What you need to know BEFORE buying a condominium at The Bluffs in Jupiter, Florida.
The Bluffs is a fabulous beachside community that features over 2,600 private residences in six subdivisions. It is located in the heart of Jupiter, Florida with oceanfront properties available. Building commenced in 1984, and each unit ranges from 1,300 square feet up to 2,000 square feet. Many feature two bedrooms, but some have three bedrooms.
The ample features and amenities of The Bluffs community are a big draw for homebuyers. Of course, the ocean views are spectacular from many of the waterfront homes. Condo owners further from the ocean enjoy scenic and easy access via a special pathway.
Homeowners can also enjoy the pool, tennis courts, pickleball court, basketball courts, and park with playground, all available within the Bluffs community. When deciding to buy a home in The Bluffs, use this checklist to ensure that community-style living is for you. Find out everything you need to know about buying a Florida condominium.
1. Look up the HOA website and check for HOA Reviews
The first step when purchasing a home in a community like The Bluffs is checking out the Homeowner’s Association (HOA). You will pay fees to the HOA, which will aid in the upkeep and maintenance of the community and its shared amenities. More than that, the HOA is in charge of the governance of the community. With the residents’ input, they decide on the rules and regulations for the community. This could include everything from owning pets to permission to change the color of the front door.
You want to do your research regarding what sort of involvement is necessary as a member of The Bluffs community. Before you can close on your home, you need to complete an application and interview process with the HOA. Additionally, you will sign a contract stating you acknowledge of the rules and regulations. Do your due diligence by researching the HOA through reviews online. You stand to learn from those who have lived in the community and have shared their experiences.
You can also easily find the minutes of HOA meetings online, which reveal what sort of issues are discussed and how well the HOA handles conflict resolution. These serve as an excellent metric of the HOA. Not only will you discover if you agree with the HOA’s actions, you can also determine how efficiently the organization runs. Since you will pay monthly dues to the HOA, it’s not very different from researching a company before buying shares of stock.
2. Ensure your home complies with HOA rules
Each HOA has its own set of governing rules, so find out what rules apply in your community. Not only do you need to follow the rules, but your home needs to comply with existing regulations. There is a chance that the home you are interested in does not presently comply. Get a copy of the most current list of regulations and speak to your real estate professional to ensure the home is in compliance.
If it is not, you can decide to offer it as a condition of purchase in your purchase agreement that the seller get the home up to par with the HOA rules. Otherwise, you’ll be required to make the requisite changes before you can take possession. This could be a costly endeavor. Alternatively, if you are in a position to make those changes before moving in, you could use it as a bargaining chip when making an offer.
3. Understand the fee structure
HOA fees help to ensure a good quality of life for the residents of the community and protect the values associated with home ownership in the community. It is imperative that you find out what the fees are on your particular unit when searching for a home in The Bluffs. Use this knowledge to budget accordingly and purchase a home that fits your lifestyle and budget.
You’ll then want to find out what your fees pay for within the community. Understand if the fees cover items like cable, pest control, and garbage pickup. Get a detailed list of where your fees go on an annual basis, so you can make the right decision knowing exactly what you are paying for. Consider finding out how often HOA fees increase and how the increases are set. Get the history of the HOA dues and the reserve fund. If there have been special assessments in the past, find out if the future holds more in store.
4. Consider primary property elements
The primary property elements to consider when looking at Bluffs homes for sale are property age, style, and location.
Age: The oldest Bluffs properties were built in 1984, placing all homes within the threshold for relatively modern homes. If you plan to own a property for longer than 10 years, then you may want to research the future resale value of the older properties. Otherwise, there is little to worry about.
Style: Consider architectural style, not only in terms of your personal preference, but also in terms of resale value. Choosing a home with sound and aesthetic architecture is the best way to retain significant resale value.
Location: Especially in terms of an active retirement lifestyle, The Bluffs are well situated. Shopping is only minutes away. The Bluffs are located near the Palm Beach Gardens Mall and the downtown core. The Bluffs Marina has dockage for vessels up to 130’ with 102 deep water slips and metered electric service, so your boat has a convenient and safe home in the community too.
It is also important to consider the type of property that best suits your long-term needs, whether a single family home, condominium, or townhouse. We have compiled this pros and cons infographic to help you decide which is best for you.
Potential buyers should also be aware that there are seven separate HOA communities that comprise The Bluffs. They are Bluffs Ocean, Bluffs River, Bluffs Marina, and Bluffs Ridge. You can check out listed homes available in each community using the links provided. However, you can also do an advanced MLS listing search.
5. Compare the amenities
Amenities are an important part of any community, and you should be aware of what The Bluffs has to offer. Among other things, it means easy access to features like an outdoor pool, a playground, and additional recreational opportunities that contribute to a more active, luxurious lifestyle. After doing your research on what’s available in a condo community, it can be easy to see what your HOA fees go towards and their value. Photos of The Ridge at The Bluffs can be viewed here.
6. Find out the percentage of owners vs. renters
When buying any home, you want to find out what percentage of renters occupies the community, as opposed to owners. Resale and financing issues can occur in communities with large numbers of owner-occupancy rates. Alternatively, a large number of renters in a community can mean that homes receive less than ideal care. Homeowners tend to put a better foot forward on this front. Additionally, there could be noise or other issues concerning compliance with HOA rules.
7. Research property management
Both under- and over-management are potential problems in a community like The Bluffs. The proper balance of management ensures the success of the HOA and the community in a reliable and cost-effective manner. Find out whether there is a professional management team or if the community manages itself. Professional managers will ensure regular property maintenance and financial credibility. A volunteer management system does have positive attributes, like cheaper HOA fees. However, it could also mean that the association doesn’t complete tasks in a timely or professional manner.
8. Do your research regarding insurance
Living in a beachfront Florida community requires that you obtain special insurance to protect against common hazards. You’ll definitely want to research home insurance in The Bluffs community concerning the cost and coverage. There are many special considerations to take into account. For example, flood insurance for a second story condo may look different than for the ground floor.
Enquire about what the master insurance policy for the condo community covers. It should include a minimum of $1 million in coverage for your unit. You’ll want to have your own HO-6 policy that covers the interior of the home and its contents. Not all master policies cover these in the event of a problem arising from a common area event (i.e., roof leak, burst water pipe).
These eight factors represent the primary things you need to consider about buying a Florida condominium. If you are serious about buying a home in The Bluffs, get in touch with the experts, who can point you further in the right direction and help you find the right home. You can also contact The Bluffs HOA here. Without leaving the comfort of home, you can check out home and amenity tours online, which will help you in your decision.