Home Buying in Needham>Question Details

Realty Green…, Home Buyer in Needham Heights, MA

Condo fee includes everything..good/bad?

Asked by Realty Greenhorn, Needham Heights, MA Mon Nov 19, 2012

I'm looking at a condo in needham which has Heat,Electric,Water,Sewer all include as part of the condo fee. This seems to me as something unique or do I just feel it as a first time buyer.

What's the downside to such a condo fee arrangement? fee sky rocketing in the future?

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This is not uncommon. It shouldn't matter as long as you compare the fee with similar condo's around and if condo fund is in good health.
Personally, unless I really love the place I will not prefer to have utilities included in the condo fee. People usually misuse the energy and water .. and sometime the responsible owner's have to pay the price.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 20, 2015
Check the financials of the association, the % of owner occupied units, etc.
A good real estate lawyer can help.

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 19, 2012
There are good and bad to both ways. Most important is to check that there is a strong reserve fund for the association for rising costs.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 19, 2012
If you like to take lots of showers and have the heat cranked up it is good for you. A lot of young people when they buy their first place can keep the heat and bills lower.

Places like that are good to rent out. No surprises.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 19, 2012
The downside is that you don't get to control your own usage and cost. The upside is that you don't have to maintain your own system, fill up your own oil tank, etc... and you know your costs ahead of time, they're stable. Hope this helps! This is pretty typical in larger associations.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 19, 2012
Its not very unusual for a condo fee to include heat , hot water, water and sewer. Is the electric for the unit included or do they mean just common electric?(common- hallways outside lighting, etc....) that is a bit odd.

The upside is you know what your monthly costs are they now are fixed. This is great for budgeting.

The downside is you may be you are subsidizing heat and utilities for people that may not be responsible. I've seen building where heat is included and people leave windows with their heat on because they don't care. It is especially common for a less than great attitude when there are renters occupying.

Compare condo fees for similar complexes with out the utilities included to see if it makes sense.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 19, 2012
That is not uncommon to have that included in the condo fees. As for the increase be sure to talk to your agent, if you d not have one get a buyer's agent to assist you, it does not cost you anything. You also want to take a look at the condo docs, last time they had a special assessment, what's in reserves in their budget. This will give you an idea as to what you will be getting and also if there may be a condo fee increase in the near future. info@wenrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 19, 2012
I'm assuming the condominium that you're considering is in an older building, which is why the units don't have separate meters for utilities. It's not necessarily a bad thing, however. If it's a large condo complex, and has active participation from the owners, you're probably safe. Review the budget for the association and make sure expenses haven't risen drastically in previous years. Also, find out how often the association meets, and what are the opportunities to participate in the discussion of how funds are spent.
The fee may seem large when compared to other complexes, but if you add up all the utility bills that you would be paying somewhere else, you'll probably find that you're in the same ballpark. Your neighbors will be just as motivated to keep the fees from "skyrocketing in the future"
Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 19, 2012
Well, you have little control over how to control your costs for things like heat and electricity. Water and sewer you have less control over anyway.

Sandy Tobin
Coldwell Banker, Needham
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 19, 2012
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