It is important to know HOA fees and what they cover. I notice that no one mentions them. I need to know to compare single family with condo/townhs.

Asked by entj12, Saint Petersburg, FL Tue Apr 30, 2013

I will only view sites that have that information. I have cash and am considering both Maui and Florida. Maui at least mentions HOA's and taxes. Also how does
insurance compare to other cities?

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Barry Smith, Agent, Saint Petersburg, FL
Tue Apr 30, 2013
Any Realtor can tell you what the Maintenance Fee and HOA fee is for each property as well as how to calculate the tax on a property. Insurance is usually included in the maintenance fee so unless you want to get "Renter's Insurance" ( yes this is what it's called even if you own) for your contents or maybe drywall...depending on if the association covers it or not, then just go by the maintenance fee to compare Florida condos to Maui condos...BUT...don't is more expensive to live in Maui. Island living simply costs more as most everything has to be shipped there..a long way.

Let's define a Maintenance Fee. IN GENERAL, it's anything that a condo association pays out on a monthly basis. Sometimes they collect a separate HOA Fee. ( Home Owners Association Fee) Think of this fee as anything not monthly. It may be social dues or printing of a yearly directory or some other non-monthly item. But sometimes an association will roll an HOA into the maintenance fee. There are no real rules on this. Beyond what a state sets as a mandatory, an association can make some of its own rules. If you owned a house and paid separately for all the services that a house requires and factored in a monthly allowance for repairs, you would find it adds up similar to what the MAINTENANCE FEE is for most condos. ( BUT, it depends on location) Coastal building insurance is more than inland. Maintenance fees MIGHT include water, sewer, trash, building insurance, escrow reserves, roof repairs, building exterior, grounds maintenance, sometimes flood insurance, pest control, pool upkeep, cable, security personnel, property manager salary and on the rare occasion, electric. But each association is different and handles its budget differently. Some associations may not collect much escrow reserves and when a repair to something is needed, may assess the owners for that repair. I firmly believe it's better to collect money upfront and create a healthy reserve of funds for future repairs instead of assessments. Maintenance fees can vary widely depending on how close you are to the gulf or ocean or how many luxury amenities the complex has or how extensive the grounds are. Here in Florida, a condo along the gulf, you are looking at a minimum of about $500 a month for maintenance fee. Inland, on avg, about $375....for a well run association. If you come across a maintenance fee less than $300, you should seriously look at their year end financial statement. More than likely they are not collecting enough reserve funds. You can always ask for a year end financial statement to get a breakdown of these costs. You should also ask for the past 4 board meeting minutes to see what issues are being talked about.

Briefly, to understand condos. You have four main documents. The Declaration of Condominium, The Articles of Incorporation....if you are incorporating. The Bylaws and the Rules N Regulations. Condominiums in Florida are highly regulated by both the Florida Condominium Act and the condominium’s controlling documents, such as the Declaration of Condominium. The declaration as originally recorded or as amended MAY include covenants and restrictions concerning the use, occupancy, and transfer of the units permitted by law with reference to real property. The Declaration of Condominium declares to the public that XYZ building is a condo and will contain the bylaws. Bylaws are mostly misunderstood. They are NOT the Rules and Regulations of the complex which, for dogs allowed, overnight guest must park in designated parking spaces, etc. Rules and Regs are separate from any other document. The BYLAWS are the state imposed laws on how the board is governed and how business is conducted. Think of it as sort of Roberts Rules of Order. I would also note, Florida statute 718.111 says the operation of the condominium shall be by the association, which must be a Florida corporation for profit or a Florida corporation not for profit.

Barry Smith
Excellent Service Realty
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Terry Moreho…, Agent, Sun City Center, FL
Tue Apr 30, 2013
Good afternoon:

Good question . . . Although I'm somewhat confused, because all listings, especially those that revolve around associations, such as Home Owner, Condo, Co-op, or other entities formed as an association designed to govern in some way a given complex or development, must indicate the Fees associated with the property and what those fees include. Listings must also show the current Tax information. To that extent, please keep in mind that there are differences between the various types of associations --- for example, a Home Owner association does not govern a Condominium Complex.

That being said, the general items of commonality with any association fees are; Reserves, Maintinance, and Master plan insurance. From there, what is contained in the fees varies from one association to another. However, important costs covering such things as CATV, water sewer, trash removal, Gas, in some circumstances may be covered/included. When utilities and other services are included, the value of those can only be determined by comparing your over all monthly fee to what the total amount those services would normally cost if you paid them independantly.

As for how do insurance costs compare from one city to another, ie: St. petersburg, to Maui, that is another difficult one to answer, as the rates are determined in part on geographical location, and other demographics. For example; a home close to the ocean and prone to seasonal weather normalities, would be rated differently than a 100 acre farm in the center of that state. Just as car in surance for a densely populated area would be generally more expensive than in an area that is no so populated.

I might suggest that as a part of your investigating efforts, you contact the Economic Development Department of each county in which the city you are interested in, is located. On the other hand, if you wish to compare insurance costs in this immediate area, for an example; Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Polk, Manatee, and Sarasota, Counties, that is an easy function, which can be handled by contacting any local insurance company and provide the address of the property.

In the alternative, if you were working with a Realtor, he or she would/should, automatically be willing to provide you with this information.

If you are interested in a particular sub-division, or complex, or have a particular address you wish to have checked out, feel free to call. We will be glad to assist you. Or, please feel free to visit my web site to learn more about our company and our experience. There you can also gain access to the local real estate market for your searching needs.

Have good day.
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Bill Hallman, Agent, St Petersburg, FL
Tue Apr 30, 2013

Contact me and I will be glad to get you all the information that you need. I can also direct you to the proper places to find it.

Bill Hallman
Hofacker & Associates
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