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.
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.
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,
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