Homeowners fees vs. Condominium fees

Most of the customers that I have met, are confused about Homeowners Association fees. How could they vary so much between different communities? What do the fees cover?

It is important to understand that although a home in one community may appear very similar to a home in another community, the “ownership” between the communities may be different. For example, a town home in one community may be part of a homeowners association. A similar style home in another community may be under a condominium association.

The fees and maintenance responsibility of the homeowner can be very different depending on the type of association in the community. Many times the Homeowners Association will take care of maintaining all of the open space including storm water management ponds. Sometimes the association is responsible for the upkeep of the homeowners front and backyard.

Town homes can also be under a condominium association. Most people only think of condominiums as apartment style homes. The structure of a home does not determine if there is an association, or what type of association is in the community.

Many condominium associations are responsible for the exterior maintenance of the homes,including the roof, siding and lawn care. There is a master policy which will cover the replacement cost of rebuilding the home. Under a master policy,  the homeowner will usually only need to purchase a condominium policy (instead of a homeowners policy), that will protect against personal property and the interior drywall.

When looking to purchase a home, it is important to know what you, the homeowner, will be responsible for, as well as what the association will take care of. The rules and regulation section should also be understood.This section will discuss rules for decks, fences, vehicles etc.

If you purchase a home in Maryland that is in a  Homeowners Association, you have 5 calendar days to read the documents allowing you to cancel the contract without liability. If the home is in a condominium association, you have 14 calendar days to read the documents and cancel without liability.

Some people love living in a condominium association as they don’t care to do any exerior maintenance on the home. Others prefer to live in a homeowners assocation as the fees are lower and  they feel as though they have more freedom. Lifestyle plays a major role in determining which type of association will be best for you!

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