Condo vs Gulf Front: Should I buy or should I go?

Posted by on Oct 21, 2014 in Uncategorized | No Comments

home-questionDear Bob,

I live in Atlanta and am considering an investment in a South Walton property. Do you have any recommendations for the most productive type of investment? Gulf front condo? Beach house on the gulf? Our budget is $300K.




My Response:

I was born and raised in Atlanta! Sorry, but a budget of $300,000 is woefully inadequate for a beach house on the Gulf of Mexico!

I recommend a gulf front condominium. I’ve appraised close to 5,000 properties in 13 years here. Most in Santa Rosa Beach, Miramar Beach and Destin and naturally all along 30-A. A condominium is what I recommend.

  • Buy an end unit. Because an end unit shares only one common wall, has more windows, more expansive views, and larger balconies.
  • Choose one on a lower to middle floor. Preferably lower than the eighth floor. Because fire truck ladders reach only so high.
  • I would recommend at least a two bedroom/two bath unit. Larger the better.
  • I like older, lower density projects. Because the units usually have some “interior design style” to them and are not “shotgun” units.
  • Choose a project that has amenities; gated, pool, gym, bar, etc.
  • Buy in an older project. They are usually well-managed. Because they usually have higher reserves. Meaning, if a special assessment is levied, let’s say for storm repairs, the reserves may cover them. Otherwise, each owner will have to pony up. I’ve seen assessments cost upwards of $20,000 each unit. And you can’t finance special assessments.
  • The down side to a lower density project is fewer units, higher HOA fees. Fewer folks to share costs with.

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BBQ: “The smallest patch of green to arrest the monotony of asphalt and concrete is as important to the value of real estate as streets, sewers and convenient shopping.” By James Felt – 1960

BLT:Should I stay or should I go” by The Clash

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