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Old 01-16-2011, 06:19 AM
 
Location: Seminole, FL
262 posts, read 333,877 times
Reputation: 149
Default How To Find HOA / Condo Fees

Is there any good way to go about finding HOA / condo fees without resorting to either calling the community or the listing agent? My brother is looking to buy a small condo in the Alexandria area. We've found several that seem good and are within his price range, but every time that we go to an open house or talk with someone, we find out that the condo fees are $400 - $600 / month which makes it unaffordable for him. It would be really nice if there was a good way to weed out these places up front. We don't want to be making 50 phone calls. Unfortunately, it seems like no listings in the Alexandria area have the fees posted even though there's a spot to post them. They all say "call the leasing agent." So far, the community websites that I've visited don't have them listed either. It's pretty frustrating.

BTW, I'm sorry if this has been answered before. I tried searching the forums and couldn't find anything.
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Old 01-16-2011, 07:03 AM
 
Location: Richmond, VA
2,240 posts, read 6,757,855 times
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Why not call a real estate agent and have them find you listings where to fees are within your budget? They can send you only ones that he could actually afford saving you all time and disappointment!
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Old 01-16-2011, 07:08 AM
 
Location: Sterling, VA
1,042 posts, read 1,767,951 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinmma View Post
Why not call a real estate agent and have them find you listings where to fees are within your budget? They can send you only ones that he could actually afford saving you all time and disappointment!
Good suggestion. Are you aware that in this area you do not have to pay the agent anything? She will be paid a commission by the seller so there is no need for you to do this work yourself.
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:52 AM
 
Location: Seminole, FL
262 posts, read 333,877 times
Reputation: 149
He's currently undecided between buying and renting and doesn't want to go through the hassle of getting pre-approved and dealing with an agent if there isn't anywhere that meets his needs. He tried using one to find a rental and kept getting emails and phone calls about places that weren't what he wanted (either location wise or price wise). For every 1 match that the agent found, we found about 4 or 5 ourselves. We both know the area pretty well and he knows what he wants so its quicker and easier to just do things on our own. The only hiccup we're having is the HOA/condo fees, which is frustrating because there doesn't seem to be any reason that they wouldn't be publicly available, at least as a range for the community.
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Richmond, VA
2,240 posts, read 6,757,855 times
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Sounds like you just had an experience with a communication challenged agent. (they exist as do doctors, lawyers, plumbers, etc. LOL!)
Good luck on your search! There are so many different HOA's that it would be almost impossible to list all of the fees in one place...and it changes all the time.
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Old 01-16-2011, 01:46 PM
 
2,848 posts, read 4,756,839 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wsamon View Post
Is there any good way to go about finding HOA / condo fees without resorting to either calling the community or the listing agent? My brother is looking to buy a small condo in the Alexandria area. We've found several that seem good and are within his price range, but every time that we go to an open house or talk with someone, we find out that the condo fees are $400 - $600 / month which makes it unaffordable for him. It would be really nice if there was a good way to weed out these places up front. We don't want to be making 50 phone calls. Unfortunately, it seems like no listings in the Alexandria area have the fees posted even though there's a spot to post them. They all say "call the leasing agent." So far, the community websites that I've visited don't have them listed either. It's pretty frustrating.
Have you looked at franklymls.com (non-realty affiliated "wiki" site for DC area real estate)? They usually have this info when other sites I've seen do not.

Also make sure you look at what the condo fees include. Older condos often include gas and electric in the condo fee which makes it a bit more affordable.
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Old 01-16-2011, 02:22 PM
 
2,879 posts, read 3,876,995 times
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Eventually, you will need an Agent if the home is on the MLS. I like the search capabilities of www.ziprealty.com. You can search by school district or within different radiuses of a specific location or by zipcode. The agents are sloppy about the HOA fee. The number listed is often lower than actual, if there is any number at all, and they don't know the specific services covered. It seems to be like that everywhere, except when you have an agent that works for the property management company (like at a highrise), where they are onsite.

From what I've seen, HOA fees are too high in the DC area to make condos good investments at these prices.
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Old 01-16-2011, 02:36 PM
 
Location: Seminole, FL
262 posts, read 333,877 times
Reputation: 149
Maybe I just don't understand, but I don't see how it's any worse than the homes themselves. There's fewer HOAs than homes, they don't appear and disappear, and they can't possibly change price as frequently either... Why would it be so difficult to just include the current fee on the MLS listing with the house?
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Old 01-16-2011, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Seminole, FL
262 posts, read 333,877 times
Reputation: 149
@pcity and khuntrevor
Thanks for the info. These are new sites to me so I'll check them out. I typically use homesdatabase and realtor. They seem to have pretty much everything on them. They just never have the HOAs listed.

khuntrevor - I agree, and so does my brother. The fees seem pretty ridiculous. Old 1/1s that go for $220k but have a $400 / month HOA? That puts the HOA at about 1/3 of the cost of the mortgage payment. Admittedly, I've never owned my own place, but that seems pretty nuts to me and totally messes with what one can and cannot afford.
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Old 01-16-2011, 03:32 PM
 
2,879 posts, read 3,876,995 times
Reputation: 1083
I paid 22000 in Phoenix for a townhouse, loft-style, 705 sf condo with a 200 sf walled patio. My HOA is 138.33. I have it rented for 569 per month. My HOA here was 10 per month, and included guard gated security, 6 day trash pick-up, and olympic size pool. http://www.banwangtan.com/landandhouse.html
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