Practically every city in the country has a number of condos available for rent or purchase just as much as it does single family homes. Both property types come with their distinct qualities and shortcomings which mean it’s crucial that one take the time to properly determine whether one scenario or the other is the ideal living situation. For purposes of this article, let’s explore some condo buying basics.

Arguably more so than single family homes, age plays an important role in determining the appeal of a condo. The condos of today come with a number of cutting edge features and a boatload of amenities than most people know what to do with. Oftentimes this means potential buyers have to pay more to live in one of these modern condos than one which was built in the early nineties or so. It’s important to remember that some of these older buildings may not come with all these extra amenities seen in newer condos.

While amenities and residential features are perhaps the biggest appeal of a condo, many of them do not include these extra perks in the sticker price in order to live there. Hence buyers may have to pay additional fees to make use of common amenities like a spa and fitness center. This stipulation also extends to pets. Many condos will boast about being “pet friendly” but do not mention the additional fees that are charged in order for them to actually live there.

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of condo living is the relative lack of creative freedom. Condo associations vary wildly in how much they allow residents to customize their condo home. Some associations allow buyers to renovate while others will only permit residents to change their interior color schemes. If customization is of the essence, strongly consider a traditional single family home instead.

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Architecture is a key part of society and culture. Nations and cities are often associated with architectural works of their native land: Paris and the Eiffel Tower, China and the Great Wall, India and the Taj Mahal. Miami has its own historic buildings, but may soon have an iconic symbol in the form of a genuine skyscraper. The Empire World Towers scheduled to be built in 2010 will soar above the Miami skyline, becoming the most prominent building in the city of Miami.

The Empire World Towers will consist of two mega buildings with a "sky bridge" connecting them, somewhat reminiscent of the Petronas Towers in Malaysia. This building will defy conventional heights for Miami skyscrapers by rising an incredible 93 stories or over 1,000 feet. The structure designed by world renowned architect Kobi Karp will be a residential building in the heart of downtown Miami.

Many people believe a lofty investment like this in a fledgling real estate market is ludicrous. The market has been on a steady decline for several years and many fear the worst for South Florida real estate. So how do these investors expect to sell so many units in a troubled market?

The huge condo project was not deterred by sour market reports for one reason: long term investments. South Florida has proven time and time again that it will persevere through any slump and handsomely reward long term investors. The project will also take two years to begin and many, including the NAR, predict the current housing slump will end in the last quarter of this year.

We shouldn't get too excited just yet, the project is still under review from the Miami City Commission. As with any project this huge, there are a lot of crucial issues that need to be debated and addressed. This project will likely have a dramatic effect on the real estate market and most think it will be positive. What effect do you think the Empire World Towers will have on Miami real estate?

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