What are condo fees? Condo fees are paid monthly by every condo homeowner in addition to your mortgage payment. Condo fees are sometimes known as maintenance fees, as they help with maintenance of the building, pay the salaries of groundskeepers/staff, provide amenities such as pools, gyms, courtyards, etc.
How are they calculated? They are assessed per unit based on square footage. You’ll also have a chance to review the condo management budget to see what goes into the amount needed.
What’s included in this fee? Many buildings have amenities such as a pool, gym, underground parking, a courtyard, etc. which you’ll have access to by paying your monthly condo fee. Some buildings include utilities in your condo fee, such as gas, electric, and/or water. Not every building will do this, so keep in mind additional monthly expenses (ex. cable/Internet).
Factors that play into calculations? Age of the condo building, types of amenities (hint: no pool means lower condo fee), how many people are delinquent on their payments. Be a good neighbor – pay your condo fees every month! If you fail to pay, a lawsuit and/or lien may be placed on your unit.
How often do they change? Annually. It’s up to the condo board to make changes to the budget. Changes will affect condo fees, and you can pretty much guarantee if there’s a change, it’s an increase. It may be small, say 4%, but it’s still an increase.
What about townhouses? Most townhomes have a Homeowners Association (commonly referred to as an HOA). In this case, you often have a monthly or quarterly assessed fee, but it’s usually much lower than a condo fee. Unless the townhome is part of a larger development (like Fairlington where you have community centers with a gym, tots lot, etc.) usually the HOA fee includes paving/snow removal of the main roads and common area lawn maintenance (a planned Townhome community like this isn’t common in Arlington, you’ll find them more in Alexandria and Reston).
So now that we’ve covered how they’re calculated and what they include, what are some average condo fees for Arlington at this point in time (2010)?
Studio Condos: Usually mid- $200′s, especially for newer buildings, but as high as mid-$300′s for some older buildings
1 Bedroom Condos: Usually mid-$300′s for newer buildings, but as high as mid-$500′s for older buildings (condo fees that high usually include electric, gas, and water)
2 Bedrooms Condos: There’s a HUGE range in this condo fee – from mid-$400′s to mid-$800′s. Generally speaking – older = higher, younger = lower.
3 Bedroom Condos+: Usually if you have at least 3 bedrooms, you’re looking at a substantial condo fee – about $900+/mo (many are well over $1,000/month).
Examples of how to scope these out are below:
If you use my Free Home Search Tool, look for this:
If you use FranklyMLS, look for this: