Have you considered a condo on the beach? About this time each year, we start to see quite a few of them changing hands. The days are long and warm right now and there is no better place to spend it than on a beautiful beach. And when you aren’t using it yourself, a beach condo makes a fantastic investment!

As I said, this is that time of year. From June through early fall, this is the time to buy a condo in the Sarasota/Manatee County area. Why? Well, at this time of year, there is the greatest chance that the units you are interested in buying may be available to be seen. Through the winter and spring, most units worth owning as rental investments are pretty well booked, making them harder to view. Also, by buying in the summer and early fall, you have the time to make any remodels or redecorating you want but not so much extra time that you are handling the carrying costs through the bulk of the slower income time. If you are buying from out of town, this is a good time to take a vacation, check things out, and start making some decisions!

Does buying a home on the beach make sense for you?

Americans consistently report that their favorite vacation destinations are along our country’s coasts. With water stretching out as far as you can see, sand in your toes, and breathtaking sunsets, it’s really no surprise! And how many times have you dreamed of having a place to call your own at the beach? If a beach condo is on your bucket list, maybe it’s time to take the plunge and buy a beachside condo.

If you’re going to take the plunge, the place to do it is at a beach that has name recognition and is continuously sited as one of the top beaches in the country! Here in Sarasota, we have some amazing award-winners! You can choose from secluded and quiet to bustling and exciting all in one county. We have the sugar sand of Siesta Key Beach and the grandiose atmosphere of Longboat Key or enchanted beauty of Lido Key. Do you prefer something in the realm of a more “hidden treasure”? Maybe Anna Maria Beach is more your speed.

But can you afford it?

You may be wondering if a beachfront condo or a house by the beach is out of your price range. While it is true that coastal real estate is among the most expensive real estate to own, it may be more attainable than you imagined! With condos starting at some of the lowest prices of any real estate in Sarasota/Manatee reaching well into the multi-millions, there is something to fit most any budget point! There are some great opportunities right now in our beachfront areas! It’s also important to note that rental income is just one avenue to make money on a real estate investment. The plan is to sell when property values continue to increase, therefore making money on the sale as well!

Before You Invest, You Should Know…

When you decide to buy a beachfront condo, it’s hard to get it wrong if your goal is sand and surf. If you’re buying with the intent of investment, though, you may need to be more selective. It takes a little education, but even a first time investor can make a great buy! Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Location Matters!

The old adage of “location, location, location” is true for vacation homes and investments as well as main residence purchases, although in a slightly different light. Distance and travel options from your home town are important. You want to be able to fly in or drive over without a major issue. Maybe you want an investment in your own hometown. Maybe you want a vacation destination. Either way, you want to be able to have easy access to the beach condo. If you will not be nearby, you might consider hiring a property manager. 

They can watch out to ensure that the property stays in good repair. If you are part of a condo rental pool or sometimes, just a member of a condo association, the condominium complex often has their own property managers that you can have manage it.

Property Appeal

Does the appeal of the property fit your target audience? Be sure that you are buying in a complex that tends to attract the renters or neighbors that you want to have! Certain beaches tend to draw college Spring Breakers while others tend to draw snow birds! Sometimes they are one in the same, but not always!! In our area, the beaches tend to be a popular vacation destination and that makes renting your property much easier!

Consider the Costs and the Profit Opportunity

Before you jump in, make sure you have thoroughly researched all costs associated with the rental. This will include mortgage payments, insurance, utilities, maintenance, homeowner association fees, and general upkeep.

I certainly recommend always having a professional inspection done before your purchase is final so that you are aware of any immediate, potentially expensive problems that may need to be addressed.

Be sure that your unit can earn the amount of the total annual costs. Often this means that you will be dependent upon renters in the peak season to cover expenses for the rest of the year. Be sure to have a marketing strategy, and likely a rental manager, planned to unsure the financial needs are met by the unit rentals.

Be aware that when rates are at their peak and rentals are booked, you may not be able to spend much time enjoying the property yourself. You’ll likely want those weeks of rent to cover your costs over the year. This is a price owners often pay for the ability to “have your cake and eat it too!” meaning own a rental and be able to enjoy the beachfront!

The opportunity to own your own vacation property and have a wise real estate investment is exciting! Mortgage rates are low and properties are available now. This is a great time to start your real estate investment portfolio or add to it!

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