Likely you've heard that 2017 was a big year for attached and apartment home sales across Greater Vancouver; quickly rising in popularity as a top housing choice for first-time buyers due to their relative affordability in our scorching hot market. Furthermore, condos can be an excellent option for anyone (first-time buyers, downsizers, or the working professional) who doesn't want the associated maintenance that comes with home ownership. 

We've adapted this article from RE/MAX to inform you on everything you need to know about condo fees - how they are calculated, and what they cover. 

What are Condo Fees?

Every condo owner will pay an ongoing, non-negotiable fee; adjusted annually based on the condo's operating budget.  The larger your unit in the building, the larger your fee will be. 

Your condo fees are divided into different categories: utilities, maintenance for common areas, amenities, and the reserve fund

Utilities - a portion of your condo fees will often go to utilities like water, hydro, and sometimes your heat. However, some brand-new condos are now built with individual hear pumps which are controlled by the individual owner. Be sure to ask your REALTOR® before you purchase. 

Maintenance - because you don't have to do the maintenance, means that someone else does! These fees cover the expense of having all of this taken care of: think snow and garbage removal, cleaning, window washing, and any minor repairs to the shared common areas. 

Amenities - the more amenities your condo has, the higher these fees will be! Many condos offer residents the use of an in-building pool, fitness facility, games and entertainment room, and even an in-house theatre. Your fees cover these too, so if you don't use these things, perhaps purchasing into a building which has fewer could save you $$$ on your fees. 

Reserve - when you pay your condo fees, a portion is kept aside by the board as part of their savings account. This savings account is to pay for costly items which arise - like a roof replacement. In the case that there is not enough in the account to cover the bill, every condo owner will have to pay their share in order to cover the cost. Just like any home owner, you need to be considering emergencies when budgeting for your condo purchase, too! 

Be sure to incorporate condo fees into your budget if you're considering investing in a condo - plus, these can increase as time goes on and the condo ages. Prior to submitting an offer on a condo, be sure to acquire a copy of the condo's status certificate. These only cost $100 but will provide you and your REALTOR® with the important financials you'll want to know before making an investment. 

If you have questions about condo ownership in Richmond, Ladner, Tsawwassen, or Vancouver West - be sure to get in touch! 

We're here to help!

Michael Cowling & Associates