Josephine Godinez, PA

Considerations When Buying a Condo - Monthly Fees

February 18, 2010 by Josephine · Leave a Comment 

At current price levels, condominiums have a lot going for them…if you are the right buyer. So, who is considered the right buyer? If you enjoy a great number of community amenities including athletic facilities, pools, playgrounds and fully-outfitted clubhouses, a condominium might be right for you. If you’d prefer to not get your hands dirty with exterior maintenance such as painting and lawn care, a condominium might be right for you. If you are looking to spend less on the list price of a property, a condominium might be right for you. Here’s where you need to consider the “total cost of ownership”.

Those of of us who live in single family homes typically pay individual fees for lawn maintenance, tree trimming, pool cleaning and any exterior property repairs to our own home as well as a homeowners association fee to cover the maintenance and/or security of common grounds and professional expenses (e.g. lawyers, accountants, etc.) for the community. For those who live in condominiums, all of these individual expenses are typically rolled up into one condo association fee…and oftentimes they are not cheap. When considering the purchase of a condominium, it is imperative that you consider the “total cost of ownership”.

Case in point, a current client was considering the purchase of a beautiful 3 / 2 condominium in a community  that offered just about every amenity conceivable for her and her family. The asking price was right at $179,000 but the $450 monthly association fee came as a shock. To her credit, she was willing to analyze the purchase from both quality of life and financial perspectives. The condo was only a few years old, the unit featured numerous upgrades including the gourmet kitchen that she had dreamed of, the community was in a preferred school district and much closer to her job than was the case with her current rental. Perhaps most importantly, she came to realize that her overall cost basis would still be lower if she purchased the condo vs. purchasing a single family home at the higher price point and with all of those individual expenses.

After we conducted a bit more due diligence into the condominium association fees, and any potential variability therein, my client made the decision to move forward and is anxiously awaiting closing date next month. The bottom line is that prospective condominium owners must do their homework and work with qualified Realtors who will assist them in understanding the pros and cons of condo ownership.


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Josephine Godinez, PA