Because of the high percentage of part time residents in our area, many of the newer communities offer a maintenancefree life style in homes, villas, twin villas as well as in a traditional condo. They are typcially gated communities which can be a plus when pricing homeowner's insurance policies for your second home in Florida. I would recommend you take a look at those types of communities that way you can still have your choice of the home style you prefer and have the care free lifestyle you are looking for!
I would recommend a secure neighborhood, either a condo or a home in a gated community. If you are not going to be here for some of the year this seems to make the most sense. You need to keep in mind that if you do buy a condo or home in a gated community there are going to be association dues.
As realtors we can recommend but our personal preferences will enter into the picture.....The bottom line is that you need to evaluate your own needs and do what's best for you.
In our location, there is very little difference between being an absentee owner for single family homes or condos. We are formerly from New York state and purchased a single family home in 1997 and didn't move here full time until 2004. There were no problems and the property was as well cared for as a condo would have been . And we had the benefit of more space, a garage, a private yard, etc. etc.
If you are still actively looking, we would be happy to provide information for you.
The "Eckler Team"
Century 21 Almar and Associatea
Venice, Fl 34285