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Townhouse maintenance fees. Any tips?

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  • Mar 23rd, 2010 3:35 pm
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Deal Addict
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Dec 10, 2004
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Thornhill

Townhouse maintenance fees. Any tips?

We are looking into numerous townhouses in Toronto right now and maintenance fees seem to be around $250-350/month and don't include heat or hydro.

Why so high? In condos we would be paying for the pool,common areas,security,landscaping,concierge and other amenities. And $350-400/month is average.
Most townhomes don't have none of that. So what exactly do those fees cover?

Also, how often do fees in townhouses increase? Say a townhouse is 10 years old. Is that old? Any additional expenses that will be required soon?

Just looking for some feedback from those who've dealt with this in the past.
29 replies
Sr. Member
Oct 7, 2009
813 posts
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This is a good question. We found a townhouse that has no condo fees, and our only common expense is about $150 a year for snow removal. We totally lucked into this unit, though. Most townhouses have condo fees, for some reason. I hope someone can answer about where that money goes.
Newbie
Aug 1, 2009
14 posts
miss
i believe all condo association have a reserve fund to cover extra expenditures instead of hammering their residents with a bill for new roofing or whatever major expenses that may occur.

It usually covers grass cutting, snow removal, hydro for common lighted areas for example street lights. Townhome condos are usually relatively less then the traditional condo fees which include gym faciltities and party rooms...things the average person never really uses....along with a pool.
Sr. Member
Oct 7, 2009
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That's a good point. I have to replace my own section of the roof if something happens to it.
Member
Dec 9, 2007
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dazz wrote:
Mar 21st, 2010 9:36 pm
We are looking into numerous townhouses in Toronto right now and maintenance fees seem to be around $250-350/month and don't include heat or hydro.

Why so high? In condos we would be paying for the pool,common areas,security,landscaping,concierge and other amenities. And $350-400/month is average.
Most townhomes don't have none of that. So what exactly do those fees cover?

Also, how often do fees in townhouses increase? Say a townhouse is 10 years old. Is that old? Any additional expenses that will be required soon?

Just looking for some feedback from those who've dealt with this in the past.
What I like about condo townhouses (not freehold) is the curb appeal.

Also, I think you can get a status certificate for about $100.00 and it will tell you everything about fees, legals, budgets, etc.
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ssmithsamy wrote:
Mar 21st, 2010 10:31 pm
i believe all condo association have a reserve fund to cover extra expenditures instead of hammering their residents with a bill for new roofing or whatever major expenses that may occur.

