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Mike Bates

Mike Bates

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Maintenance Fees for Hawaii Condos and Townhomes

Most of us want a home but, well they're expensive.  Okay, we'll buy a condo or townhome instead.  What's the deal with those monthly fees?  How come they're always making us pay $200 and higher, in addition to the mortgage, phone bill etc?

It's a common question and more than one customer has suspected that "somebody's making a profit off it."  As a CPA, one of the things I've done is audit homeowners' associations.  I had to do some studying to learn about how associations (nicknamed "AOAO's") work.

Homeowners Associations are not-for-profit.  That is, they collect money from the owners and use it to maintain and operate the property.  Take a look at a condo and consider the following:

  • There's an electric bill for lighting the lobby, the parking lot, hallways and elevators.

  • Does the condo have a resident manager?  He gets paid a salary, and if he lives in the building, the association is probably paying the rent for his unit.

  • Does the condo have a security guard?  Security companies charge $15 per hour and up for guards.

  • The more amenities a property has, the higher the maintenance fee will be.  For example, swimming pools, large landscaped grounds, security cameras, meeting rooms etc. all add on to the cost of operating the common facilities - a cost that is shared by all of the owners.

  • While most properties include the basic services in the maintenance fee, others may include extras such as cable tv, electricity and central air conditioning.  Check with your agent to see what's included in the maintenance fee.

  • Does your building need to be painted?  For large high rises (say 20 stories or so) it costs about $100,000 to paint the building.  Buildings are commonly painted about every 5-10 years.

  • Properties 20 years and older start to show their age and require more repairs and maintenance.  Roofing, parking lots, elevators etc. are expensive to replace.  Maintenance fees increase as associations plan and budget for major work to be done.  If the repairs aren't made, the property falls into a state of neglect and property values decrease.  We don't want that, do we?

  • Sometimes properties were poorly constructed and need major repairs not long after they were built.  Maintenance fees might be increased to accumulate the necessary funds to make the repairs.  In other instances, an association just has bad luck, maybe a storm causes damage to the property and again, maintenance fees must be increased.

  • Homeowners associations are generally audited each year by a certified public accountant.  The accountant analyzes the expenditures and notes whether they appear to be proper.  When your offer on a condo or townhome is accepted, you will receive a "condo document" package that includes the association's financial statements.  Take a look at the documents and ask questions!

Mike Bates
Realtor Associate
Century 21 iProperties Hawaii

1585 Kapiolani Blvd #1533
Honolulu, HI 96814
Phone: 808-548-1220


I have been selling and buying properties in Canada, Hawaii and Japan for nearly 40 homes and found out Mr. Mike Bates is one of the best and I call him the king of real estate in Hawaii. I will keep asking him to buy and sell properties in the future for sure!

Thank you very much Mike for your great services and hard working manner for me in the past, present and future.
Yuji - April 2019
Mike was awesome. He was very patient and understanding with us. There were times where we just wanted to put things on hold due to the frustration however Mike stuck in with us. We truly appreciate all that he has done for us and will definitely recommend hom to any family or friends that are looking to buy a home. Alton and Janeen K. - August 2018
Excellent customer service! We bought and sold our home with Mike, he is the best realtor in Hawaii. Jerry and Candace G. - July 2018
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