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What to expect when buying a condo in Miami with an agent

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

If you're buying a condo in Miami, you're in for some exciting times. Many buyers flock to Miami as it has something to offer everyone, from its world-famous beaches to its lively nightlife. Buying a condo in Miami is not like buying a house. The process is much more complex and can be pretty lengthy. Here's what to expect when buying a condo in Miami.

In this article

What is the process when purchasing a condo in Miami

Buying a condo in Miami is a big decision, and it's essential to be prepared for the process. Condo buying is different from buying a single-family home. In Miami, buying a condo is also different from buying a condo in other cities. The first step is to research different neighborhoods and find one that fits your budget and lifestyle.

Then it would help if you got pre-approved for a mortgage to get a better idea of what you can afford. Condos include an association fee that can be a bit high in Miami and affect the amount a lender is willing to offer you. Your down payment can also limit you to a smaller pool of condo buildings.

Once you have identified the perfect neighborhood and pre-approval, it's time to search for properties, and that's where we'll discuss the process.

  1. The search

  2. Showings

  3. Making an offer

  4. Under contract

  5. The condo associations' application process

  6. Closing

Searching for condos in Miami (The Search)

The first step of your search is to browse listings online. Many real estate websites have information about different properties and neighborhoods, so this is a great place to start your search. Your real estate agent will also be sending you listings to view online.

What to expect

  • Unfortunately, many listings may not be available. Agents tend not to keep the listing updated and may keep the listing active even though the listing is under contract or sold.

  • Information may not be accurate, and some listings may not include photos.

  • Listing portals like Zillow act as middlemen between you and real estate agents. When you inquire about a listing, these sites may pair you with a real estate agent as most of their revenue comes from providing leads to real estate agents.

Things to look for and look past

  • Association fee amount. When buying a condo in Miami, this fee is significant as it can affect your buying power if you're taking out a loan.

  • Mention special assessments, which you may be responsible for if you purchase a condo with special assessments.

  • Days on the market. Listings that have been on the market for longer than a month might be overpriced or have some issues.

Also, when you are searching online, you may find listings that are for sale by the owner. These listings won't be included with the listings that your agent is sending you. For sale by owners looking to save money on real estate commissions but typically will compensate a buyer's agent as they will save on paying the entire commission. So if you happen to see a for sale by the owner, let your agent know so that they can contact the owner to schedule a showing.

Seeing condos in person (Showings)

Once you have shortlisted a few properties, it's time to see them. Make sure to have your real estate agent accompany you on all showings.

What to expect

  • Your agent will schedule the showings for you.

  • The listing agent or a tenant living in the condo may be present.

  • Condos may have tenants in place, so that showings may be limited, and you may have to view the property while tenants are living in the condo.

  • There may be mishaps with lockboxes and listing agents.


Things to look for and look past

  • Condos may have tenants or an owner living in the property, so you may have to look past their property and image yourself and your style in the unit.

  • Elevator talk. If you share the elevator with a resident, ask how they like living in the building and if they're an owner. You may get some insight into how living in the condo may be.

  • If there is a tenant in place, ask them how they like living in the condo.

Some listing agents or owners may require a pre-approval or proof of funds before you may view the property. This requirement may be controversial regarding housing laws and discrimination, but it's still a common practice from my experience.

Depending on the market, there may or may not be a sense of urgency when viewing properties. In a hot market, you may be up against many other buyers, which means if you like a listing, there may be many others that share the same interest, and the condo may not be on the market long enough for you to take your time to view other listings.

Making an offer

When buying a condo in Miami, you will want to make a fair offer for yourself and the seller. You will need to research the condo's market value and make an offer within your budget. It is also essential to understand the type of market you're buying in at the time.

In a buyers market: You will have more leverage and may offer a lower than asking price. However, being in a buyer's market doesn't mean you should make a low-ball offer.

In a seller's market: The seller will have more leverage as there are many other buyers and offers for the seller to choose from. You may need to make an offer at asking or even above asking.

In a neutral market: Leverage will be balanced between the buyer and seller.

If you're taking out a mortgage, you should know that about 50% of condo purchases in the greater Miami area are cash purchases. So you may face some challenges if you're purchasing with a loan. Cash offers are much more enticing to sellers, and they are likely to accept a cash offer over an offer contingent on securing a loan.

What else to expect

  • You will need to make a formal offer in a purchase contract. The contract will include the offer price, proposed closing date, contingencies, etc.

  • Hiring a title company and placing funds in escrow.

  • You should receive information regarding the condo.

  • The owner will either accept, reject or counter your offer.


Going under contract

During this process, you and the seller must fulfill the duties laid out in the contract. As the buyer, you must carry out your responsibilities promptly. During this time, you will need to do the following.

  • Hire a title company

  • Submit your loan application

  • Apply to the condo association

  • Schedule an inspection

  • Purchase condo insurance

  • Review condo documents. Bylaws, Rules, and Regulations, Financials.

What to expect

  • Additional parties will be added to the transaction, title, mortgage, condo association, and insurance.

  • There will be deadlines to meet.

  • If you're taking out a loan, any significant purchases or job changes can cause your deal to fall through.

  • The title company should research the property for any title liens and permits.

Things to look for

  • Wire fraud. When buying a home, many homebuyers fall victim to wire fraud. Never give personal information via email and verify any wire instructions with the title/escrow company over the phone.

  • Take a look at the condo documents and make sure you are ok with the rules and regulations. Also, review the financials; if a condo association doesn't have adequate reserves, you may need to expect special assessments for repairs in renovations if it's an older building.

  • Professionals in Miami aren't always professional, and there are many moving parts in a condo-buying transaction, and things can fall through the cracks.

Then condo association application process

When buying a condo in Miami, you must apply directly to the association. The condo association may ask for a fee of up to $100 for an application. They may run your credit and do a background check. You may need to submit documents with your application, including the purchase agreement.

What to expect

  • Some condo associations may still charge more than $100.

  • Associations may have pet restrictions and may require a deposit.

  • You may have to pay for a condo questionnaire which your lender may require.

  • The process can take some time, upward to 4 weeks.

  • The application may be paper, and you may need to submit it in person.

  • An in-person interview may be required.

  • You may need to coordinate a moving-in date and reserve a service elevator.

Closing on your new condo

When buying a condo in Miami, the final step is to close on the property after the condo association approves you. The closing process involves going through a series of steps and meeting with different people, including your real estate agent and the title company.

What to expect

  • You will have the option to do a final walkthrough of the condo to ensure it is in the condition when you toured the property and made an offer.

  • Hold off on any major purchase, even if it's furniture or appliances for the condo. Making a large purchase can kill your deal if you're financing.

  • You may meet at the title company's office to close on your purchase. You may need to bring any additional closing funds and will need to sign the final paperwork.

  • You will receive the keys to your condo!


When buying a condo in Miami, it is essential to research and find the right neighborhood for you. Once you have found a condo that fits your budget and meets your lifestyle needs, you are prepared to make an offer and negotiate with the seller. If all goes well, you will be able to purchase the condo and enjoy everything that Miami has to offer.


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