Feb 26 2015 5571 1

Dated: 02/26/2015

Views: 543

Getting Value Out Of Condominium Amenities

With dozens of condominium buildings competing for buyers..., building amenities have become an important part of developers' marketing plans.

In the first condominium buildings, amenities were pretty much limited to indoor pools and a generic "party room". Now buyers are looking for fitness centers and entertainment lounges. Developers are marketing lifestyles, not simply condo units. With the size of the apartments shrinking during the last decade, developers say these communal spaces are more important than in the past and add value to the building.

When purchasing a condo, it's important to look at the amenities that are featured and determine if they will add value to the building a few years down the road, or if they will become just another expense item in your monthly maintenance/strata fees.

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The developers say they offer a "rooftop lounge and pool, Hollywood-style theater, a fitness area and new fitness equipment, and your building even has a sports lounge!" It also has an outdoor water feature that will be converted into a skating rink in winter. Units start in the mid-$200,000s.

In [some condos], amenities will include a concierge, a 12-seat theater, a business meeting room, a private dining room, a "social room" with a chef's kitchen, a billiards room, a library and a 2,100-sq.-ft. fitness center, including yoga and Pilates studio.

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[O]nce you have purchased your condo and lived there for a few years, how will the amenities impact your monthly maintenance fees? ...

[M]any buyers only factor in the initial purchase price for parking, but says on average, parking maintenance fees are $43 a month and can be as high as $148 a month. "Resale values aside, it's clear that in some buildings, it's cheaper to rent parking," ...

[It] also found "no discernable correlation between the age of the building and maintenance fees and in fact, there are numerous buildings 20+ years in age with maintenance fees priced below average for the city."

It says since maintenance fees are based on unit size, and older buildings have larger units, it appears that older buildings have higher fees. On a per-square-foot basis, this isn't true.

The study also says fees in new buildings rise much faster than in older condos. Fees went up an average of 14.8 per cent in new buildings during the first three years, twice the market average.

It cites a case study where fees ... were reduced by 30 per cent following an audit and budget overhaul, without diminishing the reserve fund. "The message here is that fees can often be reduced with better management but with no prerequisites or training required of volunteers and no industry regulation of condo boards, it's hit and miss as to the success of individual condo boards," ...

Lots of people buy memberships in gyms and don't use them, or they buy exercise equipment that ends up gathering dust in their basements. Buying a condo with a state-of-the-art fitness centre or other amenities could be a waste of your money if you don't use them. However, it may add to the resale value of your unit, depending on how well the condo board manages and maintains the building.

For information on condos and their HOAs, please contact me:

Annette Bates




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Sheryll White

As a Full Time real estate agent for the past 23 years, Sheryll has helped hundreds of home owners in Colorado buy and sell their homes. Sheryll's easy going, no pressure style and her in depth knowl....

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