Condominium fees are a waste of money. This is a common refrain I hear from people that are considering buying a condo. But are condo fees really a waste of money? Condo fees are thought a waste of money for people that do not properly maintain their home. For people that are used to owning a single-family home, with no mandated condo fees, they may:
- Never do any maintenance on the systems.
- Never consider that they’ll have to replace the roof.
- Infrequently repaint, re-carpet, or refinish floors.
I can see the point that in their opinion condo fees seem like a waste of money.
I would argue that you are going to pay a similar amount of fees somewhere along the way. For example, if you own a single-family home and you do not do proper maintenance, someday when you sell the place you will not get as high a resale value because it is improperly maintained, looks inferior in condition, and will not bring top dollar. So if you lose 5% of the value of your property because you did not properly maintain it, did you save money by not maintaining your single-family home? Did you save money by not buying a condo and avoiding a condo fee? I think not.
If you own a single-family home and you spend the necessary amount of money to do all the maintenance to systems, roof, and all of the cosmetic things that regularly need updating and fixing you will likely have paid a condo fee anyway. This way you will most likely get some or all of that money back upon resale.
I own a condominium and my monthly condo fee is $250 a month, which is $3000 a year. If I spent 10 years in this property that means I will have spent $30,000 on condo fees. Over the course of the decade, do you think I would spend $3,000 a year properly maintaining a single family home? Of course I would, I’d at least come close. I have owned a home before, and over the course of eight years, between a new air conditioning unit, a new dishwasher, a new roof, constant updating, a few new paint jobs, a new window, repaving the driveway, and more; I easily spent over $20,000. That is well over a $200 condo fee. And I had no gym, rooftop deck, security, or front desk to receive packages!
So, it is important to remember, there are things that you get with condominium living, that you pay for in a condo fee, that you do not get in a single-family home. A condominium budget and condo fees may include things like security, outdoor lighting, a gym, maintenance of rooftop or patio, community pool table, and many other amenities that you would not get with a single-family home (not without paying for them).
So my point is, no matter how you slice it, if you are maintaining your home properly, whether it is a condo fee in a condo, or maintenance expenses on a single family home; you will be spending a similar amount. So when it comes to looking at property, you should just consider where you want to live, the type of property want to live in, and do not let the discussion of condo fees deter you from buying a condo.
There are indeed some cases where a condo has mismanaged their budget, and they are charging higher fees to play catch-up. That is obviously something that merits special attention. Unless the condo fees are enormous, and you feel that the amenities that you get are not worth the amount of condo fee that they are charging; then you should be looking at condos if that is what you want to look at.