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Can I negotiate my condo fees? (and what happens if they increase after purchase)

“Always pick your yard based on your Summer lifetstyle.”


March 26, 2018 - Karl Yeh

Planning to buy a condo or townhome? Worried about the condo fees and if you can negotiate for a lower fee? In this episode, we discuss if condo fees can be negotiated and what if they increase due to a condo board decision you disagreed with. We also explore what happens if you don't pay your fees. 

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Karl Yeh:

Hi everyone, welcome to another edition of Homebuyer's School.

Today I'm joined by Karen McDonald, Community Manager with Brookfield Residential, and today the question we're going to answer is:

Are condo fees negotiable?

So that's one that I think every condo or potential condo homeowner wants to know is, can we negotiate those fees.

Karen McDonald:          No you can't.

Karl Yeh:                       Oh.

Karen McDonald:         

No, and really what [00:01:00] it is is you have to, right when you're buying, you have to consider that as part of your overall monthly expense.

Condo fees aren't negotiable because they pay for maintenance of the building, maintenance of the common area, maintenance of any kind of recreation facilities that are in there as well too, and insurance on the building.

So ultimately you don't want to have somebody that would be paying less than what is owed depending on what size of home they have within the development.

Karl Yeh:                      

So I can't [00:01:30] say, "Well, I don't use this, I don't use this, so I don't have to pay as much"?

Karen McDonald:          No.

I mean that's all a part of the buying process.

Consider where you're buying and what the amenities include, and if you know that you're never going to use the fitness facility, or the swimming pool, or anything like that, maybe you should reconsider where you're buying because you will be paying for it on a monthly basis.

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What if amenities are built that increases condo fees after you purchased?

Karl Yeh:                      

One thing I've always wanted to know is ... I bought a condo. There was no swimming pool, but then the next [00:02:00] year, I guess the condo board decided, "Hey, we would like a swimming pool," and then the fees went up, and then I never bought into a condo that I really wanted that swimming pool. How would you address that?

Karen McDonald:         

Well, the decision to build a swimming pool would be a huge one for the homeowners board to go over.

They would have to have 75% approval from all homeowners to go forward with any large expense like that, so that's where I would say that's your time to put [00:02:30] it forward.

When the vote goes down, you have to be able to say yay or nay.

To a large degree, if the majority rules, the majority rules. Then I guess from there you would consider whether you want to stay where you are.

Karl Yeh:                      

And what happens if I don't pay my condo fees?

Karen McDonald:         

Well, that would be a bad thing. Really, condo fees, the management board can come back to you if you don't pay condo fees.

They can [00:03:00] put late fee payments on there. They can make sure that you have liens on your home as well, too, so it's big.

Condo fees, when you purchase a new home, you agree to pay that on a monthly basis.

It's a contractual agreement between you and the management company so in order to not have any late fees or penalty payments, pay them on a monthly basis. [00:03:30] Make sure that you're doing that.

Karl Yeh:                      

Thank you very much Karen. Thank you very much for joining us, and we'll catch you next time.


Your turn:

Let us know if you have additional condo questions or home buying questions that we can answer by submitting them in the comments section below. 

Homebuyer's School publishes new content weekly so subscribe or check back regularly for the latest information, strategies and tips from homebuying experts.  

About Karen McDonald:

This is my 12th year with Brookfield Residential.  I have been involved in 8 sites now with 7 in multi-family and 1 Single Family.  I received my certification as a New Home Sales Professional from PHBIA in 2008. 

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