Condos require payment of a monthly Maintenance Fee that includes/covers the Building’s Amenities, Maintenance of the Building, Exterior Building Insurance, and a number of other items (see list below). Your Property Tax and your Electric Bill ARE NOT included in the monthly fee.
I work with many Buyers who are interested in Waterfront Condos and I’m often asked “What is the average cost of Condo Amenities?” The answer is that there isn’t an average for all Condos in general. Sure, I could add and then divide the amount of Amenities at all Buildings in order to come up with an average, but that wouldn’t be an accurate portrayal. We must compare Apples to Apples when talking about the cost for Condo Amenities and Maintenance Fees. Condo Maintenance Fees are in a VERY WIDE range and what that amount will be is determined by MANY factors. There are Condos where the average amount paid by Owners is $300/monthly and Buildings where the average amount paid by Owners is $3,000/monthly.
If you require Amenities, you must consider which ones you just can’t live without and which ones might not be very important. Examples of Amenities include, but aren’t limited to: Security Gated Community, Restaurant, 24/7 Valet, Concierge, Full-time Security Staff, Monitored Security Cameras, Bar, Swimming Pool(s), Hot Tub(s), Hair Salon, Tanning Salon, Nail Salon, Fitness Facility, Spa, Key Operated Elevators, Library, Conference Room, Community Boat Dock or private Boat Docks, Business Center, Garage Parking, on-Site Management, Private Elevator to your Unit, Full-service Staff, Tennis, Indoor Basketball Court, Media Room, Wine Room, Cigar Room, Sports Bar, Putting Green, Cabanas, Storage Facilities, Vehicle Washing, etc.
Factors that can affect the amount that you will pay for your monthly or quarterly Maintenance Fee include, but aren’t limited to:
- The types of Amenities offered (see list above). More Amenities = higher Maintenance Fee.
- Luxury vs. non-Luxury Building.
- The size of your unit (the Fee is priced per square foot, so larger Units pay more than smaller units).
- The building’s type of waterfront location (see #8 below).
- The number of on-site Staff and the services they provide. More Staff = higher Maintenance Fee. It takes a lot of Staff to efficiently maintain a large Building that offers many Amenities.
- Contribution to the Building’s Reserves.
- The types of Maintenance offered and staff required for the same (i.e. Maintenance of the Roof, Pool, Lawn/Landscaping, Parking area, Elevators, and Building exterior, interior, and common areas, Trash Removal, Sewer, and Pest Control, etc.)
- The price of Property Insurance (Property Insurance is higher in Waterfront Ocean access Buildings than non-Waterfront Buildings). The cost of Property Insurance as related to the type of Waterfront relates to the risk factor of Building damage from Floods, Hurricanes, etc. All properties located within areas determined to be in higher risk areas have higher Property Insurance, even some properties that aren’t Waterfront. All Ocean access Waterfront Buildings are in areas that are at higher risk for flooding or other water-related Weather damage, so have higher Insurance rates (although Flooding is a very rare occurrence with Waterfront Condos). The condition of a Building also affects its’ Insurance rate. 2 examples of items that reduce damage risk and Insurance include new Roofs and Impact Windows. Note that although you save on the amount of Insurance in Buildings that have new Roofs and Impact Windows (more often in new Buildings than in old ones), if those Buildings are Luxury and offer many Amenities, the Maintenance Fee is still going to be higher than in Buildings that aren’t as fabulous.
Condominiums have a Master Policy for exterior Building Property Insurance, so Insurance is a large portion of the amount that’s included in Condo Maintenance Fees.
- Water/Sewer is included in the fee and some Buildings also include basic Cable TV.
- The number of Units in the Building.
- In the majority of Condos, the Maintenance Fee is paid on a monthly basis and, in a few, they are paid on a quarterly basis
- When you’re viewing listing information online, most include the $ amount that’s required for Maintenance
When comparing the costs of Condo ownership vs. Single Family Home Ownership, often the costs are very similar (and sometimes MORE expensive for a Single Family Home) when you consider all of the items that you’re personally responsible for Maintaining when you own a Single Family Home and the Lifestyle Amenities you would pay for if you were to own a Single Family Home. It is inaccurate to think that Condo fees automatically make Condo ownership more expensive than ownership of a Single Family Home. The costs for both have to be compared in order to accurately determine which one is most suited to your requirements.