High season is just around the corner....lots of you will be coming to the island for the first time, will fall in love and will want to invest, many in condos or developments. Here's some advice for you. 1. Pre-construction/Pre-completion: (this applies to any development where there might be completed condos or villas but the whole development isn't yet completed) Don't buy that pre-construction or pre-completed condo or villa if: (a) There's no city electricity to the development. (b) The developer has net income projections of 12% of purchase price per annum or more. He's lying. (c) Ownership is by corporate share issue/co-op rather than title. In this day and age on Ambergris Caye there is no reason for new developments not to be issuing free and clear title. (d) Access is by boat only....that trip to town to get eggs and check the mail will get awfully old awfully quickly. (e) Construction seems to have stalled or there's a very limited crew on duty when you view the development during a weekday. This is a BAD sign.
2. Completed Condos/Villas (this applies to finished developments/used condos) Don't buy that completed condo or villa if: (a) There's no city electricity to the development. (b) Access is by boat only. (c) You really need great rental income in order to pay the note, condo fees AND put money in your pocket (it's not gonna happen). Rental income in a GREAT development will pay the condo fees, insurance, maintenance and part of the note. (In a rubbish pre construction/pre completion development there won't be much rental income at all....in fact you'll probably be paying out of pocket for the awful management company that the shady developer set up under his ownership...in fact the rubbish pre-construction/pre-completion development will likely never be finished). (d) The development is bank owned and condo fees have been raised drastically in the past year.
Under construction/pre-construction developments you can trust: Just about any that can pass the entire checklist above. DO NOT BUY otherwise.
If you are new to the island feel free to PM me if you would like a list of developments and developers who are top-notch and can be trusted.
#359230 - 11/27/0911:24 AMRe: Purchasing a Villa/Condo...important check list
I agree with most of what you said Chris and Although not ideal the co-op ownership is not a problem. In most cases the smaller complexes that offer the share block are not a bad way to go, you will not be able to mortgage them at the bank which in general is not an issue.
There are plenty of Strata complexes out there with more issues then those with co-op ownership.
I must strongly agree with you Chris in regards to rental income projections from developers. I would never consider buying a property where you are counting on the rental income to make a payment. Any projections that are above 50% occupancy are a dream in the short term and most of it depends on the way the management takes care of the complex and the advertising/marketing. If you are able to cover your fees and put a few dollars in your pocket you are ahead of the game.
Also in most cases what you see is what you get so don't make too many decisions based on the things that someone says are going to happen in the future.
Overall good work but you must have some specific complexes in mind with some of your comments. Which are they?
It should be a major consideration. It could be that someone is looking to get away from it all and wants this type of isolation. I would not say never buy boat access only I would simply say think about it. As Chris said it may seem like a good idea but it generally will get old in a hurry.
Having a choice is very nice. Having said that in most cases I would rather take the boat then almost any other form of transportation 99% of the time but that's just me.
If it is not practical you may not get as much enjoyment out of it.
I would also suggest that it should be a major consideration if the purchase is more of an investment then a personal use property. What you like may not be what the masses like. When it comes to selling you want the largest possible pool of potential buyers for a quick sale.
TravelinMan, that you say that you would rather take the boat 99% of the time, is still a bit disengenuous. There are many days that taking a boat to town is a very rough option, and others where it is not an option at all.
A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?
I would say anything where there is a road (albeit terrible in places) north of Grand Caribe is not "Boat Access Only". When I say "Boat Access Only" I mean year-round.
BTW, the road up to to Grand Caribe is quite good most of the time and Grand Caribe IS north of Tres Cocos. It's north of there that it gets bad.
I don't need to put a list of those developments I consider a bad deal for future investors. Any new buyer who follows the guidelines listed above will be able to easily sort out the wheat from the crap.
#359281 - 11/27/0906:15 PMRe: Purchasing a Villa/Condo...important check list
Nice work, Chris; funny thing, I was going to put a new article on my blog tomorrow dealing with Ambergris Caye condos (but dealing with the aspect of rental management). Do you mind if I also put an article in quoting your checklist, with a link back to your r.e. site?