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Buying a new condo? One word: warranties.

Owning a condo is essentially "a way of life" in Florida. Many people never own a single-family home, preferring the benefits a condo has to offer from low maintenance to location. Of course, availability is a big factor as well.

Data from June shows that the percentage of existing condo sales increased statewide by 7.2 percent with a median price of $176,820, largely due to market activity in Central Florida. With the potential for more profit, more owners could put their condos on the market, but that doesn't mean the pool is big for buyers.

2017 Florida Realtors President Maria Wells cautioned buyers that they have to "be prepared to move quickly" or they might lose the condo they set their hearts on buying.

Not only is the resale department tight, but the one for new-development is as well. Despite a big boom in commercial construction, fewer developers are spending money on residential condo development projects.

Act fast but smart - especially when buying a new condo

If you are in the market for a condo, you might have to act fast in order to close the deal. That doesn't mean you throw caution to the wind and dive in head first. Make sure you still take the time to do your due diligence.

When it comes to new condos, you must be extra vigilant. Why? One word: warranties.

Developers offer a wide range of warranties to buyers regarding construction problems such as a leaky roof or a cracked foundation. Under Florida's condominium law, buyers are even entitled to a warranty of fitness and merchantability of three years. Whether offered by the developer or required by law, these warranties helps cover the costs of repairs for many of these problems.

Like many statutes, there are loopholes. It's crucial that you review your purchase agreement and understand the various warranties before you buy.

You want to understand not only what is covered and for how long, but also the history of the property. For instance, whether it was developed as a commercial rental property or residential property could affect the warranties.

Have you had a professional review your contract? While some problems involving construction defects and warranties can be solved later, it's best to know what you are getting into first.

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