I bought my first house when I was 21 years old!
It was scary, it was awesome, it was a mistake turned into a blessing…
I successfully rented it out when we moved to Austin Texas and then sold it in 2016 for a nice profit and bought a condo in the South Padre Island area.
Below are the most important insights and learning experiences from buying our condo that we will pay more attention to during our next condo or house purchase…
The Top 10 Tips For Buying a Beach Condo
1) Get The Downlow on The Appliances
Ask how old they are, if they have a warranty, who installed them, when they were last used, and any issues that are going on. Our dryer line was clogged we found out several days after closing and spent hundreds on repair techs/handy men trying to find the issue. The exhaust line just needed to be cleaned out.
2) Investigate Renovation Details
If there was remodeling done, ask who did it, if they were licensed, what their names are and contact info. You want to find out if they were professional contractors! In our case, the owner did all the updates in our condo and we are finding problem after problem such as wiring was not done right, caulking and painting was sloppy, flooring and tile wasn’t installed right, plumbing was sealed with electrical tape! (WTF?!) etc. etc.
3) Water Leaks and Plumbing SH!T
I highly recommend you do this totally uncomfortable but needed thing… Run the bathtubs and flush the toilets, put ice down the garbage disposal while walking the property – especially if you have a two story or are looking at a unit on the second+ level. Two or three weeks after we purchased our condo, our guest bathtub leaked into the unit below us and the toilet did not work either. This costed us hundreds to fix, was very stressful, and thank goodness our neighbors were understanding and cool about it (what a way to meet your new neighbors, eh?).
4) Do Your Own Mini-Inspection
We hired a highly recommended inspector who was suppose to be a detective when it comes to home inspections. We were highly disappointed! First of all the inspector should not send a copy of the inspection report to the seller’s agent. This pulls the rug from your negotiations as the buyer. Secondly, he didn’t find a lot of things that have surfaced weeks after we closed. Such as, cracks in the tile on the patio balcony, nonGFI electrical boxes in the bathrooms and kitchen, the bathtub leaks, guest bathroom toilet not working, etc. Do your research and see what inspectors in your area should be looking for and then you use that as your checklist during your showings/walk throughs.
5) AC Inside and Outside Units
If the seller is not willing to replace a new condensing unit, at least negotiate having the coils cleaned and freeon added. We live in Texas and very close to the beach but our AC unit is operating just fine, thankfully. It is old as hell though.
6) West and East Sun Exposure
There is something called passive solar gain that most people do not consider with their home and lifestyle. We live in Texas where it is hot hot hot. It was kind of a deal breaker for me to get an East facing condo because 1) we could watch the sunrise, and most importantly 2) the West setting sun is not blasting our patio/balcony and heating up our place. We made sure to find a condo that did not have a lot of windows facing the West and also sufficient insulation in the walls and attic.
7) Theft, Robbery, and Locks
Really this tip is all about the previous history of the place if you are not buying brand new. Just start with asking how long the unit has been on the market, was it rented previously, how long has it been since the locks have been changed, etc. Ask the neighbors about robbery and theft in the area. You will be surprised! Even the most affluent and nicest areas have theft problems.
8) Roof and Flooring
Ask how old the roof and flooring are, who installed them, if there are warranties and any known issues. These can be big, unexpected expenses that can be negotiated during the sale if you have a good realtor.
9) Meet The Neighbors
This goes a long way but people overlook it and devalue this tip! While shopping for a place, meet the neighbors and the more the better. We specifically walked the property before our schedule showing, the day after, and a week after and asked people about the HOA, manager, neighbors, the weather, what they liked, what they didn’t like, etc. etc. This can make or break the deal if everyone tends to say the same thing!
10) Find the Right Team
The most important part of the entire journey is to find the right realtor to represent you. And if you are getting third party lending find the right mortgage broker. These people can fight for you and make the entire experience much better or in our case much worse. We had a horrible realtor but didn’t pay attention to the warning signs before we got into a contract. We lost out on potentially several thousand dollars in lack of negotiations and etc. etc. etc. but we are so happy with our place it makes it all worth it. But, it wasn’t necessary and I am inspired to pay it forward and encourage you to not settle and find the best damn realtor to represent you, your wishes, your goals and your lifestyle!
I know these tips will help you in your pursuit to finding the best condo deal out there. We are so pleased with our purchase and can’t wait for our next house adventure. For right now we are living in the condo splitting our time traveling and staying at the Wild Life Center.
Do you have any tips you want to share with your home buying experience? Let me know below!