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Condo Fees: The Basics

Posted By:  Susan Forrest on Mar 11, 2020

Thinking About Buying a Condo?

Condominium living is an extremely popular choice for many Oceanside residents, with Nanaimo, Parksville and Qualicum Beach offering a wide variety of units to choose from. A condo offers relatively carefree housing, security, and comfort. According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), nearly one million Canadian households own a condo and the demand is constantly increasing.

If you’re thinking of making an offer on a condo, be sure to scrutinize the condo fees carefully. Be wary of the lowest condo fees in town...new condo developers sometimes reduce fees in order to attract buyers, but they will have to be increased to maintain the building. For existing buildings, condo fees that are too low may be a red flag that preventative maintenance and major renovations are being put off...and if a building is neglected, it loses value and can be expensive to insure!

What do they cover?

Condominium fees are used to maintain and repair the building. The fees may also cover:

-Window washing, repairing and painting common areas, garbage collection and recycling pickup.

-Landscaping, lawn maintenance, the cleaning and upkeep of pools, fitness rooms, and amenities

-Maintenance on the heating, cooling and security systems.

-Utilities, cable and Internet access.

-Employee salaries (for the caretaker and cleaning staff, for instance), insurance policies for the common areas, and building management expenses.

A percentage of the condo fees are deposited in a reserve fund (or a contingency fund). These funds provide a cushion for major renovations and repairs that may be required in the future (for example, when a new roof is required). Each condo strata is required to produce a Depreciation Report so the owners know, for instance, that the roof will need to be redone in three years, the railings and stairs in ten years, etc. You should always make sure the strata has a good contingency fund set aside to avoid unpleasant special assessments.

Before signing a purchase offer on a condo, it’s a good idea to scrutinize the building’s disclosure statement and operating budget carefully...it will help you make an informed choice.

Living in a condo makes life easier and now that you know more about condo fees, you can ask the right questions to make the right decisions!

Photos: Craig Bay, Parksville, BC

If you're thinking of buying or selling a home, condo, lot or land on Vancouver Island BC, contact the real estate professionals of Team Susan Forrest Royal LePage Parksville-Qualicum Beach, serving the Mid Island area including Nanoose Bay, Errington, Coombs, Hilliers, Whiskey Creek, Fairwinds, Craig Bay, French Creek, Qualicum Bay, Qualicum North, Horne Lake, Beachcomber, Rivers Edge, San Pareil, Lantzville, and Nanaimo

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