It’s easy to understand your mortgage, your utility bills, and your taxes. But what are HOA dues going toward?
Life is good. You just bought a brand new condo, your career is taking off, and you have great neighbors and friends that you enjoy spending time with on the weekends. Then it comes. You’ve been expecting it, but somewhere in the back of your mind, you thought they might forget.
That small piece of paper in today’s mail is your bill for your HOA dues. It’s not that you can’t afford it. It’s just that, well, you’re not quite sure what they’re for, either. The truth is, the answer may vary widely depending on your location, the size and type of condo you own, and even the way those dues are managed.
Even though the details may be different, most condo fees and HOA dues work roughly the same way. This is one reason that, no matter where you are, it’s imperative that you take a close look at the HOA contract when you are buying a property.
If you already have an HOA or condo association in place, attend the meetings. Find out what your dues are supporting, and how to help your community be a better and more interesting place.
What is an HOA and what are HOA dues
- What is an HOA?
This seems like a good place to begin, yes? A Homeowners Association (HOA) and a Condo Association are, for the most part, similar entities. An HOA is a management entity elected by residents to take financial responsibility for general and emergency maintenance of common areas in a condo or development neighborhood.
In plain English, that means your HOA takes care of things like cleaning the pool, yard work in common areas, and leaky roofs. (If you’ve ever had a leak in your roof, you know how nice it is to have someone else take care of this problem.)
An HOA isn’t just for condo communities, though. Subdivisions, suburban neighborhoods, and even city neighborhoods may have a formal or informal HOA. Some HOAs also set community standards regarding things like the exterior colors of your home, lawn decorations, or where you can park your car.
- What are HOA dues?
HOA dues are also known as condo fees, and are paid monthly. These are dues paid to the association to help take care of common areas and general maintenance.
Your HOA dues can be used to hire contractors for general maintenance, to pay a management company, to cover insurance for common areas, garbage collection, or pay for things like condo security. There should also be a reserve of HOA dues to cover emergency and occasional expenses, like clean up after a heavy storm or paying for entertainment at a condo neighborhood block party.
The specifics will vary according to your condo association, but this is generally where your HOA dues are going. Your condo board can provide you with the specific budget if that is something you are interested in reading.
- How much are HOA dues?
The most general range for this is between $200 and $400 per month, although that is only an average. In some luxury condo associations within big cities and in tourist areas, those dues can be substantially higher. Likewise, small associations that don’t have many expenses may have lower dues.
We should note, though, that some condo associations have the legal authority to levy an assessment. Assessments are additional fees above your regular HOA dues to cover unexpected expenses that the reserve fund doesn’t have the money to cover.
What to lookout for with HOA dues
Of course, we all like it when the grass is mowed, the flowers are watered, and the pool is clean on a hot summer day. But like any good epic story, there is a dark side. A few delinquent HOA members or poor management of funds can quickly turn the nicest of developments into a nightmare.
Mismanagement or lack of funds may result in higher dues for everyone in the neighborhood. Your HOA could end up short on money to pay the bills for lawn care, security, or garbage collection – that is a stinky situation to be in.
This is one of the many reasons we believe communication and participation are good for everyone. It also happens to be one of the features of the Evercondo app.
Do you need to talk to your condo association or property manager about HOA dues, or anything else? Contact us for a demonstration, and we’ll show you how we can facilitate communication throughout your condo association, from owners to property managers.