Condo Buying Tip for Gulf Shores #6 - Special Assessments

As with any construction, everything will break down over time and will have to repaired or replaced now and then.  It’s life and there’s no exception when it comes to Gulf Shores condos.  While no one has control over these things, a condo buyer does have control whether or not they want to take on that expense when they’re considering a purchase.  So, here is…….

Condo Buying Tip #6 – Are There Any Special Assessments?

First of all, what is it?  A special assessment is a cost or fee that is outside of the normal HOA fees of a condo association.  Gulf Shores HOA fees are fairly reasonable but from time to time, I’ll see that a certain condo community will need to have something repaired.

Since all construction will need repairs sooner or later, it’s just a matter of the buyer checking to see if there any known present or future assessments on the horizon. 

Here are a few examples of repairs that would generate a special assessment in Gulf Shores:

  • Window replacement
  • Door replacement
  • Re-sealing the parking lot
  • Repainting the exterior building
  • Waterproofing the exterior building
  • Pool repair
  • Repairing the boardwalk
  • Roof repair

A condo owner may also see a special assessment that doesn’t have to do with repairs: reserve funds and insurance.

Part of the HOA fees that are paid monthly will go toward building up the association’s Reserve Funds.  A large balance in this account shows strength and stability for the association.  So, when this account gets low, the association may levy a special assessment in order to replenish the reserve funds.

Also, we see a special assessment for insurance.  This isn’t typical but there are a few condo communities in Gulf Shores that do not include common area insurance in their HOA fees so it’s paid separately by an annual special assessment.

How Much Are Special Assessments?

We mainly see special assessments for repairs so let’s use that as an example.  The cost is totally determined by how much the cost of the repair is, so it varies.  If, for instance, a complex is going to replace all of their windows and the cost is $100,000, that amount would be split by the number of owners.  If there are 50 condo owners, the special assessment would be $2,000.

Depending on the association, the owner can either pay this amount upfront or spread the cost out over a certain period of time.

What Can the Condo Buyer do?

So here are your tips….

Tip: If you’re thinking about buying a particular condo and find that there is a special assessment in the works or due right now, you can negotiate that cost into the contract.  You can either adjust the sales price or ask the seller to pay it if the assessment is current.

Tip: Whenever you want to buy a condo, I’ll find out if there are any assessments on the books.  So, if I’m not representing you in the purchase of the condo, make sure that you get all of the condo documents that are associated with the complex which would include assessments.  You can also ask if there are any known assessments coming up.

Buying a Condo in Gulf Shores

Give me a ring if you’re in the market to purchase a new condo in Gulf Shores.  I’ll get you all of the information that you need in order to make an informed decision.


$100,000 to $200,000 – $200,000 to $300,000 – $300,000 to $400,000
$400,000 to $500,000 – $500,000 to $600,000 – $600,000 to $1,000,000

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.