Why Do Condos Have Condo Fees?
Owning a condominium can be a less expensive way to be a first time homeowner because, well, condos are often less expensive than homes. And folks who have had a big home, raised kids and now are empty nesters often find the condominium lifestyle to be a great ‘lock and leave’ alternative because there’s no yard work, snow removal and exterior maintenance.
All condo projects have a homeowners association made up of the owners in the project. The point of having an association is so that owners can make decisions about their building, like: when should we paint the hallways and replace the carpets? Does the building need a new roof? Should we allow pets? How many units can be used by owners as rentals? It’s a fact that most people don’t attend their regular homeowners meetings (which can be monthly, bi-monthly or yearly) but they should. Being involved in the Home Owners Association (HOA) can help in keeping costs down for running the building while focusing on keeping the property updated.
Most new condos have fees that include a monthly bill for water, hazard insurance on the exterior of the property, a tiny part of the property taxes for the common areas (halls, parking area), and monthly yard maintenance (lawns, shrubs), garbage removal and sewer. As an example, a condo complex with 30 units will bill each owner through the HOA fees 1/30’s of the cost for water, common area property taxes and maintenance/garbage/sewer. The individual owners’ monthly utility bills for gas and electric service are metered separately. Some condos also charge for basic cable or wi/fi.
I live in a condo and my monthly HOA bill includes my power, gas, some dumb TV/cable fee (I don’t have television), and my percentage of the water/insurance/garbage/sewer bill. IF my condo project had a pool, tennis courts, spa and other bells and whistles my fee would be a lot higher because the maintenance and insurance of these items costs an HOA more each month. American Towers (downtown) has a pool, meeting rooms, racquetball and a roof patio, plus 24/7 security guards at the front desk.
HOA fees do not cover any loss inside your unit if there was a fire, flood or burglary. If the neighbor upstairs overflowed their bathtub and your ceiling fell in, the HOA would most likely pay for your new ceiling. But they wouldn’t pay to replace your all white leather sofa or buy you a new cat. Condo owners are encouraged to get ‘content’ insurance, similar to renters insurance, to protect personal belongings. There are currently 1100 condos for sale on the MLS in the Salt Lake Valley. With interest rates now at 4% or below-what are you waiting for? Go shopping with a Realtor today and see what options you have in your price range!