What are the fees for a COA and HOA?

Contributing Columnist

What are the fees for a COA and HOA and what services are provided?

In condominiums, the owner is responsible for the interior of the unit “from the paint in” and the Association is responsible for everything else. This is an attractive option for people who do not want the upkeep of a single family home. It is important to review the documents in terms of association coverage for items that may not be obvious. Homeowner Associations provide much more latitude in owner maintenance and repair. Be sure to examine where services and responsibilities lie, especially if there is a fee structure involved.

Fees may be paid monthly, quarterly or annually to the Association.   Associations are governed by an elected Board of Directors who are owners in the community.  Buyers should request and receive the governing documents (rules and regulations) of an Association. They also should request a copy of the current budget and information about any assessments that will occur in addition to the regular fee structure. In many cases, this information is provided to the listing agent at the time the property is put on the market.

In general, fees go toward an operating budget and a reserve budget. The fees for any given association depends on the services provided and the money set aside for reserves. The operating budget takes care of routine maintenance and repairs of the building(s) and the grounds, as well as the day to day care of any common areas such as a pool, fitness area, tennis courts, clubhouse and dock.  It may also provide cable, internet and phone service to all owners. The more amenities available, the higher the fees are likely to be. Some condo associations have an on-site manager and/or concierge, a gate house and security. Some condo and homeowners associations have expansive grounds, trees, shrubbery and flowering plants. Any of these features are likely to increase the owner fees.

Reserve funds are important to review before purchasing as they cover capital improvements. Usually included is painting, roof replacement, paving, or major renovation of common area features. Each year the Board of Directors is asked to project the amount of money required to cover replacement in these areas and to identify the remaining useful life of items covered in the reserve budget. If this budget falls short, the usual procedure is to “assess” owners to make up the difference for the necessary capital improvement. Assessments are also needed for “special projects” not covered in the reserve or operating budgets. The vote for these assessments lies with owners who serve as the Board of Directors, not the rest of the owners unless the Board decides to allow resident input.

Buyers should ask for a financial statement, the current budget and the status of reserves before making a purchase offer. Information about delinquencies and foreclosures should also be requested as they may impact the budget.

Sheldon Paley, a resident of Longboat Key for 20 years and a realtor for 13 years, is affiliated with Premier Sotheby’s International Realty. Prior to moving to Longboat Key, Paley attended Ohio State University; U of Pennsylvania School of Dentistry and Harvard Medical School for 18 months for a degree in Implantation.





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