I found a condo w a really low price, but High assoc fees - can they ever become lower? am i better off paying more for a condo with less fees?

Asked by new home buyer, Wheeling, IL Mon Nov 14, 2011

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Cindy Finnerman’s answer
Cindy Finner…, Agent, Chicago, IL
Mon Nov 14, 2011
I have never seen association fees, also known as assessments go down but usually will be increased over the years.. It is wise to inquire about their reserve and any anticipated "special assessment", which can add to your monthly expense. But even so, do check to see what is included in the fee, (heat,cable, common insurance) etc., it still may be a good value for you and your budget. Good luck!
1 vote
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Mon Nov 14, 2011
In theory, condo fees can go down. In practice, they very rarely do.

If you're looking primarily at price (you shouldn't; there are many other factors to consider), consider both the monthly mortgage payment and the condo fee . . . and what you get for that total expense. Some condos legitimately have higher fees because they offer more services--more bells and whistles. A pool, a tennis court, a clubhouse, an exercise room, on-site management, and so on. So figure out what your total monthly expenses would be, and then compare that total figure to what you're getting--the condo itself, the services, the location, etc.

One tip: Be sure to look at a condo's financial statements. One with exceptionally low condo fees may be cutting corners, especially on maintenance and capital improvements. Or they might have low condo fees, but every year or two impose a hefty assessment. And just make sure the condo is in decent financial shape. Are all/most of the owners current on their condo fees? Or are 20%-30% or more delinquent?

Admittedly, when you go to sell, buyers will be looking at condo fees, just as you are now. And some just will reject properties with high condo fees. That's inevitable. But you really have to look at more than just the condo fees, but at the total cost of ownership, and what you're getting for it.

Hope that helps.
1 vote
Grazyna Jank…, Agent, Chicago, IL
Tue Nov 15, 2011
The association fee mostly will never go down. I would say that is better to by more expensive condominium with lower assesment fee.You also need to find out what is included in the assesment.
0 votes
Richard Migu…, Agent, Arlington Heights, IL
Tue Nov 15, 2011
Association fees vary from one complex to another. Traditionally, the fees cover gas, water, heat, common insurance, lawn care, scavenger removal... etc. If the complex has a swimming pool and a club house, chances are the fees will be needed to fund maintenance to those as well as insurance to cover risks. That funding will be passed on to the residents of the complex. After all, you get to to use these facilities.
0 votes
Brian Rayl, Agent, Dallas, TX
Mon Nov 14, 2011
I'll put it the best way that I can:

Association dues very rarely go down. Association dues go to pay property taxes, insurance, and maintenance. When is the last time the prices of those services went down?

If you paid off your mortgage 100%, you would still have to pay association dues every single month. Make sure you are comfortable paying these dues every single month for as long as you own the thing.

Brian Rayl
Keller Williams Elite - Dallas, TX
0 votes
Endre Barath, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Mon Nov 14, 2011
I have never seen Codo Fees go down in my experience, unless it was a Special Assessment and it was paid off or they needed to increase the Reserves. Generally Home Owner Dues are for Maintenance of the Building, Grounds upkeep, Security and the full service usually has added security onsite management. All these ultimately cause the Association Dues to be Higher than where there are fewer ammeneties... Hence it becomes a personal choice what is more important to you. The feel of an upscale luxury life style or monthly savings on your association dues.
Endre Barath,Jr.
Coldwell Banker Beverly Hills South
Web Reference:  http://www.endrebarath.com
0 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Mon Nov 14, 2011
I have never seen . . . my goodness, I was thinking the same thing that Cindy wrote!

I like condos with high association fees, if they're being spent wisely. There's a certain amount that it costs to run a condo: master insurance policy, utilities - you're going to pay for them whether or not they're included in the common charges - janitorial, landscaping, elevator . . .

So look closely.
0 votes
Kelly Dather, Agent, Fishers, IN
Mon Nov 14, 2011
Please keep in mind monthly condo fees change change. Typically fees are based on the expenses of the costs incurred by the residents for such items as trash removal, snow removal, landscape maintenance, etc. Onre thing to check on the monthly fees to see what is covered and what is not is some cover "homewowners insurance" or building hazard insurance and exterior building maintenance. If those two items are covered in the monthly fee it will save you money during the course of the year.
0 votes
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