Making Sense of Condo Fees Here in Sarasota

A breakdown condo fees here in Sarasota

If you’ve been living in a single-family home for as long as you can remember and have never owned a condo AND are thinking of buying one here in Florida, you may be surprised at the condo fees. You may find yourself asking, What are all those fees and what are they for? Is it less expensive to just buy a house and pay for separate services instead? Here’s a little breakdown of some common services you pay for through your condo fees. Remember, every development is different so check with your realtor (me! Christine Pope!) on what exactly is included in each community.

Grounds Maintenance: This usually covers all of the landscaping and mowing in the “common areas” such as the entrance to the development (those palm trees don’t trim themselves!), park and picnic areas, around your building, etc.

Sewer, water and trash removal: Sometimes this is included in your tax bill (very common with trash removal), sometimes it’s included in your condo fees, and sometimes you pay it separately.

Cable: Some communities have negotiated with the local cable companies to provide basic cable at a rate that’s less expensive per condo than what you’d pay on your own, so they have a contract and everyone gets basic cable. If you want extra channels or wi-fi, you can get it, you’ll just have a separate, extra bill for it.

Dining, golf, recreation and/or social memberships: We have a large population of folks who come down here to enjoy much deserved free time, however many of their friends are back home. Access to these memberships is sometimes key to getting plugged in to your new community. Depending on the development, some condos have “equity” memberships so the fees are mandatory, and others have optional memberships so you can choose whether you’d like to join or not.

Capital Contribution Fees: This is a ONE TIME fee that, if the community charges for this, is typically paid by the buyer at closing and I’ve seen it range from $200 on up to $8,500 and your realtor should tell you about it BEFORE you make an offer. Only a few communities here in Sarasota have this.

Assessments: Always check with your realtor to see if there are any special assessments. There’s a community near Palmer Ranch that wasn’t charging enough in condo fees to adequately cover maintenance for the building and BAM the owners have all been hit with assessments over $850 per month to pay for major repairs. Not surprisingly, many of those condos are currently for sale. Always check with your realtor about any special assessments.

Building Maintenance: This usually covers the roof and the exterior walls. You may notice that your condo development has a reserve fund, part of this fund goes to replacing the roof of the building every so many years and repainting the exterior of the building.

Pest Control: Yep, we have termites here. It’s a fact of life. Most of us don’t actually see them, but we may see evidence of them. Most condos have pest control for the exterior of the building to ensure these buggers stay away. If you need pest control inside your condo, chances are you’ll pay separately for that service.

Insurance: Most, if not all, condo associations carry insurance on the building itself and those premiums are included in your condo fees. If you have a mortgage, you’ll still need to insure what’s called “walls in” so anything from your drywall in, including all of your contents.

It’s tough to find out everything you need to know about condos you’re considering without the help of your realtor. They (and by that I mean I ) will do a thorough check to see exactly what your fees will be and exactly what those fees cover. You’ll get it all in writing.

There may be other fees that I haven’t listed here, it all depends on the association.

Rest assured, you’ll have the opportunity to review all the condo documents, including rules and regulations, financial statements and more. By Florida law, you have 3 days to review all of these documents and back out of a purchase if you find a deal-breaker.

Hope this is helpful to you!

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