On the market: Penthouses with $1,000 HOA fees or more (photos)
Why are some homeowners' association fees so high? There are a number of factors, from poor past management to ongoing improvements.
In general, fees attached to condos, townhouses and other residential properties with shared spaces or facilities cover common maintenance and repairs.
Most owners budget a few hundred dollars a month to pay for communal landscape areas, heating and cooling systems, building insurance and mutual amenities, like a swimming pool or a dog bath.
From the elevator to the roof, expenses are divided up.
The homeowners' association's board of directors, who figure out each owner's share based on projected annual expenses, don't get paid. They're volunteers who live there. There is a cost, however, if a property manager is hired.
Other expenses include trash pick up, pest control and the occasional snow removal.
Add in front desk and concierge services, plus the need for reserve funds to cover unexpected costs, and HOA fees can mount up.
But is a high HOA bill a deal-breaker? Or do owners just see it as part of the cost of living there, along with the mortgage, property taxes and homeowner's insurance?
"HOA fees are high and taxes are high, but what isn't?" asks Brian Pienovi of Windermere Realty Trust, who has many multimillion-dollar Portland condos for sale. "They certainly can be deal-breakers but it's more about the value of the unit itself. We remind buyers that they pay HOA fees whether it's a condo or a house. HOA fees cover roof, window, siding, gutters, landscaping, etc., etc."
One of Pienovi's listings, a two-bedroom penthouse in Portland's Pearl District's Elizabeth Lofts, has a homeowners' association fee of $1,899 a month and monthly property taxes of $3,084. If purchased at the asking price of $3.65 million, after a $730,000 down payment, the monthly mortgage would be around $14,536 and the homeowner's insurance is estimated at $608.
Add it all up and the monthly cost is $20,127.
In this week's real estate gallery, we look at condos and townhouses on the market or recently sold with homeowners' association fees that are $1,000 a month or higher.
— Janet Eastman