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In condos and co-ops, fees are generally set based on the size of the apartment. (132 West 71st Street via Compass) In condos and co-ops, fees are generally set based on the size of the apartment. (132 West 71st Street via Compass)
It may sound hard to believe now, but there was a time when New York City condo and co-op prices were relatively in sync. The amenity craze had yet to take hold in new condominiums, which didn't differentiate them much from cooperatives. Moreover, in a slightly more dangerous city, a full-time doorman and an additional slate of gatekeepers (also known as the co-op board) was seen by many as a must-have. As a result of the evolution of the city and real estate market, CityRealty listings show that median Manhattan prices are a whopping $2.2 million for condos and only (!!) $898K for their co-op counterparts.
However, that is not to say that co-ops are necessarily the place to go for bargains. The cost of one’s maintenance fees must be taken into account since, in New York City, fees are often extremely high. While fees in an older walk-up in Brooklyn may be just a few hundred dollars per month, fees in many Manhattan co-ops are several thousands of dollars each month. In fact, some co-ops can come with extremely low sticker prices but maintenance fees as high as, if not higher than, one’s monthly mortgage payment. This article examines co-op maintenance fees in detail, discusses how they are set, and how to avoid excessively high fees if and when possible.

What Co-op Fees Cover

In co-ops, all shareholders pay co-op fees. Generally, co-op fees include property taxes, any underlying mortgage on the building, and building insurance. In many buildings, utilities (e.g., heat and hot water, electricity, and gas) are also included in the fees. One’s fees likely also cover other regular upkeep costs (e.g., landscaping, pest control, etc.). Finally, fees cover building staff salaries and any additional services. As a result, the more staff and services found in the building, the higher the fees.

How Co-op Fees Are Set

In co-ops, fees are generally set based on the size of the apartment. As a result, if you combine two units, expect to pay higher fees. In some cases, other factors, including the floor level, may also be taken into account when setting fees.

133 West 75th Street Listing in 55 Seventh Avenue in Brooklyn with extremely low maintenance

Negotiating Co-op Fees

Co-op fees are set by the co-op board and voted on at an annual meeting for shareholders. Small fee increases are expected (e.g., to cover higher taxes or fuel costs). Also, from time to time, a building may need to temporarily charge higher fees to cover the cost of a major capital improvement or repair. For example, many buildings are forced to raise their fees as a result of façade work. However, fees can also be a source of controversy in some co-op buildings.
While some shareholders may want to renovate the lobby or install a gym and be happy to pay higher fees in the process, other shareholders may consider such additions and the related costs unnecessary. Where majority rules, however, there isn’t much a shareholder can do. Ultimately, once the fees are set, shareholders are obliged to pay the fees as long as they remain shareholders in the building. This is one of the risks of buying in a co-op building. Of course, there is always one line of recourse: Shareholders who feel spending is out of control can always get elected to their co-op board and put an end to the frivolous spending and soaring fees.

Available co-ops with extremely low monthly maintenance

521-Dean-Street-01 All images of 521 Dean Street via Compass
From the Listing: Unit 4 at 521 Dean Street is not only a charmer, but its large outdoor space will leave you in awe. This home features one bedroom upstairs and a large flex space downstairs currently configured as the primary bedroom. As you enter this home, you will notice the striking hardwood floors that were recently upgraded as well as a beautiful fireplace with exposed brick. The upper level of the duplex includes a full bath, bedroom, a spacious living room with space for an office as well as the kitchen and dining area, which includes a stainless steel stove, refrigerator and dishwasher. See floor plan and full details here.

24-75-38th-Street-01 All images of Astoria Lights via Corcoran
From the Listing: Come home to this truly remarkable, spacious, two-bedroom, one-bath apartment in the much sought after Astoria Lights Co-op. A10 features a grand living/dining room with an adjacent modern kitchen with lots of counter space and top brand name appliances such as Fisher Paykel, Bosch and Bertazzoni stove and microwave, perfect to entertain your next gathering. A generous primary bedroom greets welcomes you just off the main foyer. From the grand living/dining room, there is immediate access to a second large bedrooms. The gorgeous windowed bathrooms have marble mosaic floor tiles and European fixtures. Pre-war hardwood floors with mahogany inlay, traditional pre-war moldings and beautiful exposed brick walls add to the personality of this unit. An in-unit washer and dryer as well as ample storage complete this gracious apartment. See floor plan and full details here.

