FEES & TAXES
WHAT ARE THEY? AND WHY DO THEY MATTER?
Regime fees are condominium association costs typically charged on a monthly basis to the owners of condos. Although the terms "HOA" and "condo association fees" are more widely used, “regime fee” is a common term in southern states, and more specifically here in South Carolina.
This regime fee often includes building insurance, board insurance, flood insurance, wind & hail insurance, structural maintenance, and upkeep of the common areas inside and out, including any amenities owned by the condo complex (for example, the courtyards at Bee Street Lofts, the exercise facility and the meeting room at The Bristol), interior and exterior pest control for the common areas, as well as garbage pickup.
What may seem like a lot of money every month, remember that these fees are factoring in all the costs associated with owning the complex and splitting the cost (based on unit size) between all the owners. These are usually the same expenses homeowners pay out of pocket. When it comes time to replace the roof, it may cost the condo owners little or nothing to have it done...the money is oftentimes already there in the Reserve which is also part of this monthly regime fee! Regime fees at Bee Street are based on the square footage of each condo as are many of the condos in Charleston. Regime fees at The Bristol are the same for all condos because of the vast common space in the expansive building for only 54 condos. Be sure to ask how the fees are determined and if they include all the insurances as sometimes these are paid separately.
The major upside to purchasing a condo is the easy lock & leave nature of the property along with little attention required by the condo homeowner.
PROPERTY TAXES ARE BASED ON THE
PURCHASE PRICE OF THE HOME or CONDO.
The assessable base of the home will rise to the sales price on closing so your property taxes will be based on that new value, but homes are reassessed about every 5 years in the Charleston area and can go up or down depending on the market. Properties are usually assessed at a lower value than the homes' appraised values, so it is likely your property taxes may go down in the future.
WHY A CONDO AND NOT A HOUSE?
There are many reasons why people choose a condo over a house - turn key - want to travel - security/safety - don’t want maintenance, but what stops people in their tracks is often the idea of paying a monthly regime fee.
Here is why that should not deter a condo buyer:
Here’s what your Regime Fee contracts and pays:
Roofing - roofs are taken care of through your monthly Regime Fee through your HOA - saving for the future replacement or repair of the roof. You’ll be hit hard in a home when these repairs are needed.
Tree service - usually not a major expense for condos but an HOA responsibility to address these needs. Homes often have more issues.
Driveway maintenance/repair/snow removal - ugh, HOA handles all this.
Painting - exterior painting of a home is a major expense.
Porch repair/painting/cleaning - just one more thing to do. Terraces are often taken care by the HOA.
Window Cleaning/Repair - homeowners need to find someone reliable - HOA does it.
Landscaping - this is important in a condo to keep things looking sharp for all. In a home you could probably let this go if you get lazy, but eventually you will pay the price.
Regular power washing - so needed in Charleston - and not cheap.
Handyman - Usually there is a preferred handyman in a condo building whom homeowners trust to help out.
Plumbing issues - how nice it is to know that there are many other homeowners who may experience the same problem with plumbing and therefore you will know exactly what to do and who to call in a condo. This could be more expensive in a home.
Condos are generally smaller than homes = less $ for the following items:
Bathroom remodel *
Kitchen remodel *
Cleaning service *
Heating and cooling issues - the building is covered by the HOA but condo owners usually have a unit or perhaps two that they need to bi-annually address - this is the same as a home.
So the reality is that even though you are paying monthly - your expenses are actually apt to be much lower than owning a home, and certainly less work and aggravation.