Home Owner’s Association (condo) Fee

When you see a property listing sheet and you are looking for the “condo fee”, it may be in a section of the listing sheet titled “HOA fee”. Don’t be confused by the use of the term “HOA” fee as it means Home Owner’s Association fee. For short, condo fee. Willard Realty Group happily provides the condo fee data with each property description of condominiums for sale in Massachusetts.


That’s great, but what does this wonderful fee include and what should you look for when searching for condos? This is more important than most people initially consider when looking at the wonderful photos of a property listing. Your eye may be taken with the images of a modern kitchen, or a spectacular view off the balcony in the condo you’ve found in your online search. Pay close attention to the fee amount, and what the fee includes.


Condo Fee Example




First of all, is the fee too high for your budget and lifestyle. If so, no need to fall in love with the property. When considering whether the a condo fee is too high for your situation, pay close attention to what is included in the fee (see example above). The fee in the example seems quite reasonable and includes some amenities that you may enjoy such as “elevator”, “snow removal”, and such. More likely, you’d enjoy the swimming pool, recreational facilities, and perhaps the sauna/steam room. These items could save you money by taking away an expensive gym membership. Condo fees can be such a mundane thing to pay attention to, but it is quite important when buying a condominium.


Heat and hot water are positive inclusions when viewing the condo fee list. That $215 condo fee in the fee example above might be $50 higher (or more) if the heat were included in the fee. Heat and hot water costs, of course, would likely be higher if the source of energy for the building was “oil” vs. “natural gas”.

Elevators are usually necessary and expensive to maintain over time a condo association. When you are looking at individual units in a condo complex and there is an elevator or elevators, make a mental note to look at the condition of the elevator. Ask your buyer agent, or the listing agent if they are present, to find out how old the elevator is, and see if you can find out the maintenance schedule for the elevator. If you don’t like the building or unit, overall, then I just keep this question in mind.


Swimming pools and tennis courts are nice amenities to have, but the condo fee that you see on the listing sheet will likely be higher for a condo association that has these amenities versus on that does not. Just something to note when searching for condos. It all comes down to personal choices for amenities. Typically a smaller percentage of condo owners use these amenities and you might be paying a higher fee for something that you will not fully utilize. In the big picture, this may not be as big a deal for your decision to purchase in a condo complex.


Ritz Carlton Condo Fee Example



“High” Condo Fees are typically associated with luxury condominium living with on-site 24hr concierge services, perhaps valet parking, and on-site security. The example condo fee listed above is $1,394 and this is for a 963 sf unit at the Ritz Carlton on Avery Street in downtown Boston. The condo fee is for a unit is determined by its square footage. At the Ritz Carlton, this unit’s condo fee would be even higher if the unit were to convey (sell) with a “heated” underground garage space. In general, a 500 sf unit will have a lot lower condo fee than a 1,000 sf unit.


Please feel free to contact me if you have questions related to Boston metro real estate, condo fees, or wish to hire Willard Realty Group as your professional Buyer or Seller agent.




Willard D. Cunningham

(617) 921-4758 direct

(617) 921-4758 cell

(617) 812-0577 fax



Broker License# 9077116

“Your referrals to me will get the best
of my eight years’ real estate experience –
and my heartfelt thanks.”


Willard Realty Group, Inc.

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