No. Maintenance fees ensure a condo functions smoothly, appeals to buyers (meaning, curb appeal) and that home owners live a bit more ‘stress free’ than house owners. Before you buy a condo, ask yourself these questions to help bring clarity to the great maintenance fee debate.
1. Are you proactive with repairs and do you enjoy or able to fix things?
Living in a condo, there are fewer seasonal maintenance items that require your attention in comparison to a house. No eavestrough cleaning, landscaping or pipe maintenance in preparation for cold weather or changing of seasons. If you’re handy and able to fix these without hiring someone, spending money on maintenance fees may not be for you.
2. Would you use the amenities of a building, like a gym, pool, party room, dog wash spa or concierge?
If the amenities of a condo appeal to you and you will use them in place of existing gym or club memberships, then maintenance fees are definitely not a waste of money. The cost savings of a monthly gym or club membership and the use of the concierge for deliveries and security may be worth a lot more than you pay in monthly maintenance fees.
3. Are you financially prepared for larger costs associated with repairs?
While there is no doubt that the steady monthly maintenance fee payments can seem like a lot of money, some homeowners are not financially prepared for the costs of air conditioning, furnace or pipe issues (like sewer backup and basement floods) that can cost significant amounts of money at ONE MOMENT in time, when they go wrong. Not that condos are immune from these problems but the financial burden of a furnace that breaks down in the winter can be surprising when you need to spend $5000-$15,000 to fix or replace it.