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Condo-Hotels - A New Second-Home Alternative to Time Shares
Condo-hotels have evolved as a better, more reliable second home alternative to time-shares. They are usually attractive, high-rise hotels on the ocean or in other prime locations, and range in price from the mid $200,000s to over 1 million, depending on the size, location, and amenities.
Many of the biggest names in the hotel industry have condo-hotel buildings, including Hilton, Four Seasons, Clarion, and Ritz-Carlton. Donald Trump has numerous condo- hotel facilities across the country, including a building in Fort Lauderdale and another in Sunny Isles, Florida.
In general, condo-hotel properties have been highly successful with all or nearly all units selling out within months of the first offering. For example, the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne is a beachfront property with 188 condo-hotel units, all of which sold out a year before the building was even finished. Needless to say, the values of the condo-hotels in this building have gone up significantly.
There are several reasons for the popularity of condo-hotels. When you purchase a property, you purchase a condo unit in the hotel. Unlike a time share, you have access to the property whenever you want, and it is put into a rental pool when you are not in residence. Although developers can't guarantee the properties will rent, management by a well-known hospitality group will typically result in several weeks of rental income. This is one of the biggest appeals of condo-hotels because the rental income can offset some of the costs of owning a vacation property.
In addition, the management company takes care of renting the unit, using their connections and expertise. You don't have to worry about any of these details. Most rental agreements split the income 50/50 between the management company and the owner. However, some properties offer more favorable arrangements, and this is another aspect to consider when deciding which property to purchase.
Despite the fact that the property is in a hotel setting, a condo-hotel is considered a private residence, and owners are eligible for mortgage interest deductions and all the other tax advantages that come from owning a second home. However, most condo-hotels do not allow you to live in the unit year round. This is because the management company wants to rent out the unit when you are not there, so both you and they can profit from that rental income.
Each condo-hotel property has its own residence restrictions that indicate the maximum amount of time you can live in the property. This is an important piece of information to consider before purchasing a condo-hotel unit. Most owners do not intend to live in their condo year round, so this is not a concern in typical circumstances.
Why not just rent a hotel room? In addition to the investment aspect, condo-hotels usually offer more room than a standard hotel room. Most suites are one or two bedrooms, and larger units are available. Condo-hotels typically have cooking facilities and other homey features that hotel rooms do not. This makes it ideal to have family stay with you when they come to visit.
With the advantages they offer over time shares, it's easy to see why so many people looking for a vacation property investment they can also enjoy when they want are now looking at condo-hotels.
For more on finding and buying the right condo-hotel, check out Make Your Next Home a Resort, the 2005 Guide to Condo-Hotels, Fractional Shares and Resort Residences. You can download the Guide as a pdf file at http://www.InvestingIN.com/realestate/resorts/resort4u.htm
Leon Altman is the founder of the InvestingIN Real Estate Letter - http://www.InvestingIN.com/realestate/LtrSignup3.htm - and its parent website, http://www.InvestingIN.com - a website that provides articles and newsletters about opportunities in different areas.
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