55-Avenue-C-01 All images of 55 Avenue C via R New York
From the Listing: Unheard of $300 monthly maintenance, including high-speed internet! Every inch of this apartment has been utilized to make it the perfect combination of charm, convenience and value. The windowed kitchen has been upgraded with premium kitchen cabinets, under-cabinet lighting, quartz countertop, undermount sink, Fisher Paykel stove, and 5 LED-spot dimmable track lights. The windowed bathroom includes water temperature regulating valve in tub/shower and custom door hardware, and the living room and bedrooms sport gorgeous oak and maple floors. See floor plan and full details here.

408-Saint-Johns-Place-01 All images of 408 Saint Johns Place via Compass
From the Listing: This pretty south-facing two-bedroom is a quiet oasis of prewar charm. The updated kitchen features stainless steel appliances, a gas stove, dishwasher, and quartz countertops. The windowed bathroom has been renovated with white subway tiles and black accents. The master bedroom is large, easily holding a king sized bed as well as an extravagantly sized custom closet. The smaller bedroom is perfect as an office, guest room, or as a twin bedroom. This even has your own vented washer/dryer. See floor plan and full details here.

115-Eastern-Parkway-01 All images of 115 Eastern Parkway via Corcoran
From the Listing: Overlook glorious Eastern Parkway and directly at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Brooklyn Museum from this light-filled two bedroom co-op. South and west exposures in the living and dining room make it cheery by day and enchanted in the evening, once the lights illuminate the majestic Museum. The windowed galley kitchen has breakfast bar, Fisher & Paykel fridge, LG 5-burner stove & double oven and LG overhead microwave. An elegantly wallpapered niche creates a beautiful “moment” for credenza and mirror. New windows provide superb weather and sound protection. Laundry and bike/bulk storage are found in the basement, and a common roof deck holds spectacular vistas for shareholders. See floor plan and full details here.

225-Baltic-Street-01 All images of 225 Baltic Street via Halstead
From the Listing: Nestled among the mid to late 19th Century homes found in the Historic and Landmarked District of Cobble Hill you will be at home in this boutique cooperative. When you ascend the stairs to the top floor you will be at home in this well maintained 2 bedroom and one full bath eastern and northern sun-filled space. The windowed kitchen is just perfect for meal prep of all degrees. There is ample closet space when entering the apartment. You will be struck by the serenity and peaceful nature as well. The apartment comes with several additional large storage spaces as well as free shared laundry and bike storage in the basement. See floor plan and full details here.

10-Plaza-Street-01 All images of 10 Plaza Street via Mont Sky Real Estate
From the Listing: Situated at the entry to Grand Army Plaza and steps to Prospect Park, this bright and airy 2-bedroom apartment offers access to the best of Park Slope and Prospect Heights. A spacious entry leads to a large sun-drenched living room. Off the living room is a cozy bedroom or home office, currently being used as a nursery. The windowed kitchen has a serene color scheme and plenty of storage. The main bedroom comfortably fits a king bed, side tables, and additional pieces along with a large closet. The bathroom has been updated with a modern feel and there are two additional storage closets throughout the unit. See floor plan and full details here.

544-East-11th-Street-01 All images of 544 East 11th Street via Maz Group NY
From the Listing: Welcome to 4A, a MINT condition East Village 2BR with LOW monthlies! This tastefully designed and fully renovated two bedroom one bathroom home offers you a spacious floor plan with large bedrooms and open-concept living. From the sleek hardwood flooring throughout, to the elegant stainless steel kitchen with Bertazzoni range and dishwasher, to the spa-like bath with deep soaking tub and rain shower, no detail has been overlooked. Added to this, with four north facing windows and open sky, you'll have that soft and calming northern light throughout the day. See floor plan and full details here.

