What is an HOA?

A homeowners association or an HOA is an entity that is in charge of maintaining the condominium building in all the common areas. All of the owners in a development will contribute to the HOA to share the cost of all that maintenance.

HOA Monthly Dues

Those are the monthly dues that you'll see included with any condo or highrise purchase. The owners also elect members of the HOA board like a president, a treasurer and a secretary. Those are all owners within the development who run and serve on a board as an unpaid board member.

A really well-run HOA is so important when you are considering where you want to buy a condo. When you're evaluating different buildings you want to be sure they enforce the rules fairly and that they keep the building organized and maintained. You also want to be sure the HOA is putting away money each month from those dues into a reserve to fix any repairs and perform upgrades that could come up without having to charge you a special assessment.

You might see both an HOA and a management company for your condo. Those could be two different things; the HOA board consist of the condo owners and sometimes they might hire a management company to handle collecting the dues or other community services within the condo development.

How much are HOA fees?

We get this question all the time. The HOA fees vary greatly depending on what they include and the type of condo development itself. Some buildings include all utilities in the HOA fee including heating and air conditioning, so naturally that's going to be a little higher.

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  • $1,750,000
  • The 88
  • MLS® #: 54321
  • 88 E San Fernando St
  • San Jose, California 95113
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  • Mayfair Renaissance
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  • 195 14th Street NW Unit # 1902
  • Atlanta, Georgia 30309
  • 2 Bed, 2 Bath, 1,345 SqFt

A full service luxury building with a concierge and a valet parking attendant has to pay those salaries for that staff as well as maintain all the high-end amenities like the pools and fitness centers and landscaping so you're going to expect to see higher fees in a building like that.

Older buildings typically have higher HOA dues because they do require more ongoing maintenance, more repairs and more upkeep for a building that might be 60 or 70 years old. You'll typically find lower HOA fees in some of the newer and more modern buildings and at buildings that have fewer amenities.

A newer loft style building that maybe just has a small courtyard as the only amenity is going to have lower HOA fees because they don't have to maintain a pool or posses all the insurance that goes along with that. They probably won't have a full-time door person so if that's not important to you then it's good to find a building with the lower HOA dues because you're going to be paying those dues whether you use the amenities or not. You don't want to be paying for something you're not going to use.

HOA Sticker Shock

Sometimes people get sticker shock when they first see the HOA dudes because maybe they're moving from a single family house where they don't have an HOA or if they do it's maybe thirty or fifty dollars a month. If they are moving into a condo with an HOA fee of four or five hundred dollars a month it may be a bit scary.

However what many people don't understand is when you factor in that the HOA fee at the condo building includes insurance, so you don't have to purchase your own private structural insurance, a fitness center so you don't have to have a gym membership, trash, a pool, water, sewer, lawn maintenance and even gas and electricity in some, then it starts to be a little more of an apples to apples price comparison.

Also if you figure that with a house you have to repaint or reside your house every so many years, you don't have to do that in a condo. You don't have to pay to have a new roof put on your condo. All of those costs for a homeowner, while they're not monthly they do accumulate over the ownership of a house. If you factor that in and understand that those things will be now covered by the HOA it starts to make a little more sense.

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