True or False: a Condo Whose Monthly Association Fee is $300 is a Better Deal Than an Identical Condo Whose Fee is $500

Getting (and Wanting) What You Pay For

You’d certainly think that $300 a month for Association dues is a better deal than $500, assuming two near-identical units.

But, the truth is, the higher fee could be a (much) better value.

How so?

If it covers a long list of services and building amenities that the cheaper monthly fee doesn’t.

How Many Amenities

Things like an in-door pool; state-of-the art exercise room; on-site building management and staff; multiple party rooms; rental guest rooms; monthly cable TV, etc.

That’s in addition to “the basics”: lawn care and snow removal (at least, in the ‘burbs), and any common area and exterior maintenance.

When it comes to Buyers scrutinizing monthly association fees, then, the trick is: 1) making sure the monthly fee is within their budget; 2) determining what the fee includes, and making sure that it reflects good value**; and 3) honestly assessing whether they want and will use all the things they’re paying for.

**I’ve had more than a few clients who, after they purchased, got on the Association Board to have more of a say in selecting contractors, making decisions about capital improvements, etc.

But, prospective Buyers shouldn’t count on dramatically lowering Association expenses.

P.S.: At least in Minnesota, anyone purchasing a unit in a Common Interest Community (“CIC”) ” typically condos or townhomes ” has 10 days to review the Association’s articles, bylaws, financials, etc.

See also, “Condo (and Townhome) Association Due Diligence: ¬†What REALLY Matters?“; and “Why Upper Floor Condo’s Are Cheaper Than Lower Floor Ones.”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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