What are Condo Fees?

It should come at no surprise that condos are quickly becoming the most popular housing choice in Victoria. According to Casey Edge, executive director of the Victoria Residential Builders Association, “the future of housing in the Capital Region will be condos and townhomes.” As more and more people invest in local Victoria real estate, it’s important that they understand all the associated fees that come with condos.

Condo fees are a regular, non-negotiable sum of money that every condo owner must pay. Also known as a “strata fee,” the total is calculated based on your share of the building (square footage). This means that the more space you take up, the more money you’ll pay.

What do my condo fees cover?

Although this will vary, condo fees are typically divided into three main categories: utilities, common areas and the reserve fund.

A good portion of your monthly payment will go towards things such as hydro, water, and (if you’re living in an older building): heat.

For those moving into a newly constructed condo: each individual unit comes equipped with its own heat pump, paid for by the individual owner. In other words, it won’t be included in your condo fee.

Condo fees will also go towards the general upkeep of your building’s common areas. Your common areas include everything from the lobby to the indoor and outdoor areas, as well as the parking lot and hallways. If it weren’t for your monthly payments, these areas would be left unmaintained. Your condo fees will also go towards services such as garbage removal, window washing and repairs.

Last but not least, there’s the reserve fund. Think of this like an emergency savings account which the strata council can dip into whenever there’s need for an unexpected repair or upgrade.

Remember, the reserve fund isn’t used for any old thing, but is put towards projects that could make or break your building. For instance, if the building’s roof needs to be replaced - which could cost upwards of one million dollars - the reserve fund is there to finance it.

How much will my condo fees cost?

Good question, but the answer will depend on a number of variables. Not only can condo fees vary building to building, they’ll be different depending on what city you’re living in.

In Victoria, you can expect to pay roughly $0.30 to $0.40 per square foot. This means that a 600 square foot apartment will be paying $210 per month on average. This fee will go up or down based on other factors, such as the building’s size, age and amenities available.

For instance, those living in bigger buildings will oftentimes (but not always!) be required to pay a reduced fee, as the total cost will be split between a great number of units.

On the flip side, those living in an older building may be required to pay more. This is because repairs and upgrades will likely be needed more regularly or the strata is building a fund to make a large expenditure from.

If you’re thinking about becoming a new condo owner, make sure to account for condo fees in your budget. It’s also important you consider the possibility of your condo fees increasing, which can happen as the building ages.

Looking for more information? Contact me today at Sold in Victoria. We’ll get you started ASAP.

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