"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.