However, if I chose to buy a house instead (even if I was to find the same sized house which is harder to find homes 1000 sqft or less) wouldn't I end up with more maintenance costs anyway? Maybe not $250 but somewhat close?
I've been puzzling about this question for awhile now. It seems like it should be cheaper to have the shared building - I mean, sure, the roof costs more than a single family house, but does it cost 12x more (the # of units in my building)? However, I find it hard to calculate what we're likely to spend on maintaining a house so I can do a fair comparison. Anyone out there done the math?
You're assuming efficiency of funds.
When you're the homeowner, you'll make sure you are cost efficient in repairs (getting multiple bids on a roof, for example). The HOA needs to not only pay repairs (and they don't care about your money as much as you do), but also has much more overhead, expenses, and inefficiencies that you won't have.
Tough to calculate those unknown variables.
So very true. We have so many differing opinions on our board that it takes forever to get anything done and when they do get things done sometimes they spend money frivolously. I have a hard time believing I would spend $450 maintaining a small home each month, but with a smaller hoa of $250 who knows?
Im on the board of my association. I helped do the budget. There are things in the budget that you would probably have to pay as a homeowner: water, heat, garbage removal, building insurance, and maintenence and reserves for repairs (roof, boiler, tuckpointing, tree care), but also things that as a homeonwer you would do yourself and not pay for: yard care, snow removal, cleaning service for hallways and foyers, for instance, and then things that are for the building and associaton: management company, accountant, for example. THere is really no fat in our budget, but costs do go up, repairs continue to be needed, walls have to be repainted etc.
If you have other amenities: doorman, janitor or serviceman on call or onsite, pool or other extras like that, then of course those are extra.
We have a 20 unit condo association. there are 4 owners that participate on the board. In the last 13 years, NOT ONE other owner has stepped up to be on the board, hold an office, or contribute in ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM. I was the president for about 9 years. Most of those years I also was the treasurer and de facto manager.
If you live in a condo, you are dependent on your co owners in ways you might not anticipate. In the last 4 years, 4 owners have gone into foreclosure, making all the rest of our condos totally unsalable for the prices we paid for them (we all bought in around the same time, when it was rehabbed 13 years ago. We are now seeing those foreclosed units being bought by investors who are installing low rent tenants. These tenants do not have the same vested interest in keeping the building clean and cared for. We now have more than 50% renters, and now our building doesnt qualify for FHA loans, further reducing our potential buyers and restricting sellers.
I wish I had known or thought of a lot of these things before we bought into a new, small association.