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What Amenities are Worth High Common Charges?

Tiffany Court at 980 Westchester Avenue - GF55 Partners
Tiffany Court at 980 Westchester Avenue – GF55 Partners

What Are Common Charges?

To live in a condo, one buys an individual unit within a community of similar spaces. Common charges are monthly fees that are paid to the condominium board of your specific building. These fees cover a variety of amenities—from those as basic as heat, water, and gas to as luxurious as a community pool or gym.

This system isn’t appealing to everyone, but for many it provides peace of mind—knowing all your many needs are handled. A private management company, employed by the condo board, does everything from mowing lawns to cleaning communal lounges; all of which are covered by collected common charges.

What’s Considered to be a High Common Charge?

On average, common charges nationwide are anywhere between three and four hundred dollars. However in a more luxurious building complex, and especially in NYC, these charges can reach upward of a thousand and more. If your common charges land on that end of the spectrum, it’s easy to question their overall worth.

I mean, let’s be honest! It’s perfectly reasonable to wonder where your hard earned cash is headed, and what benefits you’ll personally reap. This article can serve as a guide to answering exactly that question—and help you make an informed decision when it comes to your new home.

Amenities That Are Worth High Common Charges

Let’s discuss some possible amenities that may sway (or dissuade) your interest in condo living. From basic to grandiose-we’ve explored every option (simply so you don’t have to!)

Heat, Water, Electricity, and Internet—All Throughout The Building!

Yes, this one is pretty standard! But in a condominium community, your common charge encompasses these four basic elements for all the different communal spaces you’ll enjoy— as well as your own unit.

It can be irritating to worry each month about separate charges on your own card—and ensuring your power doesn’t turn off because of a simple forgotten payment. Through the money each resident pays to the condo board—heat, water, electricity, or internet is typically covered for every space you might inhabit. From the communal lounge to your own bedroom—never worry about contacting ConEd to Spectrum again!

A Doorman (Or Concierge Desk)

When searching for a new condo or apartment, a doorman is a plus for most. Not only do they provide courtesy services, such as holding open the door after a long day or accepting packages on your behalf- they also offer an increased level of home security.

Safety is everything these days, and in an area as crowded as New York City, it can feel especially pertinent. A doorman keeps watch on any and all unusual activity—and gifts you that much needed peace of mind when you’re away from home.

Some condos even have their own concierge desk, also funded by your common charges. While a doorman falls under the notion of concierge services, there are additional employees provided for buildings with an actual concierge system. In these condominiums, services such as picking up prescriptions or dry-cleaning, making your dinner reservations, or even walking your dog are included.

A condo concierge can accept and deliver packages to your room, feed your furry friend while you’re on vacation, and wait on your behalf for repairmen to fix that newly broken television in your living room. As far as amenities go, these are above and beyond—justifying higher condo common charges.

Outdoor Space

Many condos have communal outdoor spaces, perfect for hosting guests or spending a (hopefully) relaxing “family day” in the sun. At certain buildings, plants or shrubbery decorate the entrance and flowers bloom beautifully in the Spring—right outside your door.

And although it would be magical if they kept themselves pruned, we unfortunately don’t live in a Harry Potter book.

In New York City, the views from a rooftop alone can convince someone to take root. A well maintained rooftop space, with furniture and even activities—can certainly help justify a high common charge. Many condos keep grills, fire pits, or even cabanas on their rooftops. Naturally, these all cost money to purchase, maintain, or even replace. If you dream of a family barbecue overlooking the East River or marveling at the Freedom Tower while lounging in a cabana—many condos can make that a reality.


A private pool in NYC, especially in Manhattan, is practically an endangered species. Whether they’re part of the rooftop, inside the building, or located in a communal outdoor area—a good pool is certainly a luxury for most. In the dead heat of a New York August, they might make your high common charge worth every single penny.

Organized Social Events for Residents

Part of condo living is embracing a community lifestyle. Some condos come staffed with event planning professionals who organize social events for residents, such as wine tastings, movie nights, miniature concerts, or seasonal parties.

For many, these provide fun additions to your schedule, new memories, and simply something to look forward to without having to do all the planning!

Eco-Friendly Building Features

This one is on Inman Magazine’s List for most desirable condo amenities, and for good reason! The Energy Star certification is something many buyers seek out when looking for a new home. Especially in condos where utilities aren’t covered, eco-friendly energy choices indicate a saving on other costs overall. However, it doesn’t stop with reduced costs from lights or appliances. In newly built condominiums, knowing the very materials used in construction were sustainable is a win for you…and our planet.

A Fitness Center or Gym

Forget about renewing that membership at Barry’s or Equinox! In many condominiums, private gyms for residents are maintained or built using your monthly fee. Often, they include state of the art equipment—and their proximity to your front door could not be any closer. (Perfect for those needing a little motivation to get out of bed in the morning!)

Some condo fitness centers practically replicate the ones you’d pay additional money for—with saunas, steam rooms, and even hot tubs.

In more expensive buildings, spa services are even offered for residents. These services can include facials, massages, and more.

Living in a home that not only keeps you warm at night but provides incentives for a healthier lifestyle is definitely a plus. Who knew investing in a condo could not only give you a place to eat and sleep—but help you look and feel healthier, too!

Communal Lounges, Game Rooms, and Activities for Kids

If you’re a parent, this amenity may help you decide if condo living is for you. Planned activities don’t just have to be wine tasting or late night concerts. Many condo boards implement activities geared towards younger residents, which is appealing for parents (or those who’re planning on it.) Small playgrounds, libraries, or children’s activities can be maintained through your common charge. Some of these activities can include sing-a-longs for toddlers or picnics for parents and their kids. Because of the community atmosphere, some parents are drawn to condos as forever homes. Kids can befriend neighbors and play outside within the safety of their own building.

Following the thread of community activities, some condos provide party or game rooms with billiards, darts, ping pong tables or more! It’s a great space for neighbors to hang after work, or for teenage kids to have friends over without keeping you up till midnight. In most apartments, there simply isn’t the space for a pool table or a giant lounge. With a condo and a common charge, the building provides it for you!


Speaking of space, storage for your items can be difficult in any apartment style unit. In fact, New York City is known for its costly, yet spatially-deficient, homes. In some condominiums, like Long Island City’s newly constructed GALERIE building, storage units for residents are a gifted amenity.

Talk to a real estate expert at NewDevRev to discuss condos, common charges, and NYC living!