While the red-hot real estate market in Florida shows some signs of cooling, home prices continue to climb. In fact, according to reporting from FOX35, the average cost of a detached house in the Sunshine State is now more than $400,000. Unless you have a sizeable down payment and an excellent credit history, purchasing a standalone residence simply may be out of reach.
In many parts of Florida, condos and other detached dwellings sell for a relative bargain. If you decide to purchase a place in a multi-unit building, though, you are going to encounter at least one party wall. A party wall is a wall that separates your residence from your neighbor’s.
The party wall agreement
Many buildings that have party walls also have existing party wall agreements. These agreements tell owners what they must, can and cannot do with regard to the party wall.
For example, the agreement may prohibit you from modifying the wall while requiring you to maintain your side of it. It also may describe a procedure for dealing with any disputes you have with your neighbor or neighbors.
Your due diligence
Even though party wall agreements are standard in multi-unit buildings, you have probably never seen one. Because the agreement both outlines your rights as a homeowner and places some restrictions on them, it is critical to get your hands on the agreement before closing.
If the agreement seems too burdensome, you may want to keep looking for your next home. Ultimately, though, an attorney may be able to advise you on updating or otherwise modifying the agreement to better suit your needs.