Homeowner and Condominium Association Fees and Real Estate Alphabet Soup Demystfied
HOA, MHOA, Condo, CDD, DRC, POA, MSTU … Transfer fee, application fee, capital contribution fee, initiation fee, deposit fee, amenity fee, cable hook-up, irrigation hook-up, on and on and on…
Are you dizzy yet? Need help with all this? Most everyone does. Some will ask and understand, others ask and don’t understand, and yet others don’t even ask. Don’t be in the last two categories.
What about new construction? Simply put, usually more fees and purchase expense compared to resale properties. See note about new construction.
Many years ago I put this page Association Types and Fees, What do I Pay? on my website. To this day, that page is routinely ranked in the top ten pages read by my website users.
I work with buyers coming to the area quite a bit. Second home buyers, reverse snowbird buyers, nearing retirement buyers, and those that are making the break completely from cold weather and high taxes (no income tax in Florida and moderate real estate and sales tax.) When I do, my first objective is for me to learn and understand the buyer’s requirements and then to begin the buyer education process.
“I don’t want to pay all those fees…” Very typical from prospective buyers I hear all the time. You get what you pay for applies. Properties with none or few amenities, non-gated or gated but not manned, landscaped but not lush will have lower fees compared to rich resort-like amenities, manned entry gates, gorgeous lush landscaping with cobblestone roadways, club house and community center, and dining facilities…
Most all homeowner and condo associations are nonprofit corporations registered with the state. They must operate in accordance with the regulating statutes and simply pass through the actual expenses required to run the association.
Special Assessments, the term that makes everyone cringe. These come about most often for two key reasons. 1) A budgeted and planned expense has insufficient reserves when it comes time to actually pay the bill or a sudden, unexpected, and unbudgeted event required immediate action, and 2) members of the association approved a major capital expense to “improve” the common area property beyond maintenance and preservation. Special assessments may also be imposed by municipalities, not just homeowner/condo associations.
Suffice it to say, there is a lot to learn or maybe re-learn if it has been a long time since you made a property purchase or if this is the first time purchase in an association controlled community. Be sure to visit Association Types and Fees, What do I Pay? to get started.
Image courtesy of Sujin Jetkasettakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net