Leasing vs Buying Your Land

A Look at “Lease Land” Communities & Monthly Fees

As you research and visit retirement communities in the State of Florida, you might find yourself asking this very question, “What are the monthly fees?”

It’s a common question, and an important one at that, and for some perspective buyers, this question may come with a bit of angst.

If you’re not familiar with the leased-land concept, this monthly lease fee scenario can appear unjust. So, to best help you grasp the concept of leased-land, 55-plus communities, Blair Group has outlined some of the most common questions we receive about monthly fees, also known as lot fees, lot leases and homesite payments.

Q: Is it common to pay a monthly lease or lot fee?

Over 95 percent of the leading manufactured home communities in Florida lease their lots to residents. This FL map_5 locationswould have to mean there is a sensible reason for doing so, right? … That’s correct.

When the community’s land is leased, it means the community maintains ownership of all of the ground along with the responsibilities of owning it. That’s good reason #1.

Q: How is leasing the land a more affordable option?

Most of us have grown up feeling as though the American dream is to own your own home and the land it sits on. But, if you can achieve a dream of owning your own low-maintenance manufactured home, completely customizing it to your liking, and purchasing it for a very affordable price without depleting much of your nest egg upfront to do so, then that would lead you to good reason #2.

To put it into perspective, let’s say you recently sold your home and are relocating to Florida. After paying your mortgage, realtor fees, and any other miscellaneous outstanding “debts,” you have a comfortable $65,000 leftover that you can put toward your new Florida home.

If you’re looking to purchase the land your home sits on, you can expect to pay anywhere from $40,000-55,000. With that said you’ll have $10,000-25,000 leftover to put toward the purchase of your next home.

Although you can find homes priced in this category, it will certainly be difficult to find one that fits everything on your wish list. And really, why settle for less?

Carthage_condensedLet’s say you find the perfect model home in a nice single family home community and it’s the total package. The home is move-in-ready and you can close next week. But it’s listed for $140,000. Some of you may dip into savings account to fund the rest of the purchase based on the liquid cash you have from your recent settlement. Others of you may need to finance the rest.

While both of these are fine options, if you opted to lease the land, you could’ve shaved off an average of $50,000 from the purchase price, giving you the opportunity to invest those funds for future endeavors.

Because leasing the land helps retirees secure their nest egg, this structure has been proven to be preferred among buyers, that’s why it’s a common offering among most of Florida’s 55+ communities.

Q: Do you still pay monthly fees when you own the land?

Yes. Many folks forget that there is still a monthly maintenance fee if you choose to reside in a community where you purchase your land. The fee is based upon the amount of amenities and the quality lifestyle that is offered to55 Plus Communities the residents.

Blair Group actually offers an in-depth overview of the cost to lease the land in a 55+ community over a 10-year period versus purchasing it upfront. Depending on several circumstances, leasing will almost always save you money … thousands of dollars in fact!
*We’d be happy to customize and discuss this breakdown with you, just give us a call: 800-888-3789.

Q: What about real estate taxes?

In a lease land scenario, you forego the responsibility of paying 100 percent of the real estate taxes associated with the land your home sits upon. Instead, the percentage of taxes you are responsible for are included in your monthly lot/lease fee payment.

Q: What is included in the monthly lot lease fee?

Lease fees vary considerably from community to community, so it’s very important to investigate what bang you get for your buck.

Blair Group’s communities are very competitively priced considering their convenient locations, the lifestyles they offer and their value-added features, which include: luxury, resort-style amenities like expansive clubhouses, swimming pools and other outdoor recreation; planned activities; professional onsite management;  enforcement of community standards; street lighting and maintenance plus sidewalk and street repairs; common area landscaping; maintenance of all common areas including clubhouses, pools and fitness centers; community access control; and so on. In some of Blair Group’s communities, the monthly fees may also include lawn maintenance, trash removal, homesite irrigation maintenance, and then some.

In general, the cost of utilities (electric, water, sewer and cable/internet) are the responsibility of each homeowner; paid directly to the service provider.

Q: How much do monthly fees increase?

Blair Group’s manufactured home communities offer “Guaranteed Leases,” which ensure that lease fees can only increase once per year at a maximum of five percent.

As part of the Community Prospectus, each manufactured home community must register their Guaranteed Lease with the State of Florida, which then provides homeowners protection under Chapter 723.

On the other hand, conventional home communities (i.e., stick built, sing family, deed restricted) are not regulated by the state in the same manner as manufactured home communities. This means they have less protection against the frequency and amount of their fee increases.

Q: Is there a difference between a lease fee and a HOA fee?

Yes – In a leased land community you pay a fee to lease the homesite. As we reviewed above, this fee covers a number of amenities, activities, maintenance, and lifestyle offered.

HOA fees, however, are collected by communities that feature an association of homeowners who act as a watchdog on behalf of the residents. Every community does not necessarily have a Homeowner Association (HOA) present.

In a leased-land manufactured home community that has a representative HOA, the fees are generally nominal and paid by only those residents who wish to become an active member of the HOA.

Each of Blair Group’s communities has an active HOA present. The member dues range from $12 to $24 per year.

Summary: Most individuals—whether they are of retirement age or close to it—who
are moving to or within the Sunshine State find that lease land communities are accommodating to the way of life they seek and the budgets they now have. The lease land concept allows most to achieve a new, affordable lifestyle here in Florida sooner than they may have expected!

testimonialsIf you’d like to learn more about Blair Group Communities and whether leasing or purchasing the land is most suited to you at this stage of your life, please don’t hesitate to give us a call: 800-888-3789.

We’re here today to help you achieve your Affordable Florida Lifestyle tomorrow!