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Know the Difference Between Condo Fees and HOA Fees

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More people have opted to live in condos in the past couple of decades. Condos are the more affordable alternative to having a place one can call their own, whereas single-family homes require a substantial investment. Some also make the condo their starter home that’s packed with a motherlode of amenities. Others favor condos because of their location which is usually near or within a commercial district that they frequent for work. 

If you desire to live in one of the lovely condos in Bethesda, it’s best to be aware of the fees you will be required to pay on top of what is indicated on the price tag. One type of regular expense that’s required from any condo owner is the condo fee, as opposed to the homeowners’ association fee. How different are these two? Read on. 

The big difference

Both condo buildings and neighborhoods have their respective associations. These associations are managed by people chosen by the residents themselves. To manage the premises of both locales, a recurring fee is collected among all the members of these associations. That’s where the similarity between the condo fee and the HOA fee ends.

Perhaps the biggest difference between these two fees lies in the scope of the property being managed. You own the space inside your unit when you live in a condo. As for everything else outside your unit’s door, these are jointly owned by all members of the condo association, meaning, all its residents. Maintenance of these spaces and structures requires financial support; ergo, the monthly condo fees. 

Single-family homeowners, meanwhile, own both the home and the lot on which it stands. The HOA fee, therefore, is for the upkeep of shared community facilities. The homeowners are responsible for the maintenance and repairs of their respective abodes.

Where condo fees go

Condo fees basically have one single purpose: to keep the quality of life in the entire condo building at optimum levels. This fund goes into professional trash disposal, maintenance of the building’s exterior, hazard insurance for the entire structure, lawn care, and security staffing. Basic utilities like electric, water, and cooling/heating systems are also included in the entire package. 

Moreover, if you choose to live in a condo with more shared facilities and amenities, expect the monthly fees to be higher. So, before deciding on purchasing a unit in a certain condo, check first the range of amenities available here and if these said amenities will be useful to you. 

Where HOA fees go

The HOA, for its part, doesn’t cover as much ground as the condo association, primarily because they don’t have a say in the interiors of the homes within its jurisdiction. The fee they collect often goes to the maintenance of common areas like green spaces, playgrounds, fitness centers, swimming pools, and other recreational venues.

How fees are determined

There is also a difference in the way management crunches the numbers to come up with the dues they charge owners every month. In most HOAs, the fee is divided equally for the upkeep of common areas. As for condos, fees differ depending on how large the resident’s owned unit is. The larger the unit, the higher the required fee.

Talk to our Bethesda real estate agents if you need advice in choosing your next abode. Our team at Heller Coley Reed (Long & Foster) will gladly present you with the best real estate options in Washington DC. Call us at 888.907.6643 or 301.674.2829, or send us a message at HellerColeyReed(at)gmail(dotted)com.