Teresa Boardman compares the costs of heating and routine maintenance of a home vs. condo and comes to the conclusion that association fees are not nearly as bad as they may seem when compared to the costs associated with home ownership:
The $460 monthly dues cover Heating, hazard insurance, water, sewer, refuse removal, lawn care, snow removal and exterior maintenance. Our costs for a similar size home are $363 a month for heating, insurance, sewer, water and refuse removal, leaving $97 a month for exterior maintenance, snow removal and lawn care.
I don’t even have to factor in the cost of lawn care and snow removal to see that the dues are a bargain. Our exterior maintenance costs spread out over the length of time we have owned our home easily come out to more than $100 dollars a month.
I may be overstating her case, but she does raise and interesting exercise worth considering if you’re trying to decide whether a house or condo is more appropriate for your needs.
Of course, association fees may be going to other stuff like fitness centers, pools, and common rooms that you wouldn’t have to maintain in a home.
What I’d like to see as a follow-up from Teresa is some advice on how to determine whether association fees are reasonable for a given property.