513-12th-Street-01 All images of 513 12th Street via Douglas Elliman
From the Listing: Moments from Prospect Park, this stylish 2-bed, 1-bath co-op showcases elegant renovations and contemporary amenities in a classic turn-of-the-century, barrel-front limestone building. Filtered through the trees, natural light dances on dark hardwood floors in open living and dining space, with convenient in-unit washer/dryer and a bonus nook perfect for an at-home office. The updated kitchen displays white cabinets, subway tile backsplash, Caesarstone countertops and stainless appliances, plus a breakfast bar for casual dining. Full bath features wide-format tiled shower/tub and a charming farmhouse vanity. Spacious primary bedroom boasts tin ceilings and crown molding, and proceeds to the secondary bedroom with exposed brick wall. See floor plan and full details here.

153-Lafayette-Avenue-01 All images of 153 Lafayette Avenue via Corcoran
From the Listing: Unit 4 at 153 Lafayette Ave is a full-floor apartment with gorgeous light flooding in on both sides. The open kitchen floor plan pairs seamlessly with the large alcoved living and dining area that spans the full width of the building. The classic exposed brick and hardwood floors throughout the entire apartment adds so much warmth and character. The kitchen has been updated and the bathroom is beautifully renovated with a deep soaking spa tub and tasteful fixtures. The large primary bedroom has plenty of room for additional furniture while the second bed is perfect for a nursery, home office. There's plenty of closets and custom built-ins throughout the apartment. See floor plan and full details here.

405-3rd-Street-01 All images of 405 3rd Street via Garfield Realty Corp.
From the Listing: Occupying the entire second floor of a boutique 4-unit brownstone on premier 3rd Street in the heart of Park Slope, this renovated two-bedroom home is kissed with natural sunlight and brimming with charm. You are welcomed through the living room featuring a functional wood-burning fireplace, exposed brick, custom built-in bookshelves and a wall of windows overlooking the front garden on this expansive tree-lined block. The cheerful open kitchen boasts ample cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, a built-in microwave and dishwasher, sleek stone countertops, a beautiful tile backsplash, deep farmhouse sink and breakfast bar. Relish home-cooked meals in the adjacent spacious dining area or on your own outdoor roof-deck against the backdrop of magnificent Manhattan vistas. See floor plan and full details here.

368-West-23rd-Street-01 All images of 368 West 23rd Street via Compass
From the Listing: Loft-like two-bedroom, one-bath corner unit with north and west exposures and nearly 10' ceilings! Just one flight up, this apartment features an in-unit washer / dryer, hardwood floors throughout, a wood-burning fireplace, triple-pane soundproof windows in every room, through the wall A/C, and a 68-square-foot balcony perfectly proportioned for entertaining and enjoying dinner with friends as the sun sets. The bedrooms are well proportioned with over-sized closets. See floor plan and full details here.

749-Union-Street-01 All images of 749 Union Street via Corcoran
From the Listing: A perfect blend of old and new, this home features original baseboards and door and window moldings from the 1920s, as well as modern touches such as the thoughtfully placed recessed lighting, and sculptural light fixtures found throughout. Nine-foot-high ceilings are accentuated by a beautiful, south facing bay window and large skylight in the living room, drenching the space with light. The adjacent exposed brick wall adds to the character of this apartment, while the working, wood burning fireplace with a traditional mantle and brick hearth adds a cozy ambiance. The galley kitchen features stainless steel appliances, including a dishwasher and crisp white cabinets, and a large walk-in pantry, conveniently located off the kitchen, ensures you have a place for everything. See floor plan and full details here.

417-Grand-Street-01 All images of Seward Park via Brown Harris Stevens
From the Listing: Thoughtful and imaginative gut renovation by award-winning local architect. Open living/dining with 5 windows. All new two tone modern kitchen with integrated pulls and Superwhitequartzite countertops/backsplash. Appliances include a five burner Bertazoni gas range, Bosch ultraquiet dishwasher, Liebherr refrigerator with icemaker and an LG washer/dryer. All stone bathrooms - marble and basalt stones - with deep soaking tub in hall bath, and frameless glass walk in shower in primary bedroom. Wide plank (7") white oak floors and solid core white oak doors with recessed solid oak frames unite the space throughout for added warmth. See floor plan and full details here.

