HOA dues are a mixed bag when you consider what they include.

HOA dues are a mixed bag when you consider what they include.

Buying into a multi-tenant dwelling will likely add another wrinkle to your finances: HOA dues. Yes, there are some multi-tenant townhome developments that have no HOA dues at all. While on the surface that sounds marvy, in reality, it’s a bit flying-without-a-net for me. With no cash reserve, any shared issue or expense has to be agreed on and hastily paid for.

As far as I know, except for The Beverly, Dallas high rises base their dues on unit square footage per month. For example, a 1,000-square-foot unit in a building charging 60¢ per-square-foot, per month, would equate to $600 per month. The Beverly has a set rate for every unit, regardless of its size. Some buildings, like Park Towers, increase the rate based on unit location – the higher the floor, the higher the rate (the closer to God?).

The monthly “nut” for a single-family home will include a mortgage (or not), utilities, insurance and property taxes. It may also include gym memberships and maintenance costs for landscaping and swimming pools.

A multi-tenant home will have some of those expenses bundled into their HOA dues. The nut needed for a condo will include a mortgage (or not), HOA dues and property taxes. Condo HOA dues may also include utilities, insurance and maintenance.

Personally, I’m a big fan of life automation. What bills I have are charged to a single credit card that I pay electronically. Similarly, HOA dues rollup my individual bills for water, sewer, gas, electric, cable TV, pool maintenance, insurance, landscaping and even contribute to a reserve savings account for unexpected issues. When I think back on all the checks I used to have to write…

But not everyone thinks as I do (more’s the pity, eh?). I pointed out in a previous post that many high-rise newbies will chafe at the thought of HOA dues. I sure did.

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