While showing lots of condos to my buyers lately, I've come across a common question that I've discussed at length with them: is it worth paying extra for a condo or townhouse that has amenities?
There's a few different ways to look at this. First and foremost - what are all the amenities included in your monthly/yearly fee? Let's say you're looking at a couple 1 bed/1 bath condos and both have gated access. However, one has a pool, hot tub, fitness room, laundry room, billiard room, trash disposal and pest control and costs $200/month. The other condo has a pool, car wash area, tennis courts, and trash disposal, and costs $185/month. You'll want to determine what your needs are and if it's worth whatever the costs are, and weigh them against your other choices.
Next question (and be realistic with this one) - how often are you going to really take advantage of the amenities? Trash is a given, and you may or may not use the car wash, as even if it's a convenient location, it's still work. Pools are great, but if you're the type that doesn't like sharing a semi-private pool with others and basically walks up to the gate and turns right around when you see a birthday party of 10 year olds enjoying themselves, then you may not be out there nearly as often as you think you might be. But, if you have kids or even grandkids, they may want to stop by more and use the pool, giving you opportunities to be with your family and friends more. And gyms are great, but again, will you use the gym, or just go once a year in January after the previous holidays' booze-drinking and cookie binges?
One last question - what are the difference in rates for other units in the community? If you're looking at a 2 bedroom unit and it's $260/month, but the 1 bedroom units are $180/month, then is it worth the extra $80 to you even though you're not getting anything extra except some square footage? If price is a major factor, would you be willing to downsize a couple hundred square feet if it meant not only a lower price, but also a lower fee? Condo fees typically aren't negotiable, and they have nothing to do with the sale of your chosen condo, so don't even bother putting that into an offer.
These are just some questions I go over with my buyers when we look at Island condos, as I want them to have all the facts and options in front of them. Condos on Whitemarsh and Wilmington Island are great investments either for yourself or family, so you owe it to yourself to go into your purchase with all the right information and tools at your disposal.
Thanks for reading!