What’s Up with Condo Fees?

When evaluating condo complexes on Sanibel and Captiva Islands, our home seekers commonly ask about what is included in condo fees and why do they appear to be high. Many our coming from northern states in the U.S. or outside the country where HOA fees are may be lower. So why the are as high as they are?

Because it’s an island! As you can expect, living on an island has added risks and implications that other areas simply never have to worry about. The obvious being the weather and environmental impacts of living on the coast. Below we list a few points to keep in mind when assessing the HOA fees in Southwest Florida.

  • One of the biggest differences between HOAs up north and those here on the island is the inclusion of insurance. Most condos on Sanibel and Captiva have flood and wind coverage for the building, which is often included in your monthly or quarterly condo association fee. This helps explain why the fees are sometimes much higher here than our buyers expect.
  • There is also more upkeep involved in maintaining a condo complex on or near the water. For instance, the landscaping, pool maintenance and overall building appearance require more attention and renovation since they are exposed to harsher environmental conditions than other areas further inland.

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  • This brings us to another point about HOAs – all associations keep a reserve of money, which they can draw from to make major repairs or improvements to the complex when needed. On Sanibel and Captiva, such projects may include roof replacements, repaving of driving ways or parking garages, repairs to outside staircases or elevators, and other structural imperfections that are often caused by wind and storm damage.
  • We have also discovered that in most cases, the number of units a condo complex contains can affect the rate of the HOA fees. A condo with a fewer number of units might have higher association fees since there are fewer owners to contribute to the association’s funding needs. While this is not the case for every condo association on the island, it serves as a rule of thumb and another factor to consider when evaluating HOA fees.

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What is typically covered when HOAs have high fees?

High HOA fees can range anywhere from $3,000 – $4,500 a quarter.
You’ll find that high HOA fees typically include:

  • Flood/Wind insurance for the building’s structure
  • Upkeep of public areas including: clubhouses, pools, fitness centers, spas, cabanas, tennis courts, elevators, driveways, parking lots, landscaping, etc.
  • More amenities offered at the complex
  • A smaller number of units within the complex

What is typically covered when HOAs have low fees?

Low HOA fees range anywhere from $800 – $1,500 a quarter.
You’ll find that low HOA fees typically include:

  • Upkeep of public areas including: clubhouses, pools, fitness centers, spas, cabanas, tennis courts, elevators, driveways, parking lots, landscaping, etc.
  • A larger number of units within the complex
  • Sometimes offer fewer amenities at the complex

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Jim McCallion About Jim McCallion

Meet the "Marketing Megaphone" and Webmaster behind McCallion & McCallion. After selling his software company, Jim, Susan and kids moved to Sanibel in 2008. With his tech experience, he and Susan bring a fresh approach to island real estate.