Feb 10, 2024 - Real Estate

Strict rules, high fees: What to know about Twin Cities HOAs

Estimated number of HOAs, condominiums and cooperatives with fees, 2023
Data: Foundation for Community Association Research; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

With roughly 7,950 housing communities in Minnesota, many home shoppers need to factor in homeowners association fees as part of their purchase price.

Why it matters: Homebuyers looking at condos or townhomes for their lower prices might not realize HOA dues can cost close to $1,000 per month and can change over time.

Between the lines: HOA fees cover maintenance and amenities like pools and gyms, among other things keeping the building or community running.

Be smart: Condo buyers should pay close attention to the building's age, condition, location and finances, Clare Trapasso with Realtor.com tells Axios.

  • "If they're buying [in] an older building that doesn't have much in its reserve fund to pay for emergencies, and the building floods frequently or the elevator gives out, then each individual condo owner may see their monthly HOA fees go up," says Trapasso, the company's executive news editor.

What's next: If your dues change, the association board should report that in the community newsletter, website, notices, or meetings, according to Thomas M. Skiba, CEO of the Community Associations Institute.

  • Typically condo fees don't go down, unless a special assessment — extra fees charged under unforeseen circumstances — ends or the building gets an influx of cash, Trapasso says.

Yes, but: You often get what you pay for, says Cedar Isles homeowner Dan Elder, who tells Axios his community provides heat, air conditioning and 24-hour security.

Also, don't forget the rules. Some Axios Twin Cities readers told us they had to jump through hoops to make changes to their landscaping, deck or yard.

  • Gail Smith's community in Blaine requires residents to keep garbage bins in the garage until pick-up day. "My garage door goes right into my kitchen. Who wants their house to smell like garbage all summer?" Smith says.

The intrigue: Higher monthly fees have similarly pushed up the price of renting.

  • Many renters are being hit with charges for valet trash pickup, pest control, move-ins and move-outs, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Go deeper: How much owning a single-family home really costs in the U.S.


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