Clearwater Beach condos on Sand Key, Island Estates and Clearwater Beach proper – that’s what I spent a lot of time the last 2 weeks looking at with a client and got a lot of nice photos and some good information about the current state of the market in relation to just these condos.  A lot of the information I already knew but some was new to me and I’m going to share it all with you here.  (And you can see all the photos I took on my Facebook Page.)

First, the strength of the overall market can also be seen with condos in the 3 Clearwater Beach areas.  This is particularly true of certain types of condos such as ones that don’t often come on the market.  The picture above was taken from an end unit condo in a complex that only has 2 of these per floor and in this particular building this was the first one for sale in at least 6-7 years.  There were a couple of other end unit condos in other buildings in this complex but they were priced much higher so this was the most reasonably priced one.  It had 2 offers within 3 days of coming on the market and went under contract with 24 hours after that.  The 2 offers were close in price but one was a cash offer and the other involved financing – the cash offer won out.

This brings up the second point which has to do with getting financing for a condo purchase.  Though things have improved in the last year or so regarding financing for condos here, it is by no means a sure-fire thing again yet.  If you are planning a purchase where you will be getting some financing you should work only with a local lender and a loan officer who has been successful in getting financing for beach area condos recently.  One other thing I’ve done for my client is check recent sales in complexes he had interest in – if they had any sales this year that involved financing then we would tell that that particular complex would have an easier time getting approved.

The third point has to do with pricing.  With a  low inventory like we have had recently (and still have) you will find that prices are up from where they were last year so if you want to get an idea of the current market value of a specific condo it is best to compare to sales no further back than the last 3 months (this can be stretched to 6 months if needed but no further than that).

Clearwater Beach condos in any of the 3 areas that are priced well are generally selling pretty quickly, especially those with a good location or view and if they are in good condition or have been upgraded.  This has lead some sellers to think that the market has bounced back more than it has and that they are in a position to get a lot more than the actual market value of their condo.  This can happen once in a while but from what I’ve seen the condos that are overpriced by a lot are just sitting there and are not selling.

Those situations where a Clearwater Beach condo for sale gets multiple offers and sells for above the asking price are usually seen when the condo is priced either at, below or a reasonable amount above the market value.  Condos that have a great view and have been completely redone and/or upgraded nicely are the ones that are most fought over when they are priced right.  Condos that need a lot of work or upgrading but are priced well below others in the same complex or area also can see competitive offers but are not fought over as much unless they are a real steal.

It’s important to know which category a condo falls in because if you make an incorrect assumption you can lose out very quickly on what was really a good deal, thinking it wouldn’t sell quickly, or you could overpay for a condo thinking it will sell quickly.

Another point to watch when looking at Clearwater Beach condos for sale is the monthly fees.  These tend to be higher than in complexes away from the beach areas because of the higher insurance costs and increase maintenance needs due to the corrosive effects of the salt air.  Although when you compare the monthly maintenance fees by price per square foot, they aren’t a huge amount higher than other condo complexes.  But you should be aware of this and prepared for it.

Beach condos and those in areas like Island Estates have been and always will have a strong interest for a lot of people and sales of these condos in the last 18 months have been very strong.  From what I’m seeing, we may have already hit bottom for Clearwater Beach condos last year and it is very likely, barring any unforeseen circumstances, that we are looking at prices increasing from this point.  So if you have been waiting for the right time you might want to think about taking the plunge now but you should be prepared for the fact that it is a more competitive market for buyers to act in.