy if they’re told they need to take time out of their vacation to be present when a repair person comes by. And please keep in mind that during season tradespeople are quite busy, so it’s tough to get prompt service. Happy renters come back year after year. It all starts with buying and preparing your condominium with the above in mind.
Next to consider is the community you select. The larger communities offer the most amenities. Something that I have learned is that these first-time buyers eventually decide to spend more time here. If that’s even a remote possibility for you, then I recommend looking at a community that offers multiple types of homes; not just one type of condominium, but also larger condominiums, villas and single-family homes. That way, as you make friends in the community over the years, you won’t need to move away from people and a community you’ve grown to love if your lifestyle changes.
Another thing to consider when selecting a community is whether or not the homeowner’s association is financially sound. Do they have adequate reserve funds? When the economy slumped several years ago, some communities were not prepared and they had to assess homeowners to make up for financial shortfalls. Your Realtor® will know which ones are stronger. They’ll also be able to assist you with other inquiries, for example if the community has a golf course, how easy is it to transfer the membership to your renter and how much does the homeowner’s association charge for that transfer?
Like buying a new car, you can test drive a community. Go there at different times to get a feel for the community. Most will let your Realtor® bring you in for lunch or dinner to evaluate their service. Golf course communities may even allow you to play a round of golf to check out the course. This kind of access can be a great way to really get a feel for the community you’re considering.
Once you decide where to buy, your Realtor® will provide a series of documents for you to review, but while you’re still considering your purchase, look at the rules and regulations of the community, as well as what’s called a Condominium Question and Answer Sheet. This fact sheet can give you some insight about the homeowner’s association you would not be aware of otherwise.
It’s an exciting adventure to find the right second home and there are a lot of things to take into consideration. I encourage you to let your Realtor® with their knowledge and experience be your helpful guide.