For potential buyers, condo fees are not only a daunting idea; they can also be the deciding factor between buying a condo or a home. When buying a house, you’re not required to pay a monthly fee, so what gives? Condo fees are basically just a huge rip-off, right? Not exactly.
What many homeowners fail to acknowledge is the huge financial responsibility that comes with any sort of home ownership. Regardless of owning a condo or a house, you can almost guarantee that unexpected things will happen: Pipes leak, water heaters break, foundations shift, washing machines overflow and the occasional hail storm damages the kitchen window. The biggest difference here is that when these random incidents occur condo owners share in the cost of repair, rather than taking on the entire financial obligation.
The perks of condo fees:
Take a load off – You’ll have less maintenance and repair responsibilities
Ditch the shovel! – Outdoor upkeep, such as snow shoveling and lawn mowing are included
Fewer bills – Depending on the unit, utilities may be covered
No surprises – Funds are set aside in advance for future maintenance
Save money – The contingency fund helps with major repairs
Peace of mind – Governing condo boards take care of all the logistics so you don’t have to worry about it
Protect your investment – The fees are reinvested back into the condo complex, so your property is always lookin’ fresh
What are condo fees? Why do I have them?
Condo fees are a set cost paid by homeowners monthly that are used keep the development you live in looking as fresh as when you bought it. Typically, these will include your individual utility bills and pay for expenses on the not-so-fun maintenance stuff, such as exterior window washing, seasonal upkeep and gardening.
What’s this going to cost me?
Fees are calculated based on square footage of your home: the larger the unit, the higher the fees. These are recalibrated annually and can go up or down based on the building’s annual operating budget.
A certain portion of your fee is placed into a contingency fund, which every condo must maintain by law. The contingency fund covers any special costs incurred as part of building upkeep, such as a new roof or repairs to heating or plumbing equipment. And, when you buy new, you have the added benefit of warranty coverage so if anything goes wrong you’re not stuck with a big bill.
If you’re buying a townhouse, fees tend to be slightly lower since your home is separately metered so utilities aren’t included. Your fees cover the maintenance of common areas, security and other general costs, so everything is still well taken care of.
Important to note:
- Fees vary based on development, according to features and amenities offered, such as parking, fitness facilities and security.
- The maintenance fees for townhouses are usually a bit lower because utilities are separately metered, but townhouse owners still pay a share for maintenance of common areas, security and other general costs.
- Special assessments are one-time fees for repairs not covered by the contingency fund and can be substantial. Once the bill is paid off, the maintenance fee could drop accordingly.
Still have questions about condo fees? Contact one of our Sales Teams for more information.