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Condominium Association Dues - What Should I Expect?

If you are searching for a new home or condominium in the greater Burlington Area, you have probably seen many of which have association fees. If you have rented in the past or have owned a home with it's own land, this may be a new concept for you. This post will dive into some of the details of Association Fees, so that you are more prepared when looking at a home or condo that may have them.

  • Single Family Homes May have Association Fees!

    A particularly popular concept in today's real estate market is one of "Carriage Homes." Simply put, these are typically singlefamily homes that are part of an association- similar to that of a condo. You may have exclusive rights to use the land immediately around your home, but the land is technically the associations. Along with this land being "common", comes the need for the association to maintain the lawns, and even remove snow from the driveways. Having limited maintenance is a huge benefit for some homeowners, but buyers should be aware there is an associated cost for such a neighborhood.
    Vermont condo associations

    An example of a "carriage home" in Essex

  • Condominium fees in "high rise" structures are typically based on square footage of each individual unit.

    From a management perspective, this is typically the easiest (and fairest) way to set each units fee. In Downtown Burlington's popular College and Battery complex, the fees can range from $250 for a 1 Bedroom Unit- $800+ for a 3 bedroom penthouse. In such a project, Gas heat for each unit is typically included along with general cleaning and maintenance of the building, along with water and sewer fees.
    Burlington Condo Real Estate

    An example of a "carriage home" in Essex

  • Parking is not always included!

    This is typically something you will need to examine asyou look at more "urban" located projects in downtown Burlington such as; "College and Battery", "The Westlake", "Hinds Lofts" and "The Stratos". Parking (and private storage)at the Westlake, for example, is included with the association fees for each unit owner. Having an attached parking garage makes this possible, but it should be noted that not all condominium projects in downtown Burlington have such a luxury. You may need to pay for off-site parking, which is obviously important to plan and budget for.
  • Who typically manages the association?

    Associations can either be privately managed amongst the homeowners, or contracted out to a private property manager. In my experience, this really comes down to the time that the individual homeowners have to manage their neighborhood. Sending out billing, managing maintenance of the grounds, and making sure you have the best pricing for contracted out services can take a great deal of time. On the other hand, associations that contract out their management will have cost associated with such a decision.
  • Always ask about reserves, and what they cover.

    Home-buyers typically ask how much their monthly dues are, but they often fail to ask how much reserves an association may have on hand. If you are looking at a condominium in a 20 year old complex, the reserves should be healthy enough to cover some major exterior improvements including a new roof, for example. If the condo complex does not have adequate reserves for basic improvements, you may be hit with a large assessment in the future!
In summary, not every association is created equal! Always ask the details of what is included, and never assume anything. When I have represented sellers, I have always found it beneficial to personally contact the property managers or association board members on behalf of my clients. It is something that can go a long way and prepare a future home-buyer for any unexpected expenses.