Connie Belmont, Sarasota real estate agent
Connie Belmont, Sarasota Realtor
For Sarasota Florida Real Estate Excellence
Cell Phone   941.228.9682        E-Mail:
Sarasota realtor, Connie Belmont
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Before You Buy A Sarasota Condo

    OK. So you've found exactly the right condo property in Sarasota Florida; one that meets your needs and is priced right. What questions should you need to have answered before you make an offer. Here are some things you need to know before buying a condominium here in Sarasota or anywhere.

    Meet the Property Manager   You can learn more in a face-to-face meeting, but even a phone conversation will show you how responsive the property manager is.

    Review the Association's Financials and in particular, the Reserves Fund Balance. This will indicate whether the association fees have been creating a slow build-up of funds to cover replacing the roof, repaving the parking lot, or other required periodic work. A low balance in the Reserve Fund may be explainable but it does deserve an explanation.  Ask if the Reserve fund has an annual "reality check." If not, there's no way to judge whether the Reserves Fund is at a sufficient level.

    Ask what kind and how much insurance the association carries and what is covered, and more importantly, not covered ?

    Ask the property manager of the Sarasota condo property what the delinquency rate is on fees.  If many people aren't paying their fees, something may be amiss. You want to know what that "something" is.

    Does the property manager expect, or do Board meeting minutes anticipate any "special assessments" in the near term. If so, you may be able to get the Seller to pay them in advance as part of your closing.

    Review copies of the minutes of recent condo association board meetings.   This will indicate the kinds of issues and concerns the Board is dealing with.  It will give you clues to what may be wrong with either the physical construction or behavioral issues among the residents.

    "Who's Watching the Store ?"   With Sarasota condos, as everywhere, you need to be wary of a condo association without a "professional" property manager.  Although some condos are run very well by residents, such an arrangement can lead to hassles.  Sarasota condos managed by residents are subject to all the foibles of businesses being run by "amateurs."  That's worth thinking about.

    If the complex is professionally managed, ask some residents (not the Seller) about their satisfaction with the property manager.  Recognize that some people are chronic complainers and no property manager could keep them happy at a monthly condo fee they're willing to pay.

    Review the Rules, Regulations and By-Laws.  According to one prominent Sarasota luxury homes realtor, "Many Sarasota condo associations have abbreviated versions of their rules that tell you, in summary, things like whether or not you're allowed to have pets? What restrictions, if any, are placed on pets and pet-owners ? You may not have a dog, but you may not appreciate it if your next-door neighbor has three dogs barking all day and you have no recourse. Can your guests park on the premises ? For how long ? Build a list of concerns and go looking for answers in the condo documents."

    Sarasota has a large number of "snow-bird" visitors.   Are rentals permitted and, if so, what percentage of residents are renters? A Sarasota condominium with a high percentage of renters may make it harder for you to resell later on. If you are planning to rent your unit, understand the rental policies of the association. If the rental population is above 10%, there should be clear policies in the by laws. Are monthly rentals allowed or only 12 month leases. Keep in mind, however, that a condo association can change its rules and bylaws to prohibit or restrict rentals. The more owners who rent, the less chance that will happen.

    In summary, you should check out your Sarasota condo and its condominium association as carefully as you would a single-family home purchase. You can avoid a lot of grief by fully understanding the situation before you make an offer or adjust your offer to compensate for what you've learned.

Information in this article has been drawn from various sources and while it is thought to be accurate and timely, it is not warranted.
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Connie Belmont,  Sarasota Real Estate Agent

Rampart Homes of Sarasota Florida
4401-E Ashton Road,  Sarasota, Florida  34233
Cell Phone  941.228.9682       E-Mail:
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