When you buy a townhome or condominium you become part of a Common Interest Community (CIC) in a Planned Unit Development (PUD), which shares some of the responsibilities and costs of homeownership. Those shared costs are usually paid by each unit owner in monthly association fees.
Typically townhouse association fees include the following:
- Snow and lawn care
- Outside maintenance
- Sanitation (trash removal)
- Water/sewer (some include it, some don’t)
- Hazard insurance covering the building structure and exterior (you should secure your own separate insurance for the interior, much like renter’s insurance)
Condominium association fees usually include the above, plus some or all of the following. usually, the higher the fee the more is included:
- Security system
- Shared amenities, such as a pool and exercise equipment
- Air conditioning Electric
Associations are most often managed by a professional management company. However, some associations are self-managed by elected members of the community. Following are some questions you might ask about the association.
- Are there any pet restrictions?
- Do they have enough cash reserves to cover maintenance, etc?
- How do they pay for major improvements - from reserves from monthly fees or from special assessments?
- Are there any plans for any major improvements? What and when was the last major project, and how was it funded?
- Do they allow rentals? If so, are there any restrictions and what percentage is currently rented?
- How is soundproofing between units?
If you decide to purchase a home in a Common Interest Community in Minnesota, you will have ten days to review the association documents to your satisfaction before your purchase agreement becomes binding.