There are many reasons why HOA and condo fees differ from neighborhood to neighborhood and Joan touches on some good ones here. It is also important to note that those fees vary within the neighborhood as well as they are often based on the square footage of the unit. The bigger the unit or house, the bigger the fees! Be sure to check and see what your HOA fees DON'T cover. Things such as pool membership, community center rentals, and golf course fees are often cost extra.
Why do HOA fees differ?
Why do HOA fees differ so much between complexes? Multi-family buildings include a few items in their monthly fee such as water/sewer, trash, snow removal, grounds maintenance of common areas, exterior building maintenance with roof and insurance of the exterior building. Some don't pay for water/sewer and some do not pay for exterior building with roof. Some complexes have amenities lika pool and clubhouse with fitness center.
Each complex has a Board of Directors that reviews the budget. This is when they review contracts with vendors who do the snow removal and also the maintenance of the grass/sprinkler systems. When there have been many storms that produced hail or tornadoes and roofs had to be replaced/repaired, these fees are factored into the monthly fee. To keep a complex in good condition, the buildings must be painted every few years, parking lots need to be repaired which will be factored into this fee.
As buildings age, the fees increase to maintain older buildings. As elevators age, these are expensive to repair/replace, as well as a boiler and the duct work or plumbing the building may be responsible for.
If you are contemplating purchasing in a multi-family complex, review the budget. There are many documents you have the right to review to include the budget. I would encourage new buyers to get involved in their HOA, go to the meetings and know what rules are being reviewed, and what issues are being discussed.
When you have major repairs needed that are not in the annual budget (such as roof replacements) you will see special assessments included in the monthly fee. These are generally only assessed for a one year period.
You will see HOA fees ranging from $150-$600 (approximately) for multi-family complexes, and newer housing developments have HOA fees that include only grounds maintenance for common areas and trash removal for single detached family homes.
When looking for a multi-family unit, you have choices between townhomes, low-rise condos and high-rise condos.
If you need more information by complex, please give me a call.
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