Condo living on the Kona Coast: What are condo fees?

    Condo Living on the Kona Coast: What are condo fees ?

    If you haven’t lived in or owned a condo or coop apartment in the past, you may be surprised to find as you look for a second home in Hawaii that there are fees that are paid to the Home Owners Association (HOA) or Apartment Owners Association. Many visitors to our office ask about these fees and just what they include.

    The fees are usually monthly, and usually include the maintenance of exterior buildings, building insurance, landscaping, pool and parking facilities, water, garbage, and pest control, and sometimes cable TV, sometimes internet. Each condo association is different and it requires a thorough look into just what is included in the fee. The more amenities a condo complex provides, the higher you would expect the maintenance fees to be. Every complex, from the Kohala Coast to Keauhou all have maintenance costs built into ownership.

    The range is great here in Kailua-Kona, and this is where the help of your real estate agent is important in order to clearly understand what is included. In some cases a fee may look high, but investigation may determine that the fee covers air conditioning, or that the buildings have just had complete upgrades. Also, be aware that some single family home subdivisions in Kailua-Kona also have HOA fees, which may cover street maintenance and garbage pick up, or simply oversight of covenants.

    Although some people are surprised to consider the cost of condo fees when estimating their second home price, experienced home owners relate that the cost of providing your own landscape maintenance, pool maintenance, pest control, and building maintenance, often is equal to what a condo fee covers. Again, your agent can be helpful in providing information to help you estimate such costs.

    The second thing that is critical to evaluating condo fees is to get information on the HOA reserves and reserve study. This is a document prepared to indicate how much money an association has set aside to pay for future maintenance. This document is to be provided to you when you are making a purchase so that you have all the information. Your agent is also the go-to person here to ask questions. We have many strong condo associations here on the Big Island with good maintenance history and strong reserves and Hawaii real estate agents can help you identify them. There may be other condo complexes which are great opportunities for investment as future upgrades are being planned through the HOA.

    Each MLS listing will state the fee charged for regular condo fees, and may be listed as Association fees, or maintenance fees. If you look at internet listings, many sites do not include this information on their real estate page. This is where your realtor can help you again and help you find the best second home condo in Kailua –Kona.

    Sonja Schmidt
    Aloha Kona Realty Inc.

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