One of the main benefits of owning a condo, is the lifestyle. I personally enjoy have my snow removed, my lawn mowed and my pool cleaned, by somebody else. Of course, I do pay for these luxuries through monthly fees.
Many homebuyers consider condominium fees to be a waste. They often view the fees as a cost on top of mortgage payments. But when you think about it, freehold home ownership has its costs as well.
So, what exactly are condo fees? It’s a different way of paying for expenses of home ownership. The condominium corporation determines the costs for the maintenance and other several shared expenses, then divides up those expenses among the homes owners. The owners then pay their share to the condo corp. on a monthly basis. Fees are prorated, usually by the square footage of the units. Part of the fees contribute to a reserve fund, which is used for larger expenses that occur over time.For example, my building recently installed new elevators (prettiest in the city, I think) and the total cost came out of the reserve fund.
When hunting for a condo, buyers will notice quite a range of fees. Not all condos included the same amenities, so when you are searching for a condo, your Realtor should be able to find out what is included and what amenities there are. The swimming pool in my building was a determining factor when I bought my home.
I always encourage my clients to become involved with their condo boards, understand the budget and give input. Understand your fee structure, what is included and what you are personally responsible for. In many cases, condo fees are less expensive than maintenance costs for comparative freehold properties.