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What Are Maintenance Fees?

Maintenance fees are exactly what they sound like, fees to maintain. If you’ve ever wondered how some neighborhoods or communities have beautiful landscaping and amazing amenities (like an infinity pool with a view of the Pacific Ocean), it does not come cheap or free — these luxuries are funded maintenance fees paid by the property owners.

Benefits of Maintenance Fees

For some people, it’s the way to go. There’s no worry about yard work or maintaining your home. Replacing a roof is expensive! Remember my mention of the infinity pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean? Security is also a huge benefit. Many places offer 24-hour security included in the monthly maintenance fee.

Downsides of Maintenance Fees

For others, it may not make sense to buy a place with a maintenance fee because a community pool or gym has absolutely no value to them. Or perhaps, they would like to paint their home whatever color they want, whenever they want.

Ultimately, it’s a lifestyle preference. Each person has their own wants and needs.

Things To Keep In Mind About Maintenance Fees

Here are some things to consider about maintenance fees when looking to buy a home:

  • Extra expense. This is money that is not going towards paying down your loan.
  • It’s impossible to predict what a community or building may need, i.e. new piping throughout the entire building, meaning it’s impossible to predict when there may be an increase in maintenance fees or a special assessment. Ke Kilohana in Kakaako is a perfect example of this, with maintenance fees increasing by 50% suddenly.
  • Larger communities (with more units) means, hopefully, a more even and affordable spread of maintenance fees. The Mauna Luan is a community in Hawaii Kai that offers resort-style living without the extremely high maintenance fees one may assume it may have.
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