What Do Condo Fees Cover?


Condo fees can be tricky, so I’m so glad you are here learning about your Jacksonville FL condo purchase. When you know exactly what costs to plan for, you'll feel more comfortable about your decision. So let’s get started!

 

What are the different Jacksonville condo fees for anyway?

 

First, it’s important to remember that purchasing a condo is not really a one-time cost. (Sure, every home will have maintenance and repair costs over time, but condos are unique because those costs are managed by an association and paid in the form of periodic, on-going payments.) Condo fees are one part of the on-going costs of ownership. [Other on-going costs are property taxes.]

 

Those payments are collected by a condo association. Think of it this way—when you purchase a condo, you’re not purchasing the whole building, just a portion of it. (Your unit.)  A condo is really a form of joint ownership of a single property. One building has many owners, each paying his or her fair share of the whole. Your condo fees will pay for the maintenance and repair of the “general common elements” that everyone owns. Things like roofs, exterior walls, sidewalks, hallways, or elevators.

 

Condo association fees will often include some additional items like insurance, trash removal or pest control. But these extras can vary from community to community. In some cases, your water and sewer bill may be included or discounted because of the way it is shared among residents. Make sure you ask what’s included in the fees!

 

In addition to a Condo Association, Jacksonville condos often have a separate Home Owners Association (HOA) that has its own fees. Completely different from the condo association, the HOA is usually overseen by a board of directors who all own property in the community. The board may elect to outsource some of its duties to a property management agency, but it still sets the rules. The HOA sets the restrictions on the individual owners and residents. Their “Covenants and Restrictions” are recorded in a public document that governs the use of individual units and common areas. In other words, the HOA makes rules about what you can to keep on your patio or balcony, how parking lot spaces and garages are distributed among residents, how and when shared facilities (like pools, grilling areas, parks or clubhouses) may be used by residents, whether or not pets are allowed inside the community, and whether or not renovations to the inside of a unit are approved. Their goal is usually to ensure a consistent look and order within the community.

 

Beware of Tricky Fees.

 

You might see some condos for sale in Jacksonville FL with just one monthly fee listed (let’s say, $200 per month, for example.) Be careful, though! Sometimes fees are reported incorrectly on the internet. Could be the mistake of the person who manually entered the data into MLS, or it could be the way the automated data feed has hidden some of the MLS fields from your view.

 

As I said above, many Jacksonville condo communities have more than one fee. There could be a condo association and a home owners association. The two fees are often collected at different intervals, at different rates, and even to different entities.

 

Still other condos for sale in Jacksonville FL have what are called “CDD fees.” These are collected on top of any condo and HOA dues.

 

Now, why would anyone buy in a community with CDD fees??

 

Well, some of the newer communities that are still building or selling brand new condos have financed their development with CDD fees. So if you are looking for brand new construction, you may come across the communities with CDD fees. Let me explain…

 

Community Development District fees (CDD fees) occur when a developer decides to finance the infrastructure (streets, sidewalks, sewer, city water, and electrical setup, etc…) by selling bonds to investors. The fees are repaid by the current property owners in the form of fees collected over a period of time. It’s usually around 20 years on average in Jacksonville, but could vary from 15-30 years. The fees are attached to each of the parcels in the development district and paid by the current owner of the parcel. CDD fees could be collected quarterly, semi-annually, yearly. Some owners may decide to pay the bonds off early or all at one time. To find out if a community has CDD fees, look for their name on this list: http://govmgtsvc.com/clients/nfclients/nfclients.html

 

 Estimate the Costs of Your Jacksonville FL Condo

How to Estimate Annual Costs of Jacksonville FL Condo

Amount Frequency # Pmts Annual Cost
Condo Association $315 Monthy x 12 = $3,780
Home Owners Assoc. $405 Quarterly x 4 = $1,620
Estimated Taxes $2,340 Annually x 1 = $2,340
$7,740

 

The chart above is a sample illustration of a $200,000 condo in a community that charges $315 monthly to the condo association, and $405 per quarter to the home owners association (or HOA). The taxes are based on a condo assessed around $160,000 with a homestead exemption of $50,000. [To learn how to calculate your condo’s annual taxes, visit the next page of our Condo 101 frequently asked questions.]

 

 

Eliminate Surprises.

 

The best way to eliminate surprises is to do your research! It’s a lot of work, but it will save you tons of money and prevent painful issues down the road. (1) Find out if there are any pending lawsuits against your new community. (2) Check with the HOA to see if they have plenty of money in their reserves to cover any upcoming maintenance, or if they have plans to collect more money from property owners for future assessments. (3) Also ask about other planned fee increases. It is common for fees to vary slightly from unit to unit (usually based on the size of the condo) or for fees to fluctuate slightly from year to year. But no variation in fees should be a surprise. You can prevent surprises by asking lots of questions and doing your research up front.

You can do this first by hunting down the contact information for the community’s associations and asking them. Then contact your local real estate attorney (if you don’t have one, you can contact us for recommendations.) Oh, and it’s pretty common for HOAs to change property management companies frequently so tracking down current phone numbers can be a challenge. Just let us know if you have any trouble finding what you need, and we’ll help you get your questions answered.

 

Additional CDD Resources

 

CDD Watch List:

To make sure your community is not in default on its CDD bonds, visit this site:

http://www.floridacddreport.com/viewdistrict_list.cfm

 

CDD Verification:

To find out if there are CDD fees in your condo community, start here:

 

Governmental Management Services, LLC

475 West Town Place – Suite 114
World Golf Village
St. Augustine, Florida 32092
Phone: (904) 940-5850
Fax: (904) 940-5899
email: jperry@govmgtsvc.com

 

GMS St. Augustine

District Manager of CDD fees for St. Johns County
Jim Oliver
(904) 940-5850 x 406

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