Home Buying in Burien>Question Details

Brenda Demer…, Other/Just Looking in 08753

What can I usually expect a HOA for a condo to include?

Asked by Brenda Demerchant, 08753 Thu Oct 15, 2009

Are they required by law to include certain things? It seems most are around $300 and include water, sewer and garbage- that's a pretty high bill for just those 3 items- is it unreasonable to be looking for a condo that includes cable (even if it's just basic) and internet? I ask because I wouldn't be there full time- just occasionally -how about taxes- are those ever included?

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Every community is different. I would suggest finding a community that you pay your own water, internet , etc. When residents are not directly responsible for the cost of water they tend to waste more. Meaning, a greater percentage of your dues goes towards water. Its like letting the government take your money and spend it for you. They are far less conservative! Why would you want to pay for the renters water next doors? Especially when he takes three showers a day and washed three articles of clothing at a time.

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?

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 29, 2013
For every year you own a condo, you pay your fair share of the cost to replace the roof, even if you do not live there at the time the roof needs to be replaced. You pay your fair share of the cost to paint the exterior of the building or replace the siding...even if you do not live there at the time these things are done.

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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 3, 2009
Ahem. In Seattle, co-op dues, as I wrote, do, in fact, include property taxes.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 18, 2009
Taxes are never included up to each home owner pay their own.

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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0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 18, 2009
To be clear. A HOA is not required by law to collect money and provide services; that part is optional.
In Washington State, HOAs are (for the most part) required to perform Reserve Studies, so that Special Assessments can be either planned or avoided.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 18, 2009
I could be wrong, but I think part of the reason the costs are so high is maintenance. Over time things break down and need to be replaced. Furnaces, roofs, pipes, electical systems and so on. So they figure out what the life expectancy is for those items and amortize the costs over time. That way instead of sending a one time assessment to each condo owner of $5,000 (OUCH) because the elevator broke down. And the company had no savings to cover such a normally expected event they just charge so much a month and avoid the big assessments.

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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 18, 2009
In Seattle, co-op dues include property taxes.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 18, 2009
The range of what HOA fees cover quite extensive, ranging from cable, water, lawn, insurance, pool, elevator, recreation area, bond payment but we have never heard of and HOA that covers taxes....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 18, 2009
In the Seattle area, expect homeowner's dues to cover: Water, Sewer, Garbage; professional management fees, landscaping, and cleaning.
Buildings from the late 1970s typically have basic cable included; internet is possibly never included.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 15, 2009
Every condo building association is different. The basics are common area insurance, maintenance, garbage/sewer, and snow plowing. Higher HOA's can cover pools, heat and water, amenities like a gym or sauna room and sometimes cable/internet. Usually electric is the unit owners responsibility, but again every HOA is different. The taxes are usually the unit owners responsibility. Take a look at what the other condo buildings in the area are including in their HOA's and see how it compares.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 15, 2009
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