4200 Massachusetts Avenue
Condo fees in DC vary significantly from building to building and neighborhood to neighborhood. That being the case, buyers should carefully compare monthly fees when they are shopping for a unit to make sure they know what costs are covered.
“When you are looking at condos, you can almost predict which buildings will have higher fees,” Bruce Majors, a Realtor with RE/MAX Supreme said. “Those with an elevator, a swimming pool, front desk staff or a 24-hour doorman are likely going to have higher fees than those that don’t.”
Majors noted that, in addition to these amenities, most condo fees in the DC area include payments for a reserve fund (a fund for major repairs or improvements for the building), a master insurance policy, snow and trash removal and water. Buildings that are decades old can also have high fees as they have gradually increased over time.
For example, this two-bedroom condo is in a building at 1954 Columbia Road in Kalorama that was built in 1927. The monthly fee of $791 covers common area maintenance, heat, water and snow and trash removal. To put this fee in perspective relative to the age of the building, there is a unit a few blocks away at 1923 Belmont Road that just came on the market in a building that was built in 1998. The monthly fee is $314, and while that does not include a fee for a front desk, it is less than half of the fee mentioned above.
Of course, condo fees are part of the budget voted on by condo association members, so it is technically possible for the owners to vote to reduce fees. However, this rarely occurs.
1954 Columbia Road
“Sometimes it is simply inertia that keeps condo boards from making changes to their budget and fees,” Majors told UrbanTurf. “For example, in my building we have a full-time building engineer and a cleaning staff that vacuums all the carpets in the hallways every single day. We may not need those full-time services, but so far we haven’t tried to cut them out of the budget.”
One area in DC that is notorious for low-priced condos with extraordinarily high fees is the neighborhood of Wesley Heights that sits across Wisconsin Avenue from the National Cathedral. For example, this one-bedroom unit on the market in The Foxhall at 4200 Massachusetts Avenue NW has a monthly condo fee of $1,112. Exorbitant to most, there are buyers out there that will like the fact that this fee covers almost everything including air conditioning, cable TV, electricity, lawn maintenance, management, a master insurance policy, parking, reserve funds, security, snow removal, water as well as upkeep of the building’s indoor pool and tennis courts, and doorman and concierge services.
However, most buyers these days would gladly do away with these aforementioned luxuries to pay less in monthly fees, and DC certainly has units that fit the bill for such a buyer. This one-bedroom unit at 1421 Columbia Road NW in Columbia Heights has a monthly condo fee of just $123. This fee includes custodial services, maintenance, exterior building maintenance, lawn care, management, snow removal, trash removal and water.
The bottom line is that fees range from low to high depending on a building’s age, location and the amenities that are offered, and buyers should figure out what they want from their fee before making a purchase.
This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc_condo_fees_from_100_to_1000/1738
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