Condos are often touted as a more affordable alternative to traditional homes. They’re a great option for young professionals who want to get started building up some equity or for retirees that don’t want to take on a lot of extra maintenance. On the surface, condos tend to come with really attractive prices.
However, in some cases, condo fees are the catch. These are monthly fees that you’ll have to pay in addition to whatever your monthly mortgage payment is. They generally cover the maintenance of common areas, including things like landscaping, snow removal, hallway and elevator maintenance, and any other amenities that come with the condo.
It's time to learn more about the average condos fees in Edmonton to determine whether a condo is the right choice for you.
How Are Condo Fees Calculated?
Typically, condo fees are calculated as a percentage of the total amount of maintenance required. There will be a condo board that manages the budget. They’ll track annual fees for things that require annual maintenance, but your fee will also include extra money that goes toward the reserve fund, which will cover unexpected repairs and long-term maintenance, like replacing the roof every 25-30 years.
In general, the amount you pay is based on the value of your condo. Using round numbers, if there were 100 condos of equal value in the building, each condo owner would be responsible for one percent of the total annual charge, divided into 12 monthly payments.
In most cases, though, certain condos in the building are worth more because they’re larger in terms of square footage, or have better views because it's a corner unit, for example. When you purchase your condo, you’ll know exactly where your condo stands and what your percentage will be.
You May Have to Pay More
A good condo board makes a budget, follows it, and keeps the reserve fund stocked for emergencies.
However, it’s always possible that a sudden expense comes up. In these cases, the board may come to all of the condo owners with what's called a “special assessment”, and you’ll be required to pay this fee.
This happens any time there’s an unexpected bill and not enough money in the reserve fund. For instance, if the association just used up the money in the reserve fund to replace the carpets in the hallways, but then the pool filter breaks, you would be required to pay additional money to cover your portion of the cost of pool filter repair, whether you use the pool or not.
Typically newer condos don't have a sufficient reserve fund for many years so you either pay more in the beginning to build up the reserve or get more "special assessment".
Average Condo Fees in Edmonton
Condo fees vary greatly, and it’s almost impossible to give an accurate average for the city. For instance, some buildings may only require $200-300 each month, while other condos have monthly fees that exceed $1,000. In Edmonton, average condo fees can range from less than $400/month, all the way up to $650+/month.
As you consider your home options, make sure you factor this fee into the equation. Adding a high condo fee to your monthly payment could mean that you’re spending even more than you would if you had a traditional home. You may still prefer the condo for other reasons, but it’s clear that it’s not always the cheapest option.
What to Look for in Condo Fees
Carefully look at what’s included in any condo fees you might pay to determine whether or not it’s the best deal for you. For instance, if the condo fee includes access to fitness equipment that will allow you to cancel your gym membership, it might be a good deal. On the other hand, if you won’t use the fitness room, you might feel resentment about paying for it in the condo fee.
A condo fee might look attractive at first, but if you notice that it’s not including a lot of important maintenance, you may want to dig a bit deeper. You don’t want to get hit with surprise fees on a regular basis.
Essentially, it’s important to match what you’ll get by paying for a condo with the types of things that you really want in a home.
We’ve been focusing on condos that have fees, but that's not your only option! Not all low-maintenance homes require you to pay a monthly fee.
When you buy a traditional condo, you only own the home itself, not the land on which the home is built. In a “freehold” home, though, you do own the land, and you’re responsible for some of the maintenance on your own. The good news about this is that you’re able to budget as you see fit.
Sterling’s townhome and duplex style homes offer many of the benefits of condos, but they’re all freehold-style homes, so you don’t have to pay extra fees. They’re a great choice for people who don’t want to deal with a lot of exterior maintenance and who want affordable options. Best of all, they offer a lot of bang for the buck.
Because these homes are freehold, you own it all - the house and the land. And with a townhome or a duplex, you also get some front and backyard to enjoy.
Another thing to consider is the resale value. A freehold home tends to be more desirable because of the floor plan options; it's a great move-up option for those who want a new home but aren't quite ready for a single-family house.