Sunday, November 30, 2014

Condo Fee Ripoff...or Not

"I'm not looking at condos because the fees are a ripoff." I heard this one again this week. It's a common sentiment but is less based in fact than in ignorance of exactly what a condo fee covers. There are plenty of good reasons for preferring a single family home over a condo but the existence of a condo fee shouldn't be one. That nasty condo fee usually covers insurance on the building, water and sewer, lawn and landscape maintenance, basic cable, sometimes WiFi, pool maintenance and reserves for future major expenses like painting, roof, parking lot and driveway. In almost every one of the many comparisons that I've done, the monthly costs of owning a single family home have matched or exceeded the average monthly condo fee. Not all condos fund reserves but those that don't have respectively lower fees.

The average homeowner rarely has a discipline for setting aside reserves for future major expenses. Replacing a roof on a condo might be entirely funded from the reserves without the need for an extra assessment. That average homeowner will be pulling out the checkbook and stroking a big check when the roofer presents his invoice. Same for painting the house or cutting down a damaged or diseased tree or replacing a pool pump.

I'm not making a case for condos over homes here. Families with several big dogs or needing four or more bedrooms may not have many, if any, condos worth considering. My intention is to educate those who haven't accurately considered the differences in expenses.

Speaking of education, the gas stations at both forks in A1A in Cocoa Beach (4th St. North & 21st St. South) continue to gouge customers on premium gasoline. If your vehicle uses premium gas, you'll save around $.40 a gallon by getting your gas at the Sunoco at 1st St. South.

The Thanksgiving weekend Cocoa Beach Art Show was a great time for all yesterday and continues today. While the Space Coast Art Festival moved to the Port to attract out-of-towners and cruise passengers, the Cocoa Beach locals collectively ignored it and swarmed the downtown festival as they've been doing for 53 years. Most of us are happy to enjoy the hometown feel and the chance to visit with friends and neighbors as we stroll the streets. That vibe can't be recreated elsewhere, especially a location that requires Cocoa Beachers to drive. We tend to favor bikes, skateboards and walking for our transportation. Good luck to the other Festival. I'm sure it was well attended and will continue to thrive in it's new venue.

"You're less pressurized - the cabin tends to be pressurized to the equivalent of a few thousand feet. You expand, not contract. That's why you tend to get a bit gassy on planes. Flight attendants have mastered the art of stealthily farting as we walk down the aisle - a practice generally known as "Crop Dusting"." 
___flight attendant in response to the Food Babe's error-ridden blog on airline meals