Welcome to Centers and Squares

As a Cambridge real estate agent, the city squares of Cambridge, Somerville and Medford and the town centers of Arlington, Watertown and Belmont, Massachusetts are my home turf. And as a lifelong New Englander who’s lived within twenty miles of Boston most of my life, I can introduce you to other nearby towns as we search for your new home. If you’re planning to sell your home in Cambridge, MA or nearby you’ll find plenty of info about the home selling process here too. Questions? Send me an email or call me at 617-504-1737.

What Do Condo Fees Cover?

condo fees cover a variety of expensesWhat Do Condo Fees Cover?   Many first time real estate buyers tend to think of condo fees as an “extra cost” of owning a condo.  I know I did. Then I bought a house as my first home and quickly came to realize that home ownership inevitably had expenses associated with it. Condo fees started looking a lot more reasonable to me.

So what are the typical things that condo fees cover for condos in Cambridge and nearby towns?

The two expenses most often included in the fees:

Master insurance – this is the insurance policy that covers the building structure and common areas. Typically you’re responsible for insuring the interior of your unit and, if so, banks have started requiring you to purchase additional coverage, called HO-6 insurance, prior to your closing.

 Water and sewer bills –  Typically in Cambridge you’ll find just one water and sewer meter in the building. If that’s the case then those bills will be paid via the condo fees.  Some condo docs will spell out a formula that prorates cost by number of residents per condo but more often, the  bills are simply paid from the condo fees collected.

Other Expenses That May Be Paid Through Condo Fees

  • Heat and / or hot water
  • Snow removal
  • Landscaping
  • Exterior maintenance
  • Professional management
  • Elevator
  • Concierge or security desk
  • Swimming pool
  • Common area cleaning
  • Contribution to reserves
  • Common utilities

Many of the expenses covered by condo fees are simply the cost of home ownership that’s shared by you and other members of the condo association.  Some expenses may cover things that are less important to you – a pool, an elevator, a health club.  Others are costs in lieu of doing it yourself – snow removal, professional management, etc.  You have to decide if the benefits provided are worth the expense of higher fees.

High condo fees are not necessarily bad – they may be an indication that the condo association is budgeting with the long view in mind. Buildings cost money to maintain and an association that fails to budget for inevitable repairs and upgrades will suffer from deferred maintenance and the possibility of large assessments to cover overdue projects.

On the other hand, some associations prefer to keep fees on the low side while each association member banks their own money until such time the association decides to pay for a project by divvying up the cost among the members.

As a part of the homebuying process you’ll have the chance to review the condominium association’s financial documents. You’ll want to decide if you’re comfortable with the finances and the association’s financial style.

Categories: Buyer Info

  1. Ron

    Currently living in area code #207..Kennebec County ZIP#04901,in consideration of selling my house..Wanted what other expenses I could incur buying a condo unit..currently have no mortgage responsibilities ..Where do I go from here ?

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