One of the first things I discuss with condo buyers are the maintenance fees, also referred to as HOA fees (Home Owners Association) or AOAO fees. (Association of Apartment Owners) All of these terms refer to a monthly fee charged to each condo owner for the management, insurance, upkeep, maintenance and future repairs (reserve funds) needed for the given complex. Typically, maintenance fees cover the following:
Professional Fees- Legal
Accounting Fees Audit
Common Area Electricity
Water & Sewer
Community Association Dues Supplies
Pest Control Taxes-General Excise
Real Property Tax on Grounds (Land)
Real Property Tax on “Structure”
Insurance-Package Fire, Hurricane, Liability
A few also cover electricity within the unit as well as cable TV.
Maintenance fees vary widely depending on the project but generally start around $400 month and go up. Buyer’s need to know this from the start in order to accurately determine their buying power.
In addition, they need to be aware that maintenance fees can and do increase over time. Many complexes on the Island faced increases this year caused by spiraling insurance costs due to the Hurricane damage suffered on the mainland. For example, the Cliff’s condo fees went up 15% as of the first of the year because of this – from apprx. $495 to $575.
No part of the fee is “profit” for the Association. Condo Associations are non-profit corporations set up to administer the building on behalf of the owners. The directors are almost always unpaid volunteer unit-owners. Larger projects will have a paid staff usually consisting of a licensed Community Association Manager and staff.
Outside of normal maintenance fees, a unit owner can be exposed to “Special Assessments” for large maintenance items for which adequate reserves do not exist as well as for updating and improving the property (“capital improvements”). This occurs less often but can happen.
Condo associations are required by State law to maintain a reserve fund to pay for anticipated future repairs, like repaving or reproofing. If funds are not available to pay for needed upgrades or repairs, then the Association will vote on a special assessment.
Although these fees may seem high, when you sit down and calculate the cost of all these items for a single family home: yard maintenance, property insurance, building upkeep and maintenance, pest control and management for a single family home, these numbers start to make sense.
Plus, in a condo you can be gone for extended trips or vacations and not have to worry if your gardener showed up this week ! I like my large “front yard” that disappears over the bluff into the ocean. I have a gardener that comes each day and rakes up the Plumeria blossoms that fell from the trees the day before. Someone makes sure the trees branches don’t get so long as to scrape against my lanai. They leave a note on my door letting me know when to expect pest control. (condo fees at the Cliffs include exterior as well as interior pest control.) All I have to do is show up and enjoy the view! For me, condo living is ideal.
If you have questions about the maintenance fees of any Princeville or Kauai condos, please do not hesitate to ask. Below is a link to a spreadsheet which will show all the maintenance fees of condos currently on the market:
Aloha for now, Elaine