Sunday, December 2, 2012

Why Association Fees are Good for Owners Like Me

For years after I graduated college, I had a negative attitude toward condominium living. While I’ll admit that as a condo owner now, I can still see a variety of potential pitfalls and issues with the lifestyle, there are certain things that I truly enjoy. Strange as it might sound, one of those things is our monthly association fee.

Even though I’m a good saver and I could handle the upkeep of our property on my own, having a set $300 monthly fee to pay to cover items such as common insurance, water/sewer/trash fees, exterior maintenance, snow removal, and landscaping, as well as fund a condo reserve account, is great for a person like me, here’s why.

Proper Insurance Coverage
Now I’m not one to scrimp on homeowners insurance, but I’m not going to sink a ton of money into over-insuring a property. I’m more apt to get the standard coverage and be done with it. This means that should a damaging event occur to the property, we’d be covered, but not necessarily covered to the extent of certain other homeowners.

With our condo association though, I’m well covered in this area. With the combination of many individual owners throughout our condo building, we have a much higher liability limit that most of us would likely assume on our own, and this is just made a portion of our flat monthly association fee.

Preventative Maintenance and Upkeep
While in our previous, single-family home, I did pretty well at maintaining our property through a lot of do-it-yourself type projects, it’s kind of nice to have someone take care of many such aspects of home maintenance for us. It was always hard for me to take on preventative maintenance work in our previous home. I hated spending money on things if they were still working, being more of the mindset of waiting (if possible) until they broke completely to fix them.

However, such an attitude isn’t always the best one to take, and while it can save money in the near-term, it can end up costing money in the long-term. This is why it’s nice to have regular maintenance projects such as tuckpointing, drain rodding, door repairs, cleaning of public areas, landscaping, and similar items that I’m forced to pay for whether I would have done them myself or not, thus maintaining the appearance and quality of our living location without forcing me to make decisions upon what I’m going to fix, when, and how much I’m willing to pay to do so.

Repair Reserve
Even when I set money aside for a repair or a repair fund, to me, it’s still like it’s saved money and part of my asset total, so it doesn’t make it any easier when I eventually have to spend that money on repairs. This is why I really like paying our association fee. It takes that ability to choose whether or not I want to spend the money on repair work out of the equation, plus it acts as a communal pot into which we can all pay to fund larger projects down the road.

This means that when it comes time for new windows, a new roof, or similar big-ticket repairs, I won’t be left “going cheap” on the cost of the repairs and getting a lousy product in return. And since our association fee goes to fund a general reserve for such items, it makes for great peace of mind knowing that by the end of 2013, that fund is projected to be at nearly $200,000, which can go a long way in funding repair work for which I won’t have to pay any additional funds.

No comments:

Post a Comment