Answering Objections: My friend said his communal fees are half what I pay, I must be paying too much!
This is a true classic and fortunately is a very easy one to answer
Usually this friend (or friend of a friend) is not giving the full picture, or the story has been retold with the amount changing with each retelling. But it is best to explain how budgets and fees may vary.
Your First Answer
It is very difficult to compare two buildings. Comparing the communal expenses of an 8 unit building with a lift, to an 80 apartment resort with lift, gardens, pool etc is an obvious example of this, but the differences can be more subtle and still make a huge impact on communal expense.
These differences include types of facilities (pool, lift, car parks, gyms etc.) and the number of apartments that share these facilities. For example a swimming pool is usually the highest cost in the communal budget, so if there is a development with 1 pool and 20 apartments, each apartment’s share of the pool maintenance cost will be higher that the development next door with 1 pool and 40 apartments.
Occupancy levels and type of occupancy (residential, holiday) also have an effect, as the more the building is actively used the higher the maintenance costs, higher the annual repair bills and higher electricity costs.
Your Second Answer?
This is closely related to my article a few months ago about the importance of record keeping.
The easiest way to diffuse this objection is to offer to go through the budget and income/expense accounts with the owner.
Most owners completely underestimate the true cost of maintaining a building/resort and are unaware of many of the expenses. So show the budget and ask the question, if you want to reduce your communal fee by 50% suggest how to reduce the expenses by 50% and still maintain the building.
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