483-12th-Street-01 All images of 483 12th Street via Corcoran
From the Listing: Penthouse perfection on 12th Street! 4L is a sweet floor-through perched atop a small self-managed pre-war co-op building. What makes this home so special is its lovely roof terrace just one flight up. This top-floor 2 bedroom floorplan is very flexible; with its living room complete with sunny bay window and decorative fireplace, formal dining, and a gorgeous fully renovated sky-lit kitchen and white windowed bathroom complete with claw foot tub and towel warmer. Common laundry, bike area, and designated storage are all located in the cheery cellar of the building. See floor plan and full details here.

92-Prospect-Park-West-01 All images of 92 Prospect Park West via Corcoran
From the Listing: This sun-splashed corner 2-bedroom garden-floor home awaits the modern city dweller. This special pet-friendly property, intimate and European in feel, features the proportion of a pre-war co-op complete with the creature comforts of a modern home. The oversized living / dining room is gracious in proportion. The renovated galley kitchen is both sweet and efficient. The two bedrooms are large and comfortable in size with ample closets and storage. The newly renovated windowed spa bath is perfectly located; close to both bedrooms and the main living space. See floor plan and full details here.

299-Pearl-Street-01 All images of Southbridge Towers via Compass
From the Listing: Welcome home to residence 6B, a warm and inviting top-floor, two bedroom home located in the Financial District's coveted Southbridge Towers Complex. Enjoy a nice warm cup of coffee and watch the sunrise on your private, oversized, and covered balcony with eastern views of the Brooklyn Bridge and East River. With ultra low maintenance of $785/month, which includes all utilities, there is true value to be had unlike anywhere else in Manhattan. The updated, dual entry kitchen features stainless steel appliances, including a dishwasher, as well as a built-in breakfast bar, great cabinet and storage space, and separate dining alcove. Both king-sized bedrooms are down a long entry foyer, providing for separation and privacy. See floor plan and full details here.

100-West-94th-Street-01 All images of Columbus Park Tower via Klara Madlin
From the Listing: Beautifully renovated sunny two-bedroom apartment with balcony facing east and south with fabulous views. Kitchen with window facing west with open views. Amenities include common garden, exercise room, playroom, room for meetings, TV, card games, etc., and second floor laundry room. Garage (waiting list), bike room, storage rooms.24 hour doorman, live-in super. Low Maintenance. Most convenient location for public transportation. Whole Foods, Trader Joe's close by and Central Park a block away. See floor plan and full details here.

49-Columbia-Place-01 All images of 49 Columbia Place via Corcoran
From the Listing: This Brooklyn Heights home exudes leafy tree-top views and is sun-drenched with lovely natural light from Northeast and southwest exposures. Windows are complete with deep windowsills for all your treasures and a working wood-burning fireplace is a focal piece for cozy dining. Ceilings are architecturally crowned with original dark-wood beams and there are 5" wide herringbone, solid-oak floors throughout. Current, up-to-date, and tasteful light fixtures matched with matte black hardware accent the new buildout. Living space, dining space, and entertainment area are integrated with convenient custom built-in bookshelves. Entertaining is a dream with this brand-new custom kitchen outfitted with gorgeous Carrera Marble countertops, backsplash, and waterfall center island, perfectly paired with white custom cabinets, convenient storage pantry, and top-of-the-line stainless steel appliances: Liebherr refrigerator, Bosch oven and range, dishwasher and microwave. See floor plan and full details here.

55-Seventh-Avenue-01 All images of 55 Seventh Avenue via Douglas Elliman
From the Listing: As you enter this gorgeous, oversized, and airy apartment, in front of you is an elegant carved marble fireplace and 12' ceilings with original moldings that give the room a feeling of grandeur. Beautiful light pours in from a giant stained-glass window. The period details blend seamlessly with the modern renovations offering the owner a comfortable and well-designed home. The space is divided into well-defined areas with a spacious sitting room, a dining room, and an office. The newly renovated modern kitchen has clean lines with white cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and beautiful quartzite countertops. Through an oversized arch, you enter a hallway leading to a serene bathroom with a jacuzzi tub, a washer and dryer closet, and two bedrooms. Tall bay windows overlook the quiet gardens and your own private terrace. See floor plan and full details here.

