Living in a condo offers huge benefits for anyone who doesn’t want the cost of maintaining a single-family home, or who wants easy access to all the amenities their city has to offer.
However, for all their convenience, they often come with high and unavoidable costs. While someone who owns a single-family home may be able to DIY a repair or put it off for a while, the co-op for your building will hire a professional to complete a repair and add the cost of their services to all the residents’ maintenance fees.
What are condo maintenance fees?
Condo maintenance fees are a monthly fee all condo owners must pay to cover building operating costs, building maintenance, and the cost of building amenities. Each condo owner is given “shares” determined by the size of their condo, so a person with a 2,000 sqft condo will have more shares than someone with a 1,400 sqft condo. The more shares you have, the greater share of the maintenance fees you’ll have to pay.
What’s the difference between common charges and maintenance fees?
Common charges are what you pay each month for the building’s maintenance, but common charges are focused on covering the costs of regular services than repairs. For example, your common charges may include fees for garbage collection, pool maintenance, lawn maintenance, snow removal, and utilities for communal areas. Essentially, any regularly scheduled fees for upkeep you benefit from will be included in your common charges.
Maintenance fees are similar and may include some regularly scheduled maintenance services, but also include things like repairing a pothole in the parking lot and replacing the worn-out carpet in the hallway.
Why might my condo maintenance fees increase?
While your condo common charges and maintenance fees make your life much more convenient (you don’t have to do repairs or organize them), they don’t protect you from price increases or unexpected building repairs. That means if your lawn care maintenance company puts up its fees, your common charges will almost certainly increase.
If the building is aging and starts to develop more problems, your maintenance fees will increase. While an older building does not necessarily mean you’re going to have more problems than living in a newer building, it is more likely.
Are condo maintenance fee increases permanent?
The good news is that while your condo maintenance fees may increase to cover the cost of a roof repair, maintenance fees can go up and down. For example, if your building needs a new HVAC system, the fees may increase for a few months or years to pay for it, and then decrease when the repair is “paid off.”
Of course, this also has its downsides. While you may have bought your condo when the maintenance fees were negligible, they may now be high to cover the cost of a major repair. Not only is this a hit on your budget, but it’s going to make your home more difficult to sell, should you want to.
How do I sell a condo with high maintenance fees?
If your maintenance fees are high or are on the rise, you may be concerned about how easy it will be to sell your home, especially if you’re thinking about moving to reduce your costs because you feel the maintenance fees have become unreasonable.
Step 1: Research
Your first step should be to get a realistic look at what condos in your area are charging for their maintenance fees. This can be done easily by looking at listings of similar condos that are currently for sale, as the maintenance fees should be on the listing. Don’t forget to compare building amenities as well as the condominiums themselves.
This will give you a good idea about whether your fees are actually abnormally high or not. You may be surprised to find that the increases in the cost of living since you bought your condo have driven up the cost of maintenance fees for all condos in your area, in which case you likely won’t have such a hard time selling your condo.
If you find your fees are high, you’ll need to keep this in mind as you move forward selling your condo.
Step 2: Consider the Building History
Depending on how long you’ve owned your condo, this may require a little bit of digging. Think about the history of your building and how often and regularly it has undergone repairs, renovations, and maintenance. If there’s a history of regular quality maintenance, you could present the history to potential buyers to show that the high fees are a sign of a quality place to live, rather than a sign of things to come.
Step 3: Decide on Your Strategy
Now you have a good picture of what potential buyers will think about the fees associated with your condo, you can consider what your condo has to offer. Is it in good condition? Is it in a highly desirable area? Think about its saleability and whether it will be an easy sell or a hard sell.
If you believe your condo will be in high demand, you may want to sell via the “traditional” route, i.e., through a realtor. If you want to get the most for your money and your condo and building are highly desirable, a realtor is usually your best option.
However, if your condo needs a lot of work and the building’s maintenance fees are also high, you may struggle to find a buyer willing to take on a lot of work and high fees. If you’re concerned about being unable to find a buyer, your best option will be to sell to a cash condo-buying company, like us. We buy homes in any condition in Massachusetts for cash, allowing you to liquidate your asset and move on with your life in just a few weeks.
Sell Your Condo in Massachusetts
All you need to do is reach out and tell us about your property, and we’ll give you our best cash offer upfront. You’re under no obligation to accept our offer, but if you do, we’ll get the ball rolling immediately and you can have the cash in your pocket in just a matter of weeks. If you’d like to find out more about how our process works or are ready to get your cash offer for your condo, get in touch with us!