Home Buying in Bethesda>Question Details

Barker.zacha…, Home Buyer in Bethesda, MD

Condo fees can range anywhere from $200 to $900 depending on what's included. Are these fees negotiable?

Asked by Barker.zachary, Bethesda, MD Fri Jul 8, 2011

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Alan May’s answer
The fees are set by the home owners association, based on their costs and expenses... so, no, they're not negotiable.

But, if you are negotiating the purchase of a condo, you could try to negotiate with the seller, and ask them to pay some of those fees... for example, you could ask them to include 6-months prepayment of the fees.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 9, 2011
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in 60201
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What are the condominium condo fee ranges in the Seacoast, NH area?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 10, 2013
Condo fees are not negotiable because they become part of the budget to run the building. Financing is so dependent upon the building financials being sound, with adequate reserves and very limited defaults in dues. Many associations are facing significant problems so I tell my buyers to never expect them to go down, only up as assessments go up to cover new expenses.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 8, 2012
Condo fees do vary depending on what is included in the fees. Some condo buildings include all utilities in the monthly condo fees and give the residents a stable monthly payment, but do not encourage the residents to save energy or upgrade their windows, appliances, etc. to more energy efficient options. Buildings that do not include utilities allow individual owners to lower their bills by being more conservative with their energy usage.

In new construction, buyers can often negotiate to have the builder pay some of the condo fees up front so the buyer is able to get used to the mortgage payment before the condo fees become the buyer's responsibility.

When you purchase a condo, you will have an opportunity to review the condo association documents before moving forward with your purchase. These documents will include bylaws and a budget. You will be able to see where the money you pay in condo fees is going and how much the fees are adding to th ereserve to cover planned upgrades, unforeseen expenses as well and increases in utility prices. For more on this read my blog about tips to reviewing condo docs in a timely manner here: http://www.hollish.com/2012/07/30/reviewing-your-hoa-or-cond…

As an owner of a condo, you will become a voting member of your condo association. So you can use your vote to encourage energy efficiency upgrades, manage expenses, and budget for the future.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 5, 2012
Typically not, they are fixed usually for a year at a time. Most likely the fees might go up each year but there are times that the condo fees might be the same in the second year as an example. Some condo fees cover some utility bills, The condo fees are typically set based on the size of the units and/or cover other things such as master insurance plans, exterior maintenance, mowing, showplowing, etc. Each condo is unique and so it is a good question to ask prior to offering to purchase the property. You will be offered an opportunity to review the condo documentation and don't forget to request recent meeting minutes. At least one year of meeting minutes is good.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 16, 2011
Typically not, they are fixed usually for a year at a time. Most likely the fees might go up each year but there are times that the condo fees might be the same in the second year as an example. Some condo fees cover some utility bills, The condo fees are typically set based on the size of the units and/or cover other things such as master insurance plans, exterior maintenance, mowing, showplowing, etc. Each condo is unique and so it is a good question to ask prior to offering to purchase the property. You will be offered an opportunity to review the condo documentation and don't forget to request recent meeting minutes. At least one year of meeting minutes is good.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 16, 2011
No, the condo association sets them for a given year and then they can reasses every year or every few years to make sure there are enough reserves in the bank as well as operating expenses. The fees most likely vary due to the size of the different units, which only makes sense a studio or 1BR owns less space in the building and if the fees over utilities they are most likely using less and a 2 or 3BR unit.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 3, 2011
Barker, this seems interesting! What do you have in mind? Are you planning your own generator?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 10, 2011
Well, my question more specifically was if the fee includes electricity, can you negotiate for that to be excluded and reduce the monthly condo fee?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 10, 2011
They're negotiable to the degree that the expenses are negotiable.

The big-ticket items in an HOA are typically insurance, utilities, elevator, janitorial, landscaping, maintaining a gym or pool, on-site staff . . . . and, as James points out, if you don't have enough money in the reserve fund, then you're vulnerable to special assessments every time a light bulb needs changing or you have to shovel snow.

So, no, you're not going to get the HOA to say, "For you, the fees will be less. Everybody else, we'll chip in a little more."

All the best,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 9, 2011
I agree wholeheartedly with Scott, in fact, I might go a bit farther to say they cannot be negotiable, at least during the buying process. The simple reason is the fees are set by the condo association, and to change them requires a quorum of members at a meeting, and then a % of change votes well over 50%. So, once you buy, you can go to the condo meeting, and petition for changes, but then, to get them, a majority of other owners will have to agree with you.
Over the years, expect the fees to increase, not decrease. Our association also just hit us with a 200 dollar "special assessment" because of more snow removal than expected the last two winters.
Good luck, Jim 703 615 4675
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 9, 2011
Condo fees are usually not negotiable, they are a set fee set by a hoa or condo board to cover the expenses of the hoa. You can ask for a copy of teh budget to see what is covered and ask for a copy of the monthly minutes to see what they are discussing or if there are any concerns you should be aware of..
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 8, 2011
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