When you’re buying a condo, you’ll need to consider more than just your mortgage when laying out your costs. Condos also charge owners a monthly fee, not unlike rent, to cover certain shared expenses. These fees can easily cost hundreds of dollars per month, so it’s important to know what you’re paying for.
Condo fees will typically cover items like landscaping, snow removal, insurance for the building, contingency fund contributions, maintenance, and cleaning of the common areas.
Now, a lot of people get really excited when they see a building that has very low condo fees, but we usually encourage them to take a step back and ask why.
It’s very common across the island of Montreal to have buildings that, especially when you’re dealing with a developer, will sell you on a very low condo fee. However, after three or four years, they often notice that there’s not enough money in the contingency fund or to cover maintenance, so the fees will start to creep up.
There are also a few older buildings that have tried to keep costs very low, often by managing these things internally, but that approach isn’t always sustainable and may result in increases down the road.
In the end, it’s all about evaluating what the “appropriate” amount of condo fees should be for where you’ve living. There are certainly some that are too high, so we always try to find a happy medium.
Your tolerance for condo fees might change if you’re an investor versus an owner-occupant, but you always want to take a second and ask the right questions: What’s included in these condo fees and how much money is in the contingency fund? Are there extra costs that are going to come our way? Are we really prepared for a new roof, for new windows, for things of that nature?
Make sure you have the full picture before making a decision. If you don’t you might end up paying for it (literally) down the road.
Not sure if you’re getting overcharged on condo fees? Found a unit that seems almost too good to be true? Tell our team about your situation and we’ll help you get some clarity!