I have been reading alot on this forum and have some questions about buying a condo vs a home. At first I was only thinking of buying a home until I read a post by Alana33 and it was mentioned that one could not just close up a home and leave for extended period of time then come back and find all ok inside the home. I did not even think about this. My situation right now would be coming down there and living for 3 months out of the year. I don't work during the summers. So we were looking at buying a house but now think a condo would be better. I am not sure if we wanted to rent it out while we were not there. If we went with a house is there any advice on what we could do so the house would not deteriorate while we were away? Would renting solve that or a house cleaning company? As far as a condo I have read alot of info about condo fees and what is included (self insured, generator, water charge etc) and it seems that in some cases these fees for condos could possibly equal windstorm policy on a house depending on how much the house is. The long term goal is getting a property then eventually retiring full time or at least 3/4 time there and maybe having it paid off by then. Any advice is so appreciated. I have a notebook full of things that I have written down from this forum.
buying a condo vs home
Many if not most houses have an apt. as part of the property - if you can find a tenant who is also entrusted with caretaking responsibility and hurricane prep, leaving the main house for long periods could work - you will have to consider maintenance and groundskeeping as well - but only using a property 3 mo. a year without some kind of property management is a recipe for deterioration and disaster if not outright vandalism and theft.
Paying high condo fees is the cost of convenience - but it may be much easier and possible to rent it some weeks a year to help out with the cost - some condo assoc. will have cleaning and rental help lists they use.
Closing up a condo or a house is exactly the same! You are not going to leave the A/C on in the islands in a condo while you are away for extended periods of time at .56+ per KWH. Not only will you have a $800-$1200/month condo fee, you will add to it a $500/month electric bill. Think about it!
So, it comes down to what type of property you want. I tend to agree with Exit Zero on this one.
We have a house, actually two houses and a cottage. One of the properties we lease long term and it pays all the taxes, insurance, utilities for our main house and provides some additional income and tax benefits. It has been rented since we moved here and so far it has worked out great.
The key is acquiring responsible and accountable long-term tenants and there lies the problem. If you can find them, I think it is the best alternative. Not only can do they provide you with the income, they can manage the property in your absence.
How much time have you actually spent in the islands? I'm just going to inject a little caution about buying property if your time here has been spent in "vacation mode" of short duration. I've seen dozens of people just like you who've done their due diligence and purchased property with the same long term goals as you, only to discover in a couple of years that a few months of island living doesn't suit them as much as they thought it would and that the fees and expenses maintaining their property is a real financial drain. Those I've known personally have managed to escape but only with financial loss and after their property has remained on the market for an extended period.
Summer rentals are easy to find and my suggestion would be to spend a summer here living in a rental before diving into a purchase. Good luck!
OT is correct on this I have seen the same thing as well. It's easy to get caught up in the situation when wearing rose colored glasses, but once you commit, you commit. I'm not a gambler and much prefer the odds of success in my favor.