Home Buying in 43214>Question Details

Meredith, Home Buyer in 43214

I don't understand condo fees and what they cover.

Asked by Meredith, 43214 Thu Mar 26, 2009

My realtor explained to me that when you buy a condo youown the inner walls and the air inside. How is that a good buy?

Help the community by answering this question:


That's only part of the whole answer. You - and you alone - own the air and the innner wall, but part B to the answer is that you, along with all other property owners own equal undivided interest in the rest. This is what is referred to as a common element ( ie: the roof, the lobby, the swimming pool, the walls, etc.) (And LIMITED common elements are common areas allowed to be used exclusively by a particular owner; most often a parking space or a storage unit.)

So, here's why it's a good thing to answer your real question: If there is a fault with the common area of the building that affects you: say, the roof leaks into your unit only, you probably wouldn't be responsible to pay for it. The Association would pay for the roof repair out of the capital fund and you would get your interior wall damage fixed, submit the bill for reimbursement to the HOA and you are not stuck paying for lots of repairs. HOA's typical are also responsible for upkeep of items you use that typically require peropdic maintenance like a deck, balcony or fence. (BTW, exterior windows are usually the responsibility of the unit owner)

So, this is why many people like condos: generally they maintain their units, and unless they get into big renovations, the costs associated with unit maintenance aren't that bad. And they are pushing the reponsibility for most big ticket, exterior expenses to the HOA in exchange for a regular, manageable monthly HOA dues payment.

Please allow me to educate the future HOA members of the world, one member at a time: When it comes to reading, interpreting and understanding the HOA documents, that is not the job of your real estate professional. The agent may ASSIST you because they are familiar with the terms, and they want to make it easy for you, but the job of understanding what you are buying and what the terms of that are, is the Buyer's alone. If the documents are 222 pages long and filled with gobbledygook (and they usually are!), then you should consult a real estate attorney (who is a resourse you probably ought to know anyway!)

I hope that helps!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 26, 2009
The best part of condo ownership is that the condo association is responsible for the upkeep of the unit's exterior. This means that the outside of everyone's property will be kept up to the same high standard which ultimately protects your investment in the home.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 26, 2009
It's just another form of home ownership. Condo owners enjoy/choose the freedom of not having to worry about maintenance of the roof, siding, exterior landscaping, lawn care, snow removal, etc.
The interior of the condo is yours to change if you don't like it. You own it so you can remodel the kitchen, change flooring, etc. There may be some restrictions, but overall, you can do what you want inside.
If you travel a lot, you don't have to hire anyone to take care of the yard while you are gone.
Condo fees can include the water bill, trash pickup, sewer bill, exterior insurance, lawn care, snow removal, clubhouse, fitness center and swimming pool use and maintenance.
As a buyer, you are entitled to view the condo documents for the Home Owner's Association before purchasing. The bottom line is, know what you are buying. Your agent knows the process of buying a condo and will inform you each step of the way.
Good luck to you. There are some really nice condos on the market right now. I have some listed in Powell, but another agent in our office has a condo in 43214 for $129,000. Click the link to see some condo listings in Clintonville.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 26, 2009
Well,for example if the roof needs replacing the condo association pays. They are responsible for all exterior maintenance. usually the association has a blanket homeowners insurance policy and your fees help pay for this. Also maintenance of grounds,pool if there is one,etc.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 26, 2009
Fees correspond to the individual utility bills you pay on a home, along with maintenance work such as window cleaning, snow shovelling, housecleaning, gardeners, and so on. Fees are generally calculated according to the size of your unit – a two-bedroom’s fees are higher than a studio’s, for instance – and are recalibrated each year, up or down, according to the building’s annual operating budget.

A certain portion is also set aside as part of a “contingency fee,” which every condo must maintain by law. The contingency fund covers any special costs incurred as part of building upkeep, such as a new roof or repairs to heating or plumbing equipment.

The maintenance fees for townhouses within a complex are usually slightly lower. Often townhouses have their utilities separately metered, so these are not included in the fee; but townhouse owners still pay a share for maintenance of common areas, security and other general costs.

Beyond these basics, there’s a wide variation in the features each individual condo building offers, and the fees vary accordingly. One building might offer beefed-up security, concierge service and underground parking; another might have a fully equipped gym or pool with trainers and classes; or you may have access to special perks like a rooftop patio or guest suite. All of these are reflected in the monthly fee, and in some cases are optional.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 7, 2015

Condo fees and what they cover varies greatly from one complex to another. Essentially the fees cover
normal operating expense, a reserve fund, or payment of debt associated with necessary repairs or updates.

Some commonly associated items covered by the HOA fee may include: maintenance, cable, water, pool, fitness center, insurance, trash removal, security, management company, etc.

If you are considering purchasing a unit with HOA fees it is important to have a clear understanding of what is covered and what the expense will be for you. There can be a big between complexes.

Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 27, 2009
The condo fees (for the condo I am selling) pay for outside building insurance - water - lawn care - snow removal - landscaping - maintenance and upkeep - some of the maintenance and upkeep we have been able to used the funds for are replaced sidewalks - new roofs - new lighting in the common areas - painting the buildings - replacing front doors in the community.
The reason I felt it was a good buy is because when the buildings needed painted a typical house would have cost up to $2000 or more and this was covered in the savings of the association. Think of it as a security blanket - it also helps when there is building damage or repairs that are not deemed to be insurance related there are no out of pocket expenses to the homeowner.
If you are looking for a home and do not want to worry about - outside chores such as cutting the grass or shoveling the snow - this is contracted by the condo association and not the homeowner.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 27, 2009
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