More often than not, whenever we have people looking for a resort condominium project to buy, the first thing they desire is low condo association fees. Is it a good idea to seek out low condo association fees, though?

No, it’s not. This is the wrong mentality to have because it could negatively affect you in the long run. When these fees are too low, the property typically isn’t being properly maintained, no reserves are being built for future replacements or improvements, and there’s not enough staff to properly run the HOA. Without these things, the building usually falls into disarray and ages much quicker.

I prefer to see a see a building that has great financials in place, whose budget is being met, and for which a constant reserve is being built for future improvements of the building. When a reserve isn’t being built, that’s when you get popped with an unexpected fee that’s a much larger amount in one bulk fee versus one that’s dispersed over time.

“You can see the difference between a building that’s being properly funded and one that isn’t.”

Condo association fees also cover a lot of items in the building. They cover all of your utilities except for the electric and all of your exterior insurance—the only other insurance policy you’ll usually have to get is a contents policy, which costs about $1,200 a year. They also cover liability insurance for the common areas and the maintenance for the common areas. You can really see the difference in a building that’s being properly funded and one whose fees are too low.

If you consider what those fees are compared to an individual home’s costs, it’s usually a wash. When it comes to an individual home, you pay your fees in smaller increments. For instance, if you pay an $800 per month fee for a condo as part of the association, think about what you’d pay in a home at times. You might need to shell out $150 for the landscaping, $150 for the pool maintenance, and pay for all the exterior maintenance and insurance to boot. These costs can amount to more than the condo fee itself. Condos are more convenient because they charge a flat fee and you don’t have to keep up with all the bills.

Condos also offer a great way of life down here. They allow you to be closer to the Gulf or right on the beach at an affordable price. Overall, there’s less maintenance and you can come and go as you please.

We’re extremely knowledgeable on every condominium from Fort Walton beach to Panama City Beach and everything in between, so if you’re looking for a condominium or you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d love the opportunity to help you.