Home Owner Association fees, or HOA fees for short, are part of life when you by a condo and the majority of townhomes. Although nobody loves them or walks around wearing a t-shirt proclaiming I LOVE HOA FEES!, they still cover some of the stuff you would have to pay regardless of the type of home you purchase or own.
Note that, for Seattle real estate at least, 99% of house owners do not have to pay HOA dues since they were built before the advent of big cookie-cutter developments and private communities.
Condo HOA monthly fees will usually be a lot higher than those for townhomes and buyers will need to take this into consideration when calculating how much they can afford to buy and pay each month. For condos in Ballard Seattle dues for a 1-bedroom condo vary between $224 and $265/month and $200 to $994 for a 2-bedroom.
You need to add the homeowner association fees to the expected monthly principal + interest + property taxes + insurance (PITI) payments.
Buyers will naturally be attracted to homes with low HOA fees and be less keen on those with high monthly dues. However, buyer beware, just because the fees are low does not automatically mean it’s a good thing
Just like property taxes, HOA fees rarely go down and usually go up over time and so knowing the financial health of the homeowners association and overall health of the building itself are important. There are certain ...
The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge - Thomas Berger.
Condos are a popular option with many first time home buyers mainly because they are more affordable. They are also a good fit for home owners looking to downsize and have someone else take care of all the maintenance hassles. Or if you want to be close to the hub of downtown life and stroll to bars, cafes an restaurants, then a condo is probably your only option.
There are pros and cons to buying a condo versus a house. However, buying a condo is not the same as buying a house. There's a whole other set of questions you need to ask when buying a condominium.
The answers to these questions will help you decide whether you should even make an offer in the first place or bail on the sale once you get all the facts.
Ideally, you want to get answers to as many of these questions BEFORE you make an offer. You want to avoid wasting your time (and the seller's) getting into a contract when there's a good chance you will bail once you have all the answers.
When it comes to buying a condominium, the problem is that it is not usually possible to get all the answers up front. You might have to make an offer first to get all the nitty-gritty details. This applies in particular to the infamous Resale Certificate, but more on that later.
Here's a list of the most important questions to ask when buying...