Also, $300 a month is designed to cover more than just water, sewer and trash. It pays for property maintenance, upkeep and upgrades. Where do you think they get the money to paint your building from?
Condo fees are a combination of two factors.
1) The annual cost to maintain and operate all HOA responsible items including common areas and roofs, siding, walkways, landscape, etc...
2) Every replacement component divided by the life expectancy and the number of units. Roof Replacement Cost divided by 20 years or so divided by the number of units = a portion of the annual dues.
Annual operating budgent divided by the number of units plus the Reserve Study indicator of annual replacement reserve = monthly dues. Evaluated every year, usually in September for dues increases in January (unless HOA is on a fiscal vs. calendar year)
It is only recently that WA has imposed a requirment for an HOA to do a Reserve Study, hence we have many and too many cases of "special assessments". Over time, given the new law, that problem should be reduced somewhat.
For a very good explanation of how an HOA should set their dues, see the CA Condo Blue Book. Excellent "rules" and explanations. A tutorial for HOA Board Members and Managers. WA is a bit behind the curve on HOA issues...but catching up slowly.
HOA fees can vary based on property. More amenities higher fees example, pool, valet, hi rise, landscaping, water of grounds
FYI higher HOA usually more luxury of property, I have seen where these fees can be $1000 or more !
HOA usually will include insurance exterior HOWEVER never interior figure.
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In Washington State, HOAs are (for the most part) required to perform Reserve Studies, so that Special Assessments can be either planned or avoided.
I know not all hoa's are forward looking. But you have to ask each one to see if they are charging for future repairs ( which is a good thing) or just for the normal day to day expenses. Most people would rather pay an extra $50 a month than have a huge repair bill show up out of the blue.
I saw where one person ( on a tv re show) wanted to buy a condo. And there was such an assessment for expensive repairs. So be aware and be careful when looking for places to buy.
Buildings from the late 1970s typically have basic cable included; internet is possibly never included.