We are wanting to purchase a condo or house in the Fort Myers area, near beach. It will be a vacation home

Asked by Steph, Vermont Sat Feb 28, 2009

used a few weeks a year for the next 5 years.Maybe rent it during winter months. Then we will use as a winter home. What are the pros and cons between condo or house?

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Sarah Garrett, Agent, Fort Myers, FL
Sat Feb 28, 2009
Hello Steph, It is great that you want to take advantage of the beautiful climate and excellent pricing this area has to offer. Both condo and housing markets are saturated with options. Since you will be a part-timer you may want to consider something with less upkeep (condo). You wont have to worry with grass, sprinkler system, pest control or pool maintenance. If you are ready to start searching for great buys may I offer you the following free service to manage your search. http://www.A59976.listingbook.com or give me a call at 239-464-8620.
Sarah Garrett, Realtor
239-274-6637 x 3030
1 vote
Chris Lyon, Agent, Venice, FL
Tue Mar 24, 2009

There are pros and cons to both houses and condos. Condos have less maintenance but the quarterly fees can be high. Also if there are forclosures in the complex the banks are not paying the maintenance fees so the other owners are having to make up the difference. Most condo's limit the number of times you can rent the unit on an annual basis. Homes on the other hand ned to be cared for and looked after but there are many fine property managment companies that can handle the upkeep. I'm not sure if FT Meyers has a restriction on the number of times you can rent a property but if they don't you can rent it out weekly and make a up to $1,000 a week.

If you need help with financing I can provide condo and home financing at great rates.

Chistopher Lyon
Licensed Mortgage Broker
0 votes
Van Ouytsel, Home Buyer, Florida State, FL
Tue Mar 24, 2009

I happened to read your question and as a condo-owner (vacation home) wanted to share my
recent experience. It is true that condo-owning is very practical. You pay a quarterly fee (this includes
insurance-pest-control- garden maintaince-pool etc...) But this week we were asked to pay an "assesment"
this means you have to pay "extras". We own in a community of 12 condos and 19 townhouses.
Now the roofs of the townhouses need replacement (renovation) (not the condos) and all 31 owners
have to pay a big assement (extra) for these roofs. So condo-living can also surprise you with
extra costs. So with a condo you can expect financial surprises !
0 votes
Sarah Garrett, Agent, Fort Myers, FL
Sat Feb 28, 2009
Hi again Steph,
One of my company's property management affiliates gets 2-3000 per week on Fort Myers Beach rentals for their owners. She gets a small percentage each month to care for her owners condo's or homes. I think every one on this question has given you excellent pros and cons. You need to decide what you would feel comfortable in when you are vacationing. Do you want the feel of a hotel with all the amenities available as you need them or do you want to be in a stilt home on the beach or within walking distance. 3/2 Condos will be limited at a good price but your decent 3/2 home starts in the 200's. Check out the attached and start your search at http://www.a59976.listingbook.com as my guest. I am ready to help you by visiting properties that meet your criteria. Have a great Sunday!
Sarah Garrett, Realtor
Alliance Realty Group

0 votes
Mark Washburn, Agent, Cape Coral, FL
Sat Feb 28, 2009
With the number of bank owned and distressed properties for sale at discounted prices, there are good options for both condos and homes on the market.

A property management company can take care of a condo or home for you equally well, so I don't think this is as big an issue as location and amenities. For seasonal rentals, I believe that distance from beaches and community amenities are the key items to focus on.

Gated communities are very popular with second home owners in the Fort Myers area. Here is a good resource to help you become familiar with Fort Myers gated communities: http://www.greaterftmyers.com/fort-myers-gated-communities.php

Good luck in your search!
0 votes
Paula Bean, , Orlando, FL
Sat Feb 28, 2009
Hi Steph,

Good advice from all, but I would add this comment for you to consider.

Why would you want to buy a place when you are only going to use it a few weeks per year? In this economy where people are not spending money on vacations, you may not be able to keep it rented. Alhough you can get a great price right now, and mtg rates are low, I'd advise you to run this by your CPA or Financial planner, as there will be many fees aside from the mtg, taxes, Condo or HOA fees.

You'll need to pay a property mgmt company to rent it out as well. Once you run an analysis of the cost of aquistion and maintenance against just renting a place yourself when you visit, then you will know what the right thing for you do is.

I am an accredited consultant in real estate and can give you unbiased information not contingent on selling you something and earning a commission. If you need a great Financial Planner to discuss this matter further, I can help you with that as well.

This is a lot of money to invest, and based on your tax bracket , age, and many other factors it may be better for you NOT to buy - then again, as long as you know what all of the fees will be, and you don't have to count on it being rented, you may be best off buying while prices and interest rates are low. You'll need to consider this for a long term investment as it could be a few years before the market gets back to normal, so don't get in a position where you need to sell and liquidate quickly, because with closing costs to sell or doing a
10-31 exchange, it could take months and you may come out of it with a loss.

Proceed with caution and information, let me know if you need names of a CPA, financial planner or a real estate agent to work with to help you make an informed decision.

Best regards
0 votes
LLoyd Nichols, Agent, Fort Myers, FL
Sat Feb 28, 2009
Hi, Steph,

I live on Fort Myers Beach and know all the available properties. As for condos v. single family homes, condos have months condo fees, homes do not. Condos have restrictions regarding pets and lesae limits. On the plus side for condos, outside maintenance is taken care of by the Assocation. For more info and for current avaiable listings, drop me an email or call.


LLoyd Nichols
Right Choice Realty LLC
cell: 239-810-2980
office: 239-463-5217
Activerain Local Blog: http://localism.com/neighbor/lloydn
Active Rain Blog: http://activerain.com/lloydn
0 votes
Scott Riddle, Agent, Naples, FL
Sat Feb 28, 2009

You have gotten a few good things from the agents below, but here is my outlook on it. If you are going to use it as a seasonal rental you want a home that is main. free, that can be a condo or a home in an HOA. The biggest thing you need to do is determine a price range and then that will narrow down the options. I have been in the area for over 25 years and would be more than happy to help you with your home search. Give me a call so we can talk about what your options are.


Scott Riddle, (CSP) Certified Short Sale Professional
Sand Castle Realty Group
239-390-0027 fax
0 votes
Vicky Chrisn…, Agent, Purcellvile, VA
Sat Feb 28, 2009
condos have higher monthly fees, and are more restrictive about policies (pets, parking, what you can do at your home, etc.). the fees sometimes include things you'd normally pay for separately (cable, internet, insurance, building maintenance). they can be harder to get certain financing for.

for a vacation home it might be better to have a condo, but then again, you may end up paying for utilities for year round use when you're not using it. and, some condos may not permit you to rent the place out, or may require that they approve your tenants.

hopefully, i've given you some things to think about and ask about. if you need a referral to an agent in that area, email me and i will happily connect you.

0 votes
Dana Schuster, Agent, Slidell, LA
Sat Feb 28, 2009
I f you are not going to be around most of the year,i recommend condo. you pay a monthly fee and allexterior maintenance is taken care of by the condo association. There is usually a blanket flood and homeowners policy so if the roof needs repair they take care of it. if you own a house in another state,you are constantly going to be dealing with maintenance issues.
0 votes
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