Josephine Godinez, PA
February 2010

Considerations When Buying a Condo - Monthly Fees

February 18, 2010 by Josephine · Leave a Comment 

At current price levels, condominiums have a lot going for them…if you are the right buyer. So, who is considered the right buyer? If you enjoy a great number of community amenities including athletic facilities, pools, playgrounds and fully-outfitted clubhouses, a condominium might be right for you. If you’d prefer to not get your hands dirty with exterior maintenance such as painting and lawn care, a condominium might be right for you. If you are looking to spend less on the list price of a property, a condominium might be right for you. Here’s where you need to consider the “total cost of ownership”.

Those of of us who live in single family homes typically pay individual fees for lawn maintenance, tree trimming, pool cleaning and any exterior property repairs to our own home as well as a homeowners association fee to cover the maintenance and/or security of common grounds and professional expenses (e.g. lawyers, accountants, etc.) for the community. For those who live in condominiums, all of these individual expenses are typically rolled up into one condo association fee…and oftentimes they are not cheap. When considering the purchase of a condominium, it is imperative that you consider the “total cost of ownership”.

Case in point, a current client was considering the purchase of a beautiful 3 / 2 condominium in a community  that offered just about every amenity conceivable for her and her family. The asking price was right at $179,000 but the $450 monthly association fee came as a shock. To her credit, she was willing to analyze the purchase from both quality of life and financial perspectives. The condo was only a few years old, the unit featured numerous upgrades including the gourmet kitchen that she had dreamed of, the community was in a preferred school district and much closer to her job than was the case with her current rental. Perhaps most importantly, she came to realize that her overall cost basis would still be lower if she purchased the condo vs. purchasing a single family home at the higher price point and with all of those individual expenses.

After we conducted a bit more due diligence into the condominium association fees, and any potential variability therein, my client made the decision to move forward and is anxiously awaiting closing date next month. The bottom line is that prospective condominium owners must do their homework and work with qualified Realtors who will assist them in understanding the pros and cons of condo ownership.

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Hometown Highlights: Weston, Florida

February 4, 2010 by Josephine · Leave a Comment 

In this new quarterly series called “Hometown Highlights”, I plan on sharing with you those attributes that make the communities in which I work so special. We’ll start with a wonderful place that I personally call home – Weston, Florida.

Weston is a special place to live for many reasons. Bordered by the communities of Southwest Ranches, Davie and Sunrise in Western Broward County, Weston is self-contained and fully planned. Driving into the City of Weston on Royal Palm Boulevard is very much like entering your own private oasis from the hustle and bustle of the outside world.

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Living in Weston, Florida

Weston, Florida is home to approximately 62,000 residents (as of 2009), including such notable athletes and celebrities as Hall-of-Fame quarterback Dan Marino, current and former MLB players Al Leiter, Jose Canseco, Bartolo Colón and Jeff Conine, current and former NBA players Rodney Rodgers and Eddie Jones, famed boxing trainer Angelo Dundee and U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz. In 2008, Money Magazine ranked Weston as the #1 place to live in Florida and the 73rd best place to live in the United States.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the City of Weston is comprised of just over 26 square miles; roughly 10% of which is water. Considered a “bedroom community”, Weston contains approximately 22,600 homes in such developments as Weston Hills Country Club, Windmill Ranches, Savanna, The Ridges, Isles of Weston, Bonaventure and North Lakes.

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Weston, Florida Schools

The public schools in Weston are truly exceptional; each consistently receiving “A” grades based upon student performance. Elementary schools include Everglades, Gator Run, Indian Trace and Manatee Bay. Middle schools include Falcon Cove and Tequesta Trace. High schools include Cypress Bay and the recently opened West Broward. Additionally, there are several charter and private schools within the city limits including Imagine and Sagemont.

Enjoying the Great Outdoors in Weston, Florida

Weston was conceived with the idea of providing a safe, enjoyable and entertaining place to live and work for adults and children, alike. The City of Weston provides many opportunities for outdoor fun through its park system that includes Weston Regional, Tequesta Trace and Vista Parks. To give you a sense for the commitment that Weston residents and officials have made to city recreational areas, Weston Regional park (pictured below) is 102 acres and includes  the state-of-the-art Sheinberg Family YMCA facility, 8 baseball / softball fields, 8 soccer / football fields, 8 basketball courts, 4 full-sized roller hockey rinks, 3 junior-size roller hockey rinks, 2 sand volleyball courts, two playgrounds, 1 skate park and free Wi-Fi throughout! Weston also features world-class golf at the Robert Trent Jones-designed course at Weston Hills or Bonaventure Country Club and tennis at Weston Hills or the Weston Tennis Center.

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Dining and Shopping in Weston, Florida

Restaurants abound in Weston, with dining establishments ranging from the relaxing local pizza joint to one of the finest steakhouses in the country and everything in between. Located in the heart of Weston, the Weston Town Center features restaurants such as Japan Inn, The Cheese Course, Fresh – The Martini Bar, East City Grill and Kilwin’s Homemade Ice Cream. Boutique shops include Fiorelli Men’s Apparel, Royal Art Gallery, Applewoods Spa, The Gifted Child and Barbara Palacios Jewelry. Barbara, by the way, is a former Miss Universe and current resident of Weston. Can’t find what you need in Weston? No worries, as the world-renowned Sawgrass Mills mall is a mere 20 minutes to the north.

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Commuting To and From Weston, Florida

Below please find a short list of notable destinations and their respective distances from Weston:

Ft. Lauderdale – Las Olas Boulevard, Beaches and International Airport: 18 – 25 miles

Sunrise – Sawgrass Mills Mall and Bank Atlantic Center (NHL Florida Panthers): 13 miles

North Miami – Sun Life Stadium (NFL Miami Dolphins & MLB Florida Marlins): 20 miles

Downtown Miami – American Airlines Arena (NBA Miami Heat), South Beach and Port of Miami: 28 – 38 miles

Palm Beach County – Boca Raton, Worth Avenue, Mar-a-Lago and The Breakers: 40 – 70 miles

Naples – Florida’s west coast beaches (Gulf of Mexico): 95 miles

Moving to Weston, Florida

Regardless of whether you are moving up from Miami, down from New York or across the country from California, I encourage you to consider making Weston, Florida your home. Call me a “homer”, but I truly can’t imagine a better place to raise a family in Florida. If you are interested in learning more about moving to Weston, please contact me at your earliest convenience.

Josephine Godinez, PA