This happens to condo hunters all the time: you find a great condo unit in a perfect location at a reasonable price, but the maintenance fee gives you pause, and someone else snaps up the unit while you debate.
Maintenance fees are often seen as the bane of condo living. However, condo buyers should consider what these fees include and what costs they would incur for each of these items separately – such as paying for flood and windstorm insurance, upkeep of the parking garage, lockers, gym, roof, maintaining security, and paying for electricity, gas, water and cable (often included in the fees).
It’s not just that maintenance fees free you from mowing the lawn and shoveling the snow. You also avoid the headaches of dealing with overheads and maintenance costs. Various things go into determining a building’s condo maintenance fees, such as the number of units and a building’s footprint. In general, buildings housing a large number of units often benefit from economies of scale. Larger buildings with many amenities can have lower maintenance fees as compared to smaller buildings with fewer amenities.
After all, a concierge service shared between 50 units will be far more costly than when shared between 500 units. That said, the more units and common areas/amenities a building has, the more wear and tear is likely to occur. Effective management of the condo building and its reserve fund (money put aside for big repairs, upgrades, renovations, catastrophe management, etc.) directly impacts the value of the building.