If you’re thinking of purchasing a condominium, you may be surprised when you learn about the additional costs of condo fees you’ll have on top of all other expenses.
Condo fees are a must-pay and their prices are non-negotiable.
Every owner has to pay them on a monthly basis to the condo corporation which in turn is then used to pay for water usage, heating and an assortment of other things depending on the building.
Here is what you need to know about condo fees:
The cost of condo fees varies from building-to-building and also from region-to-region.
An average price per square foot in Toronto, Ontario for example Is around $0.50 and is typically a bit more than what you would pay in Calgary, Alberta or Vancouver, British Columbia.
However, depending on the location of a building, its age and what other desirable features it has, the price per square foot could easily approach $1.00 in all of these cities.
This is especially so for high-end luxury condominiums with all the bells and whistles such as those found at The Concord Luxury Condos in Eau Claire, Calgary.
If you are paying $0.40 per square foot and live in a 1,000 square foot condo, that amounts to $400 per month.
If you are paying $0.55 per square foot and live in a 1,000 square foot condo, that’s $550 per month.
As you can see, the slightest increase or decrease in cost per square foot can have a huge difference on how much condo fees you’ll have as an owner.
A difference of $150 multiplied by 12 months a year is a substantial chunk of cash ($1800) and you must be aware of the cost of condo fees when determining the affordability of a particular property.
Some more cost-considerations are:
- Older buildings tend to have higher condo fees because they require more maintenance
- Developments with an all-inclusive list of amenities will have higher condo fees because of upkeep costs
- Smaller buildings tend to have higher condo fees because costs are shared between fewer owners
- This also means that larger buildings usually have lower condo fees because of the same principle but reversed
As mentioned above, your condo fees pay for upkeep of in-house amenities, maintenance costs, part of your utilities and contribute to the buildings reserve fund.
All common areas are maintained by condo fees: fitness rooms, swimming pools, locker rooms, bathrooms, party rooms, lounge and social areas included.
Also, any services such as snow removal, cleaning, garbage services and repairs to any of the buildings elements will be paid for with condo fees.
The most common utilities covered by condo fees are water and heat, although this does vary from building-to-building.
For example, an older building with an ancient heating system may cost much more to heat than a newer building that has individual heating systems for each unit.
Heat costs in older buildings like these are usually shared between units on a per square foot basis and can be assigned outside of condo fees.
Any condo fees that aren’t used to pay for utilities, maintenance and other costs will be put into the buildings reserve fund.
This is basically a fund used to repair or damaged building parts in the event of an emergency.
Unfortunately the buildings reserve fund doesn’t always cover expensive maintenance jobs and condo owners may be stuck with a big bill for a roof repair or flood restoration.
Therefore, it is extremely important to choose your developer carefully and understand all angles about the building (location, elevation, etc.) before you sign on the dotted line.
Reviewing the status certificate of a building and its corporation before buying will reveal information on the financial status of the reserve fund, current costs, any legal bouts and potential increases in condo fees that could be coming.
A reserve fund is mandatory for all condo / apartment buildings across Canada.
Can my condo fees change?
Yes. Your condo fees per square foot are subject to change at any time and are controlled by your buildings condo board.
When considering a purchase at a new or resale condominium, it is crucial you factor in a potential increase per square foot for condo fees and see if it is still affordable for your budget.
More Condo Tips
Your Calgary Condo Guide – a complete guide to buying resale condominiums in Calgary.
New Calgary Condo Insider’s Guide – a complete guide to buying new condominiums in Calgary.
Questions about Calgary Condos?
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