Henry, Home Buyer in Fort Lauderdale, FL

I have $150k to invest in the Ft. Lauderdale area , should I buy a home or a condo, we are a 60yrs old couple and want an investment property .

Asked by Henry, Fort Lauderdale, FL Sat Dec 10, 2011

We would like to winter there when we retire in 3-4 years. We are concerned about the high cost of condo fees and taxes and not being able to rent the home when we are not there.

Help the community by answering this question:


Please, NO condo or townhome! You will be saddled with restrictions and fees you can not control. In this current market your best bet is a single family home. With your budget of $150,000 you can buy a very nice home. In a lot of areas here $150,000 homes sold for more than twice that a few years ago. Rents are very strong right now for single family homes and if you choose to lease the home until you retire you can cover your expenses and make a very nice return on your investment. We have helped many people in your situation and can manage the leasing and maintenance of your home. Feel free to contact me anytime and we can discuss this further.

Michael Nies
VP Sales & Managed Property
Petrus Realty Group
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 11, 2011

Lots of options to consider. I feel confident that you will be much better off with purchasing a condo in a smaller building, one with less upkeep than some of the larger buildings. Best to keep close to the beach, especially for rental purposes. I come across great deals on apts of this caliber all the time. I have a fantastic deal on a 2/2 in Victoria Park. Great for renting and living. Priced well within your budget. If you would like more details, just drop me a line or give a call.


Best of luck
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 10, 2011

Isn't it amazing that in all the responses you've received for your query,they are about 50/50 for either choices.

The main advantage for a condominium is that your unit is managed for you (not rented out for you by the association management but the entire building is managed by the association management) and you can leave your unit "unrented" or empty for long periods of time without worry about it. The downside of condos is that most condominiums will not let you lease your unit within the first year of your ownershop. Then, you can rent only one time for each year thereafter and leases are limited to only one ne time per year, 90 days minimum. So, if you rent, say for 3 months during hte season (that's what seems to be the most popular because of the ever popular winter season flooded by 'snowbirds"), then you CANNOT rent for the rest of the year.

Many Realtors answers have frown over condo "fees" as if it is something you give to the condo association for nothing in return. Condo fees are the cost of operation aportioned per unit size. Whether you like it or not, owning a house, you also have monthly expenses to run that house (lawn maintenance, pool maintenance, flood. wind and liability insurances and water/sewer/garbage). So, it is really not cheaper to own a house.

On the other hand, if you own a house, you are in total control of your renting schedules -- you can rent by the day if you want it -- unless, of course, you buy a house that has a community or home-owner association.

Tom Priester suggests that you invest in North Palm Beach for a "better quality of life". I think you need to define what is your "quality of life". Yes, if you need to live in tranquility with less traffic congestions but nothing else to do except to play golf all day, every day, sure that is the place for you. But who is to say that that is "quality of life". What if you are an active, on-the-go people who like to be surrounded by energetic, dynamic and vibrant mentality people? Well, West Palm Beach or any of the west coast of Florida cities may not be for you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 11, 2011
Dear Henry,

You might consider your options in northern Palm Beach County for a higher quality of life with less traffic and congestion than you will find in the rest of south Florida. Today I want to show you what the numbers look like on a Class A property in the heart of Palm Beach Gardens. This development is new construction with impact glass, high quality finishes, a very solid association with excess reserves and great amenities in a top rated location. One bedroom units have a better return as the association fees here are much lower on a 1 bedroom as they are based on square footage. The increase rents also do not outweigh the additional cost of 2 bedroom units. The development is in the best location with easy access to what attracts everyone to south Florida; incredible beaches, a multitude of dining and shopping options and a fantastic night scene.

Rental market here is strong for one bedrooms; 4 units rented over the past 90 days with only one unit on the market. Rents have been in the $1,100 range but this particular unit has an amazing private setting that is among the best I have seen in the community so it should bring $1,200. It will probably take $121,00 to buy.

If you pay $121,000 and have $14,400 in gross revenue (if you rent yourself) and expenses of $2,616 for association fees, $1,866 for property taxes and about $500 in insurance you end up with about a 7.7% cash on cash return and a top quality property that will have a much better appreciation than fringe locations. Even when buying a home for your own use it is good to know how strong the metrics are surrounding that property.

If I was looking for an investment property today this is the deal I would snap up in a heartbeat. If you would like me to send you the information sheet on this property or to discuss your particular goals in more detail please feel free to contact me at your convenience.


Tom Priester
"Results Driven Real Estate"

Keller Williams Realty
Phone: 561 308-0175
E-mail: tom@tompriester.com
Web Reference: http://www.tompriester.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 11, 2011
I think your best bet is beach or intracoastal condo. Easy to rent to visitors with big return. Tourists does not want to rent house, they like water view condos near by entertaintment areas... If you buy a house who will take care of the yard, building, pool, etc...? Go for beach condo on east part of town...

