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  • Writer's pictureMaria Luisa Castellanos

Want to buy that condo - really?

Updated: Mar 22, 2023

Condo remodeling is not easy, not as easy as remodeling a single-family house.

Photo of remodeled condo by United Architects

There are certain things you need to consider.

First, are you happy with the location of the plumbing walls? Moving major plumbing walls is almost surely an impossibility. You may be able to change a toilet from a floor-exiting one to a wall-exiting one, and with that moving the toilet just a little, but the main vertical line of plumbing cannot be changed. So make sure you don’t plan on relocating a bathroom to another area of the apartment.

Another important issue is the required asbestos report for an apartment remodeling which would not be required for a single-family residence, at least in Miami-Dade County. If there is asbestos in the condo, it can be an expensive item to remediate. It would be a good idea to ask about this before closing on the apartment with the management of the building. They may know if other buyers have had to remediate any asbestos.

If an exhaust to the outside for a stove is important to you, unless there is already a duct for this exhaust to which it can connect, this will likely be another item which will likely be an impossibility.

Most of the time the condo association will not allow you to change the exterior look of the apartment, so enclosing the terrace balcony will probably be difficult, although occasionally, I have seen condo associations which allow this exterior modification.

Because, again, the condo association bylaws often do not allow exterior changes to the apartment, changing to a different style of windows, or the heights or widths of these windows, will not be allowed either.

The location of an A/C unit could also prove difficult to move. A/C units have drainage pipes and the A/C has to drain to the existing pipes for that. So maintaining the unit near the general vicinity of where it is now is a good idea.

But now that I have told you many the things for which to watch out, what can you do in a condominium. There are many things which can be done. Among them are changing the floor finish. If putting in porcelain tile, make sure to put the required floor insulation below the tile.

Bathrooms, bedrooms, and closets can be made bigger or smaller as long as there is no plumbing in the walls that are moving. Remember, however, that every time a wall moves so does the electrical in that wall. When a wall is moved, the ceiling and the floor have to be patched or large areas replaced.

Kitchens can be completely remodeled by changing out the appliances and cabinets or as long as the water supply and drainage pipes can be accommodated when the sink and dishwasher are moved.

Lastly, the condo association almost surely has regulations on when construction materials can be moved up and down the elevator(s). This can make the project more cumbersome for the contractor, which means more costly for you.

But if you are still intent on buying that condo, call me at 305-439-7898. We have experience and we can make the process easier for you. If you email me, I can send you a checklist for your use on what to checkout before buying. My email is


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