Why Are HOA Fees So High?

Are you looking to buy a condo in the downtown area but can’t seem to justify forking over the equivalent of half your mortgage payment for Homeowner’s Association Fees? Homeowners living in single-family homes rarely pay more than $150/month. So why is it that living in a smaller 2 bedroom condo can cost you over $500/month in HOA Fees?

Whether you’re an investor or future resident, your first question when it comes to HOA Fees should be, what’s included? Your typical condominium association fees will include building insurance, maintenance and management of common elements, trash removal, and water and sewer. Most of the buildings downtown have pools, fitness centers, and common areas/club rooms. Your HOA Fees also include security, which can be anything from a secure-access entry system to full-time security guards. A few buildings even include internet and cable in their HOA Fees. So before you run for the hills when you hear about $500+/month HOA Fees, take a minute to do the math.

To make a fair comparison, let’s look at what it would cost to live in a single-family home and have the equivalent amenities/services that you get from living in a condominium.

Homeowner’s Insurance in Florida runs about $170/month. (As a condo owner, you are only responsible for condo/renter’s insurance, which runs about $20/month.)

Gym Membership – $100/month (based on 2 ppl)

Pool Maintenance – $100/month

Home Security Monitoring System – $30/month

Water/Sewer – $40/month

Trash Pick-Up – $20/month

This brings us to $460/month for the à la carte amenities that most condominiums have included in their HOA fees. And if you’re lucky enough to live in a building that has cable and internet included, that brings the total up $120 to $580/month.

When you break it all down, HOA fees really aren’t that far off from what you’d pay as the owner of a single-family home. But if you’re still not convinced that you can afford living in one of downtown Orlando’s prestigious condominiums, check out my article on Affordable Living Downtown.