Sedat Celik
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 11, 2011
Not all locations are the same, but most mid-size city's have some things in common. Condos are great location where there is an ocean view, mountain views, etc. They are also the way to go if you leave in the center of downtown, like around a well known lake or near the entertainment, night district. Besides that, a Single Family Homes is the best choice anywhere else.

The home will maintain its value much stronger than any condo will. You are can control cost much more efficiently and when it comes time to sell there will be many more potential buyers.

Tony Vega
Charles Rutenberg Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 11, 2011
I think the key here Henry, is that although you may deal with some extra expenses for the 3 or 4 years until you retire, you are planning on moving down. I would weigh the 3-4 years of extra expenses vs the many more years of condo dues, etc. that you will deal with in the long term. As I mentioned in my first answer, a lot of your decision will come down to ammenities, privacy, etc. that you will want to take into consideration.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 10, 2011
Hi Henry. Since you are not planning on living in Ft. Lauderdale full time for 3-4 years I would recommend buying a property with the least amount of maintenance on your part and that would be a condo. Yes, there are condo fees, but since you don't live here all year round you would probably have to pay a property manager to oversee your investment property. As far as taxes go, you would be paying real estate taxes on any property type and the cost is determined by the appraised value of the home, not the property type. I think you should buy today a property that works well for your present needs and I believe that's a condo.

Hope that helps you. Please feel free to call me with any other questions you have - 561-445-8743. Also, feel free to look on my website for properties listed on the MLS.

Nicole Marks Mason, Realtor
Web Reference: http://www.BuySellBoca.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 10, 2011
Hi Henry,

My reco is to purchase a residential income property i.e. duplex or triplex. Many condo associations are encountering financial difficulty due to the high number of unpaid maintenance or assessment fees by owners who have encountered short sales and foreclosures. This is why most investors shy away from condos today.

For the same amount of money invested, residential income properties tends to give a better ROI than a single family homes because you have more tenants for about the same square footage. Basically, you just need to make sure that the property rents well and covers the costs necessary to take care of the it. The rest is gravy. A cap rate of 13%-18% is very possible in today's market with a $150K investment.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 10, 2011
I unequivocally stand with your other answers, if you are going to be absentee owners, or if you travel alot, condominium is the best choice! There are lots of great deals out there now! Just notice that a low-medium priced home -maintenance will run you approx $300 per month, and if you can find a nice townhouse or condo with maintenance fees that are less than that with a well run association, life will be great!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 10, 2011

Great Choice Investing in this wonderful Buyers Market. This is a great question. A home is the american dream and though in Florida condos are great a home is great for resale. As a new investor you want to make sure rents cover a majority of your expenses.

Condo have maintence dues, surprise assesments,rules and regulations, and an association Board of Directors. Many condos have renting restrictions so make sure if you decide on a Condo you read all the by laws.

A Home is very desierable. As Owner of rent finders of south florida, I can assure you the rental market is very strong. There are many wonderful home purchasing options in your price range. You can also hire a Property Managmenet company ( Like Ours) and they will take care of all maintence and tenant placement. This will put you at ease with worries and headaches.

I will be more than happy to compose a Investors Profolio for you at no cost to you. Please call or vist our website. Happy Investing Henry!!!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 10, 2011
Hello Henry, There are pros and cons to both options. Condos are generally easier for absentee owners due to security and an Association that oversees the buildings maintenance. Many condos allow owners to rent as long as they and their tenants abide by the Association rules. There is a lot to discuss. You can call me at 954-445-9588 anytime. I am happy to provide answers to you question and concerns so that you are able to make the best choice.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 10, 2011
Please call me to discuss your thoughts on condo vs. single family house.
Rick Scrabis
EWM Real Estate
954 232 0300
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 10, 2011

For $150,000, I would definitely go with a condo or townhouse. It's likely to be less aggravation for you when it is empty and in your absence. You will be able to buy something fairly decent for this price whereas a single family won't be in a particularly nice area.

You would need a property that has no rental restrictions and a reasonable monthly fee, but you could certainly find something very nice in the area, Rentals are in demand down here because of the difficulty people are having in getting financing for new homes.

I work with a lot of out of state buyers and they've been very happy with their investments. If you would like to talk more about this or would like more information, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me.

Best wishes from sunny South Florida,

Villa G Realty, Inc.
Tel: 954-816-7996
Web Reference: http://www.villagrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 10, 2011
Hey Henry,

I would personally recommend a home. This will vary based on your interests and what you would like to have as far as ammenities, privacy, etc. Homes are relatively easy to rent in the current market and finding well qualified tenants is easier than before.

Send me a message if you like and I can answer more quetions for you in regards to specific areas for investment. I work with cash buyers regularly and my first experience in the real estate business was as an investor & property manager.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 10, 2011
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