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Condo Fees, Fair?

Hello. I wanted to do a video on condo fees. So a lot of people think I’m not going buy a condo because those condo fees are a rip-off. And that maybe is true. I think normally, more times than not, it is not true. It depends on how much they are and what they’re going for and how much you might use those things. If you’re talking about a $800 a month condo fee because you’re in a really fancy high-rise building, 24-hour front desk, rooftop pool, a gym that rivals any gym that you might belong to, parking valets, who knows what amenities they may have. If you’re not going use most or all of those amenities, then maybe the condo fee is a rip-off and it’s not worth it. So you don’t buy that building. But to avoid condos in general, I think that’s unfair.

Single family homes requires maintenance and fees too

I think one of the things that people forget, even on what might be considered a reasonably priced condo fee, let’s say $400 a month, and I still hear people go, “Oh, that’s a rip-off. That’s almost $5,000 a year.” Okay, so go buy a townhome or a detached home. And now, you’re responsible for all the maintenance inside and out. I think what happens is a lot of people defer maintenance and don’t fix things as they go, as they should be fixed and tweaked and maintenanced. And you end up where you think you’re saving money because you’re not paying anything on a monthly or a regular basis. And I think that’s false. If you defer maintenance, you’re just going pay for it later. I’m pretty crazy about routine maintenance on my house. I live in a detached home now. Although I’ve lived in a condo before and I’ll talk about that.

I’m not really very handy. I don’t really know much about homes and systems and the roof and the foundation. So every three years I bring out a home inspector, which most of us do when we buy the home. I bring them out every three years and it’s worth whatever the fee is for them to tell me, and there’s usually a lot of little things that I need to pay attention to and fix or tweak. And that’s fine. And then I get a handy man and I fix those. So far, there’s never been a major thing. Probably because I’m spending regular money on inspections and on proper maintenance. My last one said that I have some roof shingles and some flashing that needs replacement and repair. Again, it’s out of my realm. I just don’t have much knowledge on all things home-related or maintenance related. But I was glad to be told about it because maybe I’ve lengthened the life of my roof and instead of replacing it in 12 years, maybe it goes 20.

Analyze condo fees carefully

So I think about things like that. Let’s say there’s a $400 a month fee on a condo. And somebody might argue that’s a rip-off, but is it? It’s $4,800 a year to have lesser maintenance. Obviously, when you own a condo, you still have to maintenance some things inside your unit. And then there also might be some things that, or amenities that you like. Maybe there’s a small gym. Nothing fancy, but you’re thinking, Hey, “Maybe Brian Martucci is right. Maybe $400 a month is reasonable. I don’t have to maintenance anything on the outside. They maintain the shrubs and the roof and some systems. I just have to worry about what’s going on inside. And I will use that gym, and our front desk that’s open during daytime hours to receive packages. That’s a nice touch. I need that. I’ll pay $400 a month.”

Am I getting amenities or just the basics?

But yeah, $900 a month for the fancy fancy, maybe that’s a little over the top. Or maybe that’s what you’re looking for too. I just think that we all need to step back and assess what is it we’re getting for the condo fee. Are those amenities worth it to me. And am I really the type to be handy and properly maintenance and spend money on a town home or a detached home, if I’m gonna go that route to “stay away from the condo fee”? My argument is you’ll just replace it with maintenance fees on your home or your town home, to a degree. And you really shouldn’t be shying away from a condo just because of the fees. I hear that so many times. It’s unfair and wanted to do a video about it and discuss. Hope that helps. Please check in with any questions on condominium financing, condo fees, or anything else mortgage-related. Thanks very much.

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