Wednesday May 23rd, 2018
If purchasing a condo it is important that you give the Condo Fees (maintenance fees) a thorough consideration.
All condos have maintenance fees – these fees are used by the condo corporation for day-to-day maintenance of the common areas of the corporation as well as to put money aside for capital expenditures and I for extraordinary or emergency expenses in the future.
How much your condo fees are depends on a variety of things including the number of units in the condo corporation, the type of structure (highrise vs lowrise), the amount of common area that needs to be maintained, the number and type of amenities (pool, gym, spa, etc) and the utilities that are included in the condo fee.
One of the first things you should find out when looking at a condo is what is covered by your condo fee. Does it cover utilities or do you pay your heat, electricity and water separately? For condo apartments, the condo fee usually covers repairs and maintenance to everything outside of the unit (including windows). With a condo townhome there can be a wide variance as to what is covered depending on how the corporation was initially set up. Some cover all exterior structures such as roof, windows, doors, etc, while others only cover common areas such as roadways, playgrounds, etc.
Find out if the corporation has an adequate reserve fund (money set aside to pay for future maintenance)? When you purchase a condo you can (and should) get a status certificate which will tell you the overall health of the condominium corporation. You should have a lawyer who is familiar with condos review the status certificate to make sure you know what you are getting into.
A physical inspection of the condominium property can tell you a lot about the corporation. When viewing condos take some extra time and look around the grounds. Is it clean and well maintained, is there adequate parking, are the amenities in good working order? You or your REALTOR should compare the fees to other similar types of condos in the area.
Low fees are not always a good sign – it may be because the corporation is not properly maintaining their assets or putting enough money into the reserve fund. It’s best to look at the overall picture and find a condo that has been well maintained and has an adequate reserve fund for future expenses.