How much is the Condo fee and what’s included? Any upcoming assessments?
Someone moving from a single family home to a condo building might not be familiar with a homeowner’s association. An HOA is a private organization of property owners. It’s usually outlined by a developer, and passed onto individual owners as the properties are sold. Different HOAs have different goals. In condo buildings, HOAs are in charge of common area maintenance, shared utilities and maintaining adherence to the association’s by laws. Usually there’s a board elected to oversee the association, with all members having voting rights. Right now there are 105 condominiums for sale in the Back Bay, with association fees ranging from $150/mo to $5094/mo. The fee is going to be determined by what’s included. Often times heat, water and sewer are included in the fee. In more full service buildings, it’ll also include the doorman’s salary, gym upkeep and potentially parking. When a building is expecting a large expense, or recovering from one, the board can elect for a special assessment. A special assessment is a predetermined increase for a set period of time. Fees are usually determined within the building by square footage. If you’re looking to buy a 3,0000 square foot penthouse and there’s an assessment coming up, know that it might cost you a significant amount of money.
How much are taxes?
Nobody like taxes. In Boston, you’re usually looking at around .86% of the assessed value in taxes. Around here, the assessed value is around 80-90% of the market value. If you’re moving to Boston as your primary residence, be sure to file for a residential exemption. If your qualify, you can get about $2,500 off of your annual tax bill.
How many units in the building are owner occupied?
This is a good indication of the attention the building will get. It’s a good sign when owners want to live in their property, versus renting it out. Generally, homeowners are more involved.
What’s the condition of the systems?
This one hits a little close to home for me. I wasn’t into real estate when I bought my condo in 2008. I don’t even remember having it inspected. I noticed my heating bill was getting more and more expensive every year. I have a heat pump on the roof, with a supplemental unit in my unit. I called an HVAC company to come take a look and he was shocked at what he found. My heat pump is so old they don’t even make the refrigerant anymore. On top of that, my unit was drawing air from the back hall directly next to an exterior door. When my heat goes on, it pulls cold air instead of warm air from within my apartment. I wish I’d known this before and probably could’ve had it taken care of. As it stands, it’s not up to code.
Is your real estate agent working for your best interest or the sellers?
More often than I’d like, I hear a buyer say they’re going to go through the listing agent to make things easier. My advice is to always use your own agent who is working for you. A seller’s agent’s priority is to the seller first. They’re goal is to get the highest asking price, with the best terms for the seller, which doesn’t always coincide with what’s best for the buyer.
Thank you for reading this far, if you did. If you have any questions about this post, or real estate in general, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to email, call or text me. 617 528 8461 email@example.com