Living the San Francisco Dream


"I noticed that often times the more expensive condos ....."

"I noticed that often times the more expensive condos have lower HOA [fees] and vise versa. Is that generally the case?"

Thus read a note from a client. I know that when one person asks a question others likely have wondered the same, so here's my take on that:

  • If a complex is small, has an elevator and/or swimming pool, or pays some homeowner utility bills -- fees tend to be high (fewer people to cover the cost of expensive amenities.
  • If a complex is newer -- prices tend to be high, but monthly fees are often lower (for now--likely to change in the future)
  • If a complete is large -- monthly fees are spread among more owners, so can be lower
  • If a complex is older, with deferred maintenance--either monthly fees are high to make up the deficit, or there likely is or will be soon a special assessment.

Mortgage brokers with whom I work often pre-approve buyers using a $400 or $500 per month HOA figure, depending on the size property desired and general area. It's a good idea to be conservative in the planning stage.

Contact me for examples of condominium and townhouse association fees in San Francisco, San Mateo County and the Silicon Valley - they vary widely.

262 Beachview #4, Pacifica, CA  Miramar Terrace, Santa Clara, CA 

--- Come for a visit; Stay for a lifetime!

Lottie Kendall, Realtor®


CA DRE#10215160; 650-465-4547

Peninsula Living Business Page



Comment balloon 8 commentsLottie Kendall • August 18 2013 09:48AM


Lottie, HOA fees sure to vary widely. Low HOA fees does not equate to financial stability of the association either. Many get slapped with special assessments in lieu of increased monthly fees, or both. I always recommend an HOA doc review so that buyers can get a feel for association's financials. 

Posted by Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist, Probate Real Estate (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) about 7 years ago

This is a great explanation of where HOA fees go and why they vary from place to place.  Having buyers know about amount used during pre-approvals is especially valuable.

Posted by Bryan Robertson about 7 years ago

Sometimes there seems no rhyme nor reason to the HOA fees for different buildings.  But you provide an excellent explanation, Lottie.

Posted by Jane Peters, Los Angeles real estate concierge services (Home Jane Realty) about 7 years ago

Lottie - You've made it really easy for buyers to think through why HOA fees may be higher, or lower as they compare developments.  Excellent explanation on HOA fees!

Posted by Laura Allen, Lake Tahoe - Truckee Real Estate for Sale, Tahoe Real Estate Agent Helping Buyers and Sellers (Coldwell Banker, Tahoe City, CA (530) 414-1260) about 7 years ago

Lottie, It is the economy of scale. I have noticed the same thing and the newer the better.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) about 7 years ago

Kathleen, HOA fees do vary widely. I always read, and more importantly, have my buyers read HOA docs as thoroughly as they can, even/especially the newsletters -- they can tell a story about how the association functions, whether harmonioiusly or with acrimony. And of course, the financials are crucial.

Bryan, isn't it great when clients ask questions like this one?

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) about 7 years ago

Hello, Jane. I'm sure you see a wide varience in your Wilshire Corridor condo projects. Is there a rhyme or reason that you've determined?

Laura, I'm glad you think my explanation is sensible. Do you have many HOA's in your area around Lake Tahoe?

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) about 7 years ago

Debbie, economy of scale is a big determining factor in HOA fees - makes a lot of sense, right?

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) about 7 years ago