Are Your Association Fees Out of Line?

Are Your Association Fees Out of Line?
  • Opening Intro -

    You bought property in a prime neighborhood where housing values are strong and demand from buyers is good.

    Unlike other neighborhoods, your area is managed by an association, which determines how your property and home should look right down to the spacing of your rose bushes.


Association costs can slam your budget.

Associations have their pluses and minuses, and are certainly not for everyone, particularly for homeowners desiring freedom of expression including what color to paint a home, whether to have an in-ground or above ground pool, and other personal touches.

Homeowner association fees can vary widely and will sometimes scare potential buyers away. However, on closer examination your association may present some value beyond maintaining order in your neighborhood, including the following:

Pool access

— The cost of maintaining your own pool may not be worth it to you, but having access to a community pool that is included in your association dues might be worthwhile. Leave the cleaning and maintaining to someone else — use the pool as much or as little as you like.

Lawn care

— Some associations provide complete groundskeeping from cutting the lawn to planting seasonal flowers in your yard. This can be beneficial for the homeowner who enjoys a well manicured lawn, but doesn’t want to maintain it herself. If your landscaping tastes are different, you might find the association’s choice of gladiolas instead of gardenias to be a bit restrictive.

Utility coverage

— If you live in an condo or similar clustered housing unit, your utilities may be covered or at least certain expenditures such as water, sewage, trash pickup, heat, cable, Internet and common area lighting. Consider these matters when you see your $400 monthly association fee.

Parking area

— Two spaces for parking may not see like a big deal, but if your community has limited parking it can certainly beat the cost of renting garage space. Your association fee may also cover lot maintenance including snow removal, general upkeep and and blacktop resurfacing.

Exercise amenities

— Besides a community pool, your association may include tennis courts, hiking trails, basketball courts, a fitness center or something as simple as a horseshoe pit or bocce ball court.

There are some cautions potential homeowners should know about before buying a home with a homeowner’s compact. Firstly, you’ll need to abide by the rules — no exceptions, except as approved by board approval. Secondly, there are many hidden costs that can spring up including major renovations to the grounds, parking areas and streets and in the case of clustered housing the buildings, such as the roof. Your monthly fees may not cover these expenses; you could be billed thousands of dollars separately for your share of the improvements. Thirdly, the association board should be financially solvent. Although stricter laws in recent years have required associations to have reserves, these funds can quickly become depleted if a major improvement or maintenance issue arises.

Ultimately, your decision to buy a home with a neighborhood compact should be weighed by your willingness to submit to sometimes onerous regulations and the cost of maintaining such an arrangement. Beyond that, your attorney may have a thing or two to say, with the appropriate warnings to help you make an informed decision.

Further Reading

St. Paul Real Estate Blog: Sky High Association Dues; Teresa Boardman; Feb. 2009

Bestseller No. 1
TACKLIFE Garden Tools Set-7 Piece Stainless Steel Heavy Duty kit, GGT4A, Black and Orange
74 Reviews
TACKLIFE Garden Tools Set-7 Piece Stainless Steel Heavy Duty kit, GGT4A, Black and Orange
  • Heavy duty stainless Steel - Tacklife gardening tools is Made of heavy duty stainless Steel, The tool is strong and durable, with a high hardness and...
  • durable storage tote bag & garden gifts - the tote bag Made of special cotton and polyester, durable and easily to clean; garden tote bag 9 slot is...
  • High efficiency & professional Tools - pruning hears precision-ground stainless steel blade stays sharp, help cutting stems and light branches; soil...
Bestseller No. 2
Scuddles Garden Tools Set - 8 Piece Heavy Duty Gardening Kit With Storage Organizer, Ergonomic Hand Digging Weeder Rake Shovel Trowel Sprayer Gloves Gift for Men Or Women
560 Reviews
Scuddles Garden Tools Set - 8 Piece Heavy Duty Gardening Kit With Storage Organizer, Ergonomic Hand Digging Weeder Rake Shovel Trowel Sprayer Gloves Gift for Men Or Women
  • NEW AND IMPROVED GARDEN TOOLS SET: The Scuddles garden tool storage Kit is improved with anti rust stainless steel Heavy Duty Garden Planting Tools...
  • DOUBLE GAUGE COTTON GARDEN TOOL BAG TOTE: The Highly improved womens tool kit can also be Machine washed with the strong material it's made out of not...
  • HEAVY DUTY TOOL CARRIER: The hand carry polyester organizer tote bag can be carry anywhere and can be washed easily. It It has extra pockets for all...
Bestseller No. 3
AOKIWO 20 Pcs Garden Tools Set Heavy Duty Aluminum for Men Women, Green
  • 20 pieces complete garden tools set - our garden tool set contains everything you need to raise the garden of your dreams: trowel, transplanted, hand...
  • Rust resistant with frap handles - These 6 metal hand tools are made of rust-resistant aluminum and Stainless Steel with a soft-rubber, no-slip grip...
  • Heavy duty storage bag - This set features a heavy duty, storage caddy. It has elastic loops to help keep tools in place, and it include 8 convenient...

Last update on 2020-02-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


end of post idea


Helpful article? Leave us a quick comment below.
And please give this article a rating and/or share it within your social networks.

facebook linkedin pinterest

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to The commission earnings are used to defray our cost of operation.

View our FTC Disclosure for other affiliate information.

Categories: Home Buying

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".