Sounds similiar to our plan back in the 80's before we moved here permanently from Connecticut. When you make an offer on a condo your agent should include an addendum requesting the Condo documents, buget and latest financials. Look at what your monthly fee covers and how well funded those areas are along with what percentage of deliquent dues there are in relation to the complex. If there are several "short sales" or bank owned properties in the same complex this increases the risk factor.
One plus side to a condo vs. single family home, especially for a second home or vacation home, is that someone is maintaining the exterior while you are not here. The flip side is you are paying monthly fees even when you are not here. Remember as a single family owner you would need to hire someone to do many of the same services in your absence.
Which is better depends on your lifestyle. If you are choosing a single family or any "fee simple" property, where you own the land, such as a PUD (planned unit development-meaning they may have multiple types of homes, all owned fee simple i.e. townhomes & villas in the same community or development), the seller may have the HOA (home owner association) documents, but is not required to provide the full documents since they are public record. Through our title company we provide them for our clients when the seller does not. Just like the Condominimum documents, you want to read through them, to make sure they fit your lifestyle and needs. One of the basic things to check for in a vacation or second home is if you have the abililtly to rent it out if you choose to.
If we can be of assistance in your home search let us know. One of our first steps is to set our clients up in Listingbook, which allows you to search properties as they come on the MLS. Let me know if you are interested.
Broker Associate GRI, CDM
Prudential Tropical Realty
Clearwater FL 33761