341-Sixth-Street-01 All images of 341 Sixth Street via Compass
From the Listing: Truly rare artist's loft in Park Slope. Complete, recent gut renovation with soaring 15'ceilings with original tin finishes, The private entrance is on the ground floor with a private patio. The interior offers two bedrooms, 1.5 baths, three sleeping lofts with great storage spaces. Interior doors are seven feet high. The hardwood floors and interior doors are highlighted by a contemporary reveal detail. See floor plan and full details here.

648-2nd-Street-01 All images of 648 2nd Street via Douglas Elliman
From the Listing: Eight windows allow you to gaze east over Prospect Park or west towards the city. Directly above the park side gardens of the Ethical Culture Society to the North, your peaked and beamed living room boasts an open concept kitchen further brightened by its own skylight! Gorgeous hardwood floors and the original 1906 mirrored tiger oak mantel with wood-burning fireplace will delight your guests. Your entry foyer is generous enough to use as a dining area or office or you might add an elegant stairway to a future private roofdeck. Kitchen features Fisher Paysel, Samsung and other popular appliances, with cherry cabinets and granite countertops. Bath has earth toned custom tiles and a spacious tub. See floor plan and full details here.

2235-Frederick-Douglass-Boulevard-01 All images of Harriet Tubman Gardens via Compass
From the Listing: Splendid light-filled corner apartment located in the heart of Harlem! This home encompasses three comfortably sized bedrooms with two remodeled full bathrooms. Leading into the apartment is a captivating entryway with ample closets which includes a washer/dryer. The separate and spacious master bedroom with en suite marble and tile bathroom has a large walk in closet, dressing area and south facing window which brings in an abundance of light. Two additional bedrooms share a bathroom which makes this the quintessential apartment. The light and airy living room has windows facing west and the renovated kitchen with stainless steel appliances has south facing windows with a double entrance. See floor plan and full details here.

307-West-82nd-Street-01 All images of 307 West 82nd Street via Compass
From the Listing: Apartment 4B is one-of-a-kind triple mint apartment with a great layout for entertaining. The first floor boasts an 18'x17' living room, anchored by a working fireplace surrounded by tasteful custom built-ins. There is a dining area which can also be converted to a study or nursery should you need it, leaving plenty of space for living and dining in the main room. The semi-open kitchen offers copious counter and cabinet space and has a breakfast bar into the living room. The sturdy and modern staircase leads you to the second bedroom upstairs offering generous closet space, including a walk in. Off of the upper level is 400-square-foot rooftop terrace. There is Brazilian hardwood decking, privacy fencing, electricity and irrigation outlets. Other notable features include: central a/c, blonde hardwood floors throughout that make the apartment feel bright and airy, high ceilings with recessed lighting, generous amount of custom-fitted closets and a washer/dryer in unit. See floor plan and full details here.

381-1st-Street-01 All images of 381 1st Street via Douglas Elliman
From the Listing: Occupying the third level of a handsome, impeccably maintained 1920 brownstone, the home affords gracious living with stunning interiors. Enriching the ambience are tasteful elements exuding warmth and character such as high airy ceilings, original wood moldings, hardwood flooring, original cast-iron radiators, an original tin ceiling, and tall windows inviting in generous natural light. Upon entry, you are greeted by a huge, open living and dining area that is perfect for entertaining. In the living room, three south-facing windows with original moldings fill the living space with natural light. Off the living area is a bedroom that could also be used as a home office or nursery. The $690 monthly maintenance includes real estate taxes, building insurance, water and gas. See floor plan and full details here.

