What is a condo fee? [Real NEastate]

I’m retiring and thinking of buying either a condo or a 55+ home. What types of thing does a condo fee include? Why are some so much higher than others? I saw one place you have to make a $1,000 capital contribution. What is that?

Every condo association and homeowners association is going to offer different services for the fees you will be paying. However, for most condos and 55+ homes you’ll see in Northeast Philadelphia, the association fees will include the following four:

  1. Common Area Maintenance
  2. Exterior Building Maintenance
  3. Lawn Maintenance
  4. Snow Removal

It’s also going to depend on the extra amenities in the complex you choose. Do your homework to find out how your monthly association dues will be used. Sometimes certain utilities are included in your fee. You may find your fee is also going to maintain extra services that others do not offer, for instance:

  1. Trash Removal
  2. Insurance
  3. Club House
  4. Health Club & Pool
  5. Management

A “capital contribution” is usually a one-time fee your condo or homeowners association will hold for unforeseen emergencies in the general maintenance of the complex. But don’t think that your fees won’t get raised just because you’ve made a capital contribution. Associations may increase make assessments based on need. Plan for increases.

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on NEastPhilly.com. See others hereRead other NEast Philly columns here.

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