Gary Elliott & Sandy Elliott
This week 380 condos are for sale on the island, ranging in price from $89,900 for an efficiency unit at Coquina Gardens to a Belize penthouse listed for $7,245,000. Just as condo prices vary greatly, so do condo fees. The Coquina Gardens efficiency condo fees are $2,136 per year, and the penthouse has fees of $18,000 per year. The median condo fee for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo on the island is $7,200 per year.
Annual condo fees on the island vary from less than 1% of list price, to over 3% of list price. Not surprisingly condo fees go up with increasing list prices, but the percentage of the list price goes down with increasing list prices. For instance, annual fees for condos under $250,000 are about 2% of the list price, while condos listed for $1,000,000 charge about 1% of list price.
Condo fees generally include management fees, building maintenance fees, lawn and land maintenance, water and sewer service, trash pickup, reserves, pest control, pool and recreational facilities, security, public insurance and some cable.
The more units in a complex, the lower the fees because the fixed amount of expenses are divided among more people. Each condo is unique whenit comes to deciding what the condo fee should be and how it should be assigned among the condo owners. Some condo associations prefer lower fees, along with special assessments from time to time to cover big expenses. Others prefer larger regular payments to not only cover operating costs, but also to build up large reserves to handle any matter. Some charge the same fee for all members and others base the fee on number of bedrooms or square feet.
Condo financials and budgets include line items for all projected and actual expenses. For instance, if a roof replacement costs $1 million and the roof has a 20-year life, then a portion of condo fees is put into the roof replacement account so that enough money is on hand when the roof needs replacing. If the roof is ten years old there should be about $500,000 in that account. If not, then more money needs to be placed in the account, causing fees to rise or the association to plan on a special assessment to cover the deficiency.
Florida condo buyers get copies of these financials and budgets after contract signing, and have three days to rescind their contract if they discover issues with the financials.