What Are Some Things You Need to Know About Clearwater Florida Condos?

Clearwater Florida condos are popular with people around the U.S. and other parts of the world for several reasons.

One of the main reasons is where Clearwater is located. Besides being close to the Gulf beaches you can also get to a lot of areas very easily that have restaurants, shopping and other activities that are fun and interesting.

Pinellas County, where Clearwater is located, is surrounded by water.  The Gulf of Mexico is along the west coast of the county and Tampa Bay is along its east coast with Tampa just a short drive away. Any part of Clearwater is no more than 30 minutes to a beach. Another advantage is that the Gulf of Mexico moderates the temperatures so that it doesn’t get quite as hot in the summer or as cool in the winter as areas further in from the coast.

For those times when you will be taking a flight into or out of the area, you’ll find that the Tampa airport is one of the easiest and fastest large airports in the country and is only about 30 minutes from Clearwater.  You can also get to most places like Busch gardens or the football, baseball and ice hockey stadiums/arenas within a short time frame. The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa is less than an hour’s drive and you can get to Disney World in about and hour and a half.

The next reason that Clearwater Florida condos are so popular is that Clearwater and the surrounding cities have a smaller town feel while still being a short distance from a major city, Tampa. Yet you can still find lots to do in Clearwater and the surrounding areas including some great places to eat, malls and other attractions for adults or families and you won’t have to fight the heavy traffic that you’ll find in the larger cities like Orlando or Miami.

When you start looking for condos here you’ll see 3 different types of condo-like property being discussed: condos, townhouses and villas. These can mean different things in other parts of the state or country so I’m going to clear up for you what they mean here.

When you see a listing for this area, here are what the following types of property mean:

Condos – are normally a one-story unit in a multi-story building with other condos on one or more sides and also above and/or below.

Townhouses – are normally 2 or more stories with other townhouses on one or more sides.

Villas – are normally one-story units with other villas attached on one or more sides but none above or below which distinguishes them from condos.

What you own technically as a condo owner is the space enclosed by the walls of your unit along with a portion of what is called the ‘common areas’.  Common areas include those areas of the complex that can be accessed and used by all condo owners in that complex. In some cases the land the complex is on is not owned by the condo owners or association but is leased by the person or entity that owns in. In this case you will have to pay a monthly “land lease” fee. Most of the time these land leases are for very long periods of time (such as 75 years) but even so, some lenders will not give loans for a condo in a complex where there is a land lease involved.

There is more variation with villas and townhouse, but usually you own the whole structure and the land it sits on.  Often you will also have ownership of the common areas but that can vary.

In all 3 cases there is usually an association that governs the complex and collect monthly fees that can pay for things like exterior maintenance, roof repairs and replacement, insurance on the building and in some cases certain utilities such as water/sewer bills and basic cable. One thing that is very important to do when considering a purchase of any of these types of property is to determine what your monthly fees will be and what they cover.

The association also can set and enforce the rules for that complex. These can include parking restrictions, pet regulations, how to authorize changes to your unit, etc. When purchasing, your contract should include a Condominium Association Addendum that gives the right to get a copy of the condominium rules and association financial statements which you will have time to review with a right to cancel if you find something you don’t like (the period is 3 days for a resale unit and 15 days for a new unit).

One additional thing you should be mindful of is whether the complex has any legal or financial troubles that may later affect you. This is especially important for Clearwater condo complexes that were built or were converted into condos during the last few years of the boom period. Due to a larger percentage of owners going into foreclosure in these newer complexes they can be riskier to buy in than more established, older complexes who are in a more stable financial condition.  You don’t want to be surprised with a large assessment after you’ve bought.

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