Why We Decided Against Buying a Beach Front Condo

View from a Living Room... Yes Please!

View from a Living Room… Yes Please!

My fiancee (sounds weird… still getting used to it) and I have been looking into buying a beautiful beach front condo for the last few weeks. As you can tell from the title, we’ve come to a decision and have decided not to buy a beach front condo.

The Pros Didn’t Outweigh the Cons

Financially we’d be perfectly fine buying and permanently living in a beach front condo and renting out our town house. However, after looking at all of the pros and cons of actually living in a beach front condo it just wasn’t worth it to us.

There are definitely some awesome pros of living in a condo on the sugar white sands on the Gulf of Mexico. The first is the most obvious. The sugar white sands on the Gulf of Mexico would be just a short elevator ride away. The views from the balconies overlooking the Gulf are breathtaking. The sunsets? AWESOME!

Unfortunately, that’s about where the pros of living in a beach front condo ended once we put some more thought into it.

Condos Are Expensive

We followed the advice of some readers and thought about what else we could get with our money. We looked at some houses in town and saw that we could get a ton more for our money by not living in a condo on the beach.

In addition to getting more for the same amount of money, we wouldn’t have to pay multi-hundred dollar homeowner’s associate fees to upkeep a common building.

Condos Aren’t Practical

No matter how much we wanted to have the awesome views, the condos we were considering just weren’t practical. We’d be fine with the inconveniences for now.

Taking an elevator up to our condo, trying to find a parking spot in a full lot and even transporting groceries in a cart to our condo would be inconveniences but they’d be worth it to us right now.

The problems begin when we have a child. At first, we’d be further away from my parents who will likely lend a helping hand with the baby. We’d be moving further away from them which would mean an even longer drive out of our way to drop the child off.

Then, once the child grows up a new set of problems pop up. We’d be able to childproof the condo, but we wouldn’t be able to let the child go down the elevator and walk to the front of the complex to catch the school bus as a kindergartner.

The condo would also take up a lot more of our time on a daily basis with these inconveniences. In the end, even if we could get a condo I don’t think it’d be worth it to us in the long run.

beach condo 1We Probably Couldn’t Get Financing Either

This was another nail in the condo coffin. The only way we’d likely be able to get financing for a condo is if we bought a Homepath foreclosure. Most banks aren’t lending on condo-tel properties and every property on the beach is considered a condo-tel.

A condo-tel is basically a vacation condo. Banks can’t easily sell the mortgages on condo-tel properties so they don’t lend on them. In order to avoid that designation at least 51% of the units would have to be owner occupied and there is absolutely no chance of that happening.

Well… other than in the one owner occupied condo on the beach. Problem with that one is nothing ever goes on sale and when it does the units are over $1,000,000.

Recap

After writing this post it really is apparent to me that, while we’d love the awesome view and great location, a condo isn’t a good move for us at this time. Maybe one day when we retire we can live in a condo on the beautiful beaches of the Florida panhandle.

What do you think of our decision? What would you have done if you were us? We really loved the idea but in the end it just didn’t work.

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

Comments

  1. Sounds pretty reasonable. From what I understand about HomePath, if you’re buying a property to live in, it’s pretty great. But when we were looking for investment properties, it was a huge PITA because of the investor lock-out period.

  2. Sounds like you made a wise decision Lance. The pros can be great, but when you can’t justify it then it becomes an issue where it might not be in your best interest. I think I would ‘ve made the same decision myself, especially when you start looking at things like how a kid will deal with it.

  3. Sounds like a great decision to me! Condos are fairly expensive and if I’ve learned anything from buying our first home it’s that you HAVE to think about the future when buying a home. In today’s market (depending on your location) it’s not easy to buy and then sell in 1-2 years if you want to move somewhere else. It’s possible to do that but you may be forced to lose some money if you choose to go that route. So, knowing you might have kids in a few years, I think it’s a good call.

    I know what you mean about the fiance thing…it was weird to us at first but you get used to it eventually.

  4. You probably made the right decision even if it is for different reasons. Many years ago, we lost out on our first dream home because our house did not sell. After our house sold an even better house became available, so everything works out.

  5. I think you made a great decision. I think condo’s are nice when you first think about it, but they usually don’t fit into long term goals for most people. I know you will find better things with the money you were going to spend.

  6. I think you’re spot on here, and have really thought through the options. As exciting as it would have been to live on that amazing beach front, it’s not practical, and probably no the best long-term strategy. Plus, planning for a wedding is stressful enough, throw in a complicated condo purchase, and you’re just asking for a 24/7 headache 🙂

  7. i agree with your thought process here, Lance.

    the view would be amazing, and i would love to be able to go to the beach every.. but it just isnt practical.

    plus, i would be a little afraid of hurricanes, honestly. but that’s just me..

    • Hurricanes here are a problem regardless of whether you live on the beach or not so that is a moot point to us. Now if you were considering moving here from somewhere else it’d be another story.

  8. Just from reading what you had to say it’s obvious that you both made the right decision. If you both plan to have children and want to stay in a home for a while it’s wise to forward think which you did. Sometimes people jump into something without planning not only for the now but the potential goals of their future.

  9. I think you made a wise decision. It’s good to think ahead, and really play out how day-to-day life might be – and consider if there are better alternatives. It looks like you did that, which realistically is something that many people don’t even think of doing!

    Kids do change everything, no question. I know an otherwise very smart couple that can’t stand the idea of living in the suburbs, think that they can raise a child in the city (Chicago) while having all the conveniences and quality of schooling they want…at a middle class price. Sadly, sadly delusional.

    I’m sure in a few years, I’ll be telling them “welcome to the suburbs!” 🙂

  10. It’s impossible to say what I would have done in your situation, but I’m glad you finally settled on something. Sounds like you put a lot of thought into it!

  11. in my opinion, if you’re gonna spend 1 mil on a condo, you should just wait & save up a little more for an oceanfront house. Then the kids would be fine there.

  12. kevin marcucio says:

    if you were got it in say myrtle beach, couldnt you rent it out and profit money? still live in another home somwhere else, afford it still cause the other is paying for itself plus profiting cause its being rented? and have a beach vacation incase you get the earge for the view.

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