Should I Pay an Association Fee Based on Square Footage

In the downtown Denver area, specifically One Riverfront and other downtown condos, condo association fees are often determined based on the unit square footage. If you have a larger home you're likely to spend more on HOA fees than someone with a smaller home, but why is this the case of everyone enjoying the same amenities?

This is a very common question that I get asked in almost every condo transaction. It doesn't seem fair that someone with 1000 ft.² should pay $300 more than someone with 500 ft.², especially when they use the same amenities such as a pool, fitness room or other perks of the building.

It's important to compare the associations. Ask what you're actually paying for and what the differences between the square footage is based on how many are actually paying. If you don't feel that the additional cost required for a larger unit is appropriate, you may not want to buy a condo in that building. Also, just because this is the way they've always done it doesn't mean that it's necessarily right. You could talk to the Association before buying a home about how easy it would be to change homeowners association fees or how they are regulated.

It also depends on how many different floor plans there are. If the building only has three different floor plans and there are three different price points, it might make sense but it also depends on how different those fees are and what they entail. Larger units hold more people and therefore the possibility of more water use, trash disposal and electricity usage, which could be included in association fees.

Very common with taxes. Taxes on larger units are more than medium or smaller units. If you're paying more taxes, using more energy sources is very common to pay more taxes.

When it comes to assessments, those with larger units may also pay a higher percentage of fees because it is divided by the percentage of ownership. This can be also a course of contention as a larger number of smaller units may not want to pay more or equal to the larger unit amounts.

However, this is condo life and you're going to find this and just about every building. You have to decide how much more you are willing to pay or choose a smaller unit and still get the perks of everyone else in the building.

If you have more questions about particular associations throughout Denver, contact me today. I'm very familiar with most buildings in downtown and will be able to offer information on association rules, regulations, and fees.

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