A Canadian Condo Shopping in Florida

Once I decided to move forward and buy a condo in Florida, I started to plan how to do it.  As a Canadian, it can be daunting.  How will I find a property, what are the laws, how will I get financing, how will I ever get it renovated? You can quickly talk yourself out of it.

The best advice is to speak to friends and family who may have contacts or recommendations for a great real estate agent.  Once you have this relationship set, begin the process to build a list of properties you would like to visit.  I spent several weeks with my good friend, Godfather, and agent Domenic Pedicelli —  to prepare and identify these properties.   There are great sites such as Zillow.com and Realtor.com to help the search.  We exchanged countless emails and discussions.  We decided to eliminate “short sales” from our list.  These properties require bank approval for the sale, and the process can be lengthy and fail.  I decided to get up-front financing through my bank in Montreal, so that I was prepared to make an “all-cash” offer with written proof of financing.  I planned a one-week trip to Hollywood Florida, with all viewings lined up - and we started the viewing process.  What I witnessed was scary.  Many properties were in major disrepair and in dire need of renovation.  Initially, my goal was to own an oceanfront property.  Budget reality soon set in, and I opted to narrow my search to the intracoastal side of the A1A.

South-facing properties with a large balcony were criteria, as a sunny outdoor space was a priority.  I also needed to assure that I could rent the property freely without too many restrictions.  Many condo associations post their monthly newsletters, so this is an insightful way to assess the state of affairs.  Building structural issues or severe financial assessments are often addressed in these newsletters.  Setting your priorities up front helps with the selection process.  Another tip is to be prepared to make renovations. The Hallandale condo I decided to buy was a MESS.  Domenic helped me look beyond the old pink carpet, popcorn ceilings, and 1970s decor, to see that the space had loads of potential and was basically already a functional space.  Most condos in the Hollywood and Hallandale area were built in the 1970s, so you have to KEEP AN OPEN MIND.  

A Great View

Balcony – Needs some TLC

Pretty In Pink – Living Room

Pretty In Pink – Dining Room

Kitchen Disaster

Guest Bedroom – Not Very Welcoming

Master Bedroom

Master Bathroom – Wallpaper Heaven

Guest Bathroom and More Wallpaper….

With a few changes, you can transform the property into the vacation home of your dreams. Stick around, and I will walk you through my renovations, share my tips, so you can see just how I did it!

RIP Lefty – you will be missed.

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