"What's included in the condo fee?"

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Cape Cod and the Islands

The monthly condo fee is often a stumbling block for buyers considering the purchase of their first condo. In the current market, where the high inventory of single family homes has lowered prices so that buyers have the option of choosing between a condo and a house, they tend to see the condo fee as a "savings" if they buy the house.

This could not be futher from the truth. Everything that is included in the condo fee is usually an expense that they would have with a single family home or they would have to do the work themselves. Using FalmouthPort, a well-run, mature waterfront condo community in Falmouth, MA as an example, the monthly fee includes the following: exterior building maintenance, roof and septic system management, landscaping, lawn mowing, snow plowing, show shoveling, basic cable service, facility maintenance (pool, tennis courts, walking trail, two dock systems), rubbish removal, and funding of a maintenance reserve.

In my mind, the maintenance reserve is the key. If the association has a long-range repair/replacement fund and a working plan to use it, the maintenance reserve is an insurance policy against surprise expenses (i.e. roof replacement, septic systems, exterior siding). This should create peace of mind and serve as a hedge against unanticipated expenses for the individual owner.

Check FalmouthPort's website (www.falmouthport.com) or my website (www.steveclaycapecod.com) for more information on the complex and on units that are presently for sale.


Comments (3)

Ted Komenda
Dunhill Group - Osterville, MA

I completely agree with your point that the reserve is the key.  I have two buyers that are interested in condo's, one is looking for a good deal to flip, while the other is looking for a place to live for years to come.  The client who is looking for a place to live has limited funds and would be crippled by an assessment and your advice to research the reserves is very helpful.

Jul 09, 2008 06:59 AM
Will Nesbitt
Nesbitt Realty at Condo Alexandria - Alexandria, VA
Nesbitt Realty is a family-run brokerage.

Steve: I'd love to see this reblogged or posted on our Condo Benefits Active Rain group.  Also with your permission, I'd like to see something like this posted at Condo Benefits dot Com

Oct 01, 2008 12:15 AM
Ted Komenda
Dunhill Group - Osterville, MA

Great Post!  I think your right on with trying to explain to people that condo fees are not savings because you will have to spend for maintenance items as well as utilities.


Oct 01, 2008 03:44 AM