357-Sixth-Avenue-01 All images of 357 Sixth Avenue via Compass
From the Listing: This beautifully renovated convertible three (or four) bedroom Park Slope cooperative is a serene top-floor haven boasting magnificent light, architectural detail and updates throughout. Tall ceilings, hardwood floors, original window shutters and refined millwork make a wonderful first impression in this expansive and sunny home. Western light and treetop views provide a delightful backdrop in the spacious living/dining area while a wood-burning fireplace adds a warm focal point. Chefs will love the skylit open kitchen featuring white stone countertops, subway tile backsplashes and top-notch stainless steel appliances. The owner of this delightful sanctuary has enhanced this home even further with automatic shades, a water filtration system, custom California closets and attractive light fixtures throughout. See floor plan and full details here.

385-Clinton-Street-01 All images of 385 Clinton Street via Brown Harris Stevens
From the Listing: Wider than most apartments in the neighborhood, Apt. 4L is a bright, fully renovated three-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath unit with extraordinary detail and features. The windowed kitchen incorporates chic gray custom cabinetry, beautiful counters with breakfast bar seating and a suite of high-end appliances, including a Liebherr refrigerator, Wolf range, Bosch dishwasher and a built-in microwave. A large front facing living room connects to your formal dining room and has built-ins, hardwood floors with original detailed wood and marble fireplace mantel. The hardwood floors extend through the long hallway which leads to three bedrooms with tons of closet space and a washer/dryer. This is an incredible opportunity to move right into a gorgeous, fully renovated three bedroom coop with no underlying mortgage and a maintenance fee of only $550 a month including real estate taxes! See floor plan and full details here.

400-3rd-Street-01 All images of 400 3rd Street via Brown Harris Stevens
From the Listing: This three-bedroom beauty resides in the heart of Park Slope on 3rd Street. Nestled on the top floor of a prewar walkup, this sun filled apartment has everything needed for gracious living. The high ceilinged living room dining room combination separated by stunning open fretwork is perfect for entertaining. A wall of custom built-ins and a wood burning fireplace make this suite of rooms the heart of the home. A generous sized, windowed kitchen with high end appliances and breakfast bar is just beyond. The bedrooms and two baths flow toward the rear of the apartment creating tranquil private spaces. . See floor plan and full details here.

705-Driggs-Avenue-01 All images of 705 Driggs Avenue via Berkshire Hathaway
From the Listing: Unit 14 features original “Ribbon-N-Bows” tin ceilings, solid wood interior doors, Dieter Rams designer door handle and lockset, custom built cabinets and shelving throughout, Arne Jacobsen for Vola bathroom faucet and accessories, oversized soaking tub, and approximately 1,975 square feet of living space including loft, washer, and dryer in the unit. Some of the many benefits of this coop are its pet-friendly policy, low maintenance fees, flexibly sublet policies, video/voice intercom security system, freight elevator, basement storage, bike storage, and on-site parking. See floor plan and full details here.

30-East-62nd-Street-01 All images of Cumberland House via Corcoran
"From the Listing: Recently renovated, impeccably maintained, approximately 1,700-square-foot home faces west over Madison Avenue with lovely afternoon light. The west and north-facing primary suite is spacious and private, occupying its own wing of the apartment with a luxurious marble bath with double sinks, oversized stall shower, and two custom-built walk-in closets. At over 24' long, the west-facing living room/dining room faces west over Madison Avenue, as does an adjoining breakfast area, which also faces south. The open kitchen is equipped with a Sub-Zero refrigerator, Bertazzoni range and oven, and Miele dishwasher. A bedroom off the kitchen with custom built-in storage, large home office with en suite bath, and additional full bath complete this lovely home. Maintenance includes internet, cable and partial electricity. See floor plan and full details here.

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Contributing Writer Cait Etherington Cait Etherington has over twenty years of experience working as a journalist and communications consultant. Her articles and reviews have been published in newspapers and magazines across the United States and internationally. An experienced financial writer, Cait is committed to exposing the human side of stories about contemporary business, banking and workplace relations. She also enjoys writing about trends, lifestyles and real estate in New York City where she lives with her family in a cozy apartment on the twentieth floor of a Manhattan high rise.