What You NEED to know before purchasing your Sanibel Condo
Many of our clients are familiar with purchasing real estate but are not aware of the important considerations when searching for Sanibel condos for sale. To make the best decision, you need to first determine how you plan to enjoy your condo. Is the condo going to be primarily used for vacations, rentals, second home or permanent residence. The answer to this question will inform you as to what Sanibel condos for sale you should include in your search. If rental income is important, you need to limit your search to condo complexes that allow 7 day (or less) minimum rentals. You should also understand how to maximize your vacation rental income.
Besides price, Rental Restrictions may be your Most Important consideration
Too often, folks don’t pay enough attention to the rental rules in place in the condo community. This is a critical consideration even if you don’t plan renting out your Sanibel condo. Condo communities fall into three rental categories:
Condos that Allow Daily Rentals
The City of Sanibel incorporated in 1974 and put in place a minimum rental period of 7 days for condos; however, some condo complexes are grandfathered in to allow daily rentals. This least restrictive status allows you to maximize the your rental income. During high season, weekly rentals are the norm, but off-season offering shorter term rentals lets you rent your unit when it may otherwise sit empty. See all Sanibel condos for sale that allow less than 7 day rentals
Condos that Allow Weekly Rentals
Along with Daily rental communities, Sanibel condos that allow weekly rentals are a great option if you want to earn rental income. Though these complexes are favored by vacationers, many folks that own in these communities use them as second homes (or even full time residences). These complexes will experience a lot of turn over on Saturdays as renters check out and check in. During season, the pool and beaches will be busier as vacationers are out enjoying what Sanibel has to offer. Units located near pools can get more noise from families and children playing. Overall, these complexes are generally busier than condos limited to monthly rentals. See all Sanibel condos for sale that have a 7 day rental restriction.
Condos that are limited to Monthly Rentals
Sanibel condo communities that limit rentals to monthly (and few that have 14 day minimums) cater to owners that want a second home or permanent residence. Many even have additional rental restrictions. Essentially, these condo communities should be avoided if you are looking for any rental income. However, these communities tend of offer more peace and quiet. There is no Saturday change-over. Your neighbors are likely owners. Many units are only used a few months of the year. The pool and beaches are less busy and units near the pools are less affected by noise. See all Sanibel condos for sale that require longer than 7 day rentals.
Location and View
Gulf view condos on Sanibel Island command a significant premium in price. Most of Sanibel condos for sale are located on the beach, but not all the units will have a Gulf view. Many have partial Gulf views and still others enjoy beautiful island scenery. We have a few condo complexes located across the street from the beach. These complexes offer easy beach access at a sometimes significantly lower price. Some of these are popular rentals for vacationers looking to spend a little less. The few inland and bay view condos can make excellent choices for a second home, but are not as popular for vacation rentals. View all Gulf-front Sanibel condos for sale.
East-end vs West-end Sanibel Condos
Sunset from a West-end Sanibel beach
Sanibel Island is somewhat crescent shaped and is unique in that the beaches on the “East-end” face out more to the South, then as you move further westward the beach faces more out to the West. Many folks enjoy the sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico that are better viewed from West-end beaches and condos. The East-end was developed earlier and the mid-island has some of the largest condo complexes. Many of the West-end condos were built later and are smaller complexes. Also the beaches along the West-end are mostly residential, so the beaches can be sparsely populated. That said, even the busiest beaches on Sanibel are not crowded by most standards.
Condo Fees and Taxes
Association fees for Gulf-front condos can range from around $500/month to over $1200/month. These may seem high, but it is important to understand that these fees include insurance for the main structures, including windstorm and flood insurance. You will have to insure the interior of your unit (usually from the studs in). The association fees also cover the exterior maintenance of the buildings, grounds, pool, parking and amenities. The salt air from the surf is especially tough on Gulf-front structures. Generally, the fees tend to be higher in communities with few units. When you have a condo under contract, it is Florida state law that you be provided the condo association documents and budget. You have 3 days from receipt to review these document to make sure you are comfortable with the condo association. If not, you can cancel your contract without penalty.
Though the tax amount is often displayed on listings for Sanibel condos for sale, this is the tax amount the current owners are paying, not what you will pay. The tax basis will be reassessed based your purchase price so you will end up paying a different amount. A rule of thumb is to budget about 1.5% of your purchase price as a guess on for your property taxes.