It usually covers grass cutting, snow removal, hydro for common lighted areas for example street lights. Townhome condos are usually relatively less then the traditional condo fees which include gym faciltities and party rooms...things the average person never really uses....along with a pool.
Well, a few townhouse communities we looked into so far have about 70-250 units. A friend of mind told me that 2 of them had reserve funds of around $300k-450K(is that a lot?)
$300/month for say a 100 unit community is 30K a month. That seems pretty high. Lighting and grass cutting does not take $30K per month to maintain. Obviously there's the reserve fund,but what's normal?
How often do roofs need to be replaced? Every 20-40 years? What would that cost?
I understand that a condo will in general have more units,but there are so many amenities that it shouldn't be similar.
I would understand $100/month for maintenance fees,but $300??
The weird part is, seems like these fees go up yearly. Doesn't make much sense to me so far.
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Therion wrote:
Mar 21st, 2010 10:33 pm
That's a good point. I have to replace my own section of the roof if something happens to it.
Considering the fact you don't need to do it very often, it would be muuuuuuuch cheaper to do it on a need to need basis.
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Mar 21, 2006
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Burlington, Ontario
Lighting, grass cutting, snow removal, road/street repair, communal areas (playgrounds), insurance, management fees, the list can go on quite a bit.
Audio - Video - Data - Security - This is what I do
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Dec 24, 2005
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it's also not quite fair to compare your old 600 sq foot condo (when you say your condo fees in the condo were 300 .... it must not be a big condo) to a townhouse which is MUCH bigger
Member
Nov 4, 2008
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Toronto
dazz wrote:
Mar 21st, 2010 11:19 pm
Well, a few townhouse communities we looked into so far have about 70-250 units. A friend of mind told me that 2 of them had reserve funds of around $300k-450K(is that a lot?)
$300/month for say a 100 unit community is 30K a month. That seems pretty high. Lighting and grass cutting does not take $30K per month to maintain. Obviously there's the reserve fund,but what's normal?
How often do roofs need to be replaced? Every 20-40 years? What would that cost?
I understand that a condo will in general have more units,but there are so many amenities that it shouldn't be similar.
I would understand $100/month for maintenance fees,but $300??
The weird part is, seems like these fees go up yearly. Doesn't make much sense to me so far.
Think of it this way, everything outside of the stud walls is part of the condo corporation, and they will pay to have it fixed. Most places will also pay a percentage of your window replacement. That means if your siding, doors, eaves, driveway, fence break, it is the condo that will be paying the bill. The reserve fund is funded by your maint fee to plan for future repairs. You may find that water, and possibly cable is included. Also many town homes are too narrow for city snow removal so they need to hire it out. If you also notice that they have allot of tree's in the neighbourhood then you have the added expense there as well.
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Aug 20, 2005
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Therion wrote:
Mar 21st, 2010 10:21 pm
This is a good question. We found a townhouse that has no condo fees, and our only common expense is about $150 a year for snow removal. We totally lucked into this unit, though. Most townhouses have condo fees, for some reason. I hope someone can answer about where that money goes.
You didn't luck out, you obviously bought a freehold townhouse. That means that you are responsible for all maintenance and upkeep of your unit.

The money goes to upkeep of the common elements, insurance, some utilities may be included and the reserve fund. An adequate reserve fund is required by law to ensure that there are sufficient funds available to cover future repair costs.
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Oct 7, 2009
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Cheap Cat wrote:
Mar 22nd, 2010 3:21 pm
You didn't luck out, you obviously bought a freehold townhouse. That means that you are responsible for all maintenance and upkeep of your unit.
I meant I lucked out in finding a freehold townhouse, they are not that common.
Sr. Member
Jun 9, 2006
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Thornhill
I think we pay about $300ish / month, this is what we get

- fully gated community
- 24/7 security
- landscaping (new flowers every year, all hedges trimmed, trees taken care of, lawns mowed)
- window cleaning (several times a year)
- cable (with Rogers, they gave us 3 digital boxes as well)
- snow removal (this seems very good, never had a problem even with all the blizzards and such)
- repairs/maintenance for common areas (any light bulbs going out, street lights in the complex, the playground that we have, they replaced the entire gate around the complex)
- road repairs for common area (any potholes and such are fixed next day from what I've seen)
- underground parking

Issues that I've had that were fixed without us paying for it:
- leak repairs on the roof (called the property management, someone came out the next day to fix the problem)
- air conditioning unit has been replaced since it is outside
[OP]
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Waiwai wrote:
Mar 22nd, 2010 8:40 pm
I think we pay about $300ish / month, this is what we get

- fully gated community
- 24/7 security
- landscaping (new flowers every year, all hedges trimmed, trees taken care of, lawns mowed)
- window cleaning (several times a year)
- cable (with Rogers, they gave us 3 digital boxes as well)
- snow removal (this seems very good, never had a problem even with all the blizzards and such)
- repairs/maintenance for common areas (any light bulbs going out, street lights in the complex, the playground that we have, they replaced the entire gate around the complex)
- road repairs for common area (any potholes and such are fixed next day from what I've seen)
- underground parking

Issues that I've had that were fixed without us paying for it:
- leak repairs on the roof (called the property management, someone came out the next day to fix the problem)
- air conditioning unit has been replaced since it is outside
How old is the townhouse complex?
Sr. Member
Apr 5, 2003
627 posts
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White Rock
Building Insurance (you only buy insurance for your contents)
Water
Snow Removal
Garbage Pickup
Landscaping (Mowing, trimming trees, etc...)
Upkeep of common areas
Outside Lighting
Window cleaning
...
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