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Question: I’m trying to sell my two-bedroom Manhattan co-op. I hope to get about $900,000 for it. I’ve spoken with a couple of real estate agents who say the $1,800-a-month maintenance is on the high side. Is it? What is considered a reasonable monthly cost?

— Manhattan, but not on Park Avenue

Dear Manhattan:

You hit the proverbial nail on the head with your signature. What’s high on Second Avenue may look like a bargain on Fifth, and what’s fairly standard in Washington Heights can look like pocket change to someone on Central Park West.

The important thing to know is there is no perfect monthly fee. Every building is different, which is why buyers and their lawyers should always scrutinize building financial statements before committing to a deal.

We’ll get to some numbers, but before that, consider some obvious monthly maintenance kickers: Is your building a high-rise? Ka-ching! Twenty-four-hour doormen? Ka-ching! Live-in super? Ka-ching! Pool or health-club? Ka-ching!

All of those add up, but the biggest issues for a co-op building are taxes and mortgage interest. It’s not unusual to see them making up 60 percent or more of the monthly tab. Taxes have risen a lot in New York over the past 15 years, so even the owner of a modest two-bedroom can be paying more than $1,000 a month. (An important difference between co-ops and condos: Property taxes are levied on the whole co-op building and then apportioned to the individual shareholders; condo units are taxed individually.)

I did a quick StreetEasy search of Manhattan for two-bedroom co-ops for sale with monthly fees under $2,000 and you can see there are hundreds on the market.

I found this East Village stunner, on sale for $2.5 million with a monthly maintenance of $1,976; a place near Columbus Circle for $1.8 million and $1,933 maintenance and a low-key $1.1 million spot in Murray Hill and $1,826 a month. A sampler below $1 million: a lovely place on Riverside Drive overlooking the park $995,000/$1,467; a Chelsea walk-up, $950,000/$1,239; a tax-abated two bed/one-bath with a terrace in Central Harlem, $750,000/$1,121.

So how do you think your place stacks up? While hardly a definitive survey, this group suggests that, yes, your maintenance could be on the high side.

You can’t do much about the maintenance, so if you are keen on selling, you will probably have to lower your price. If you don’t want to do that, you can offer a buyer a rebate or you could even prepay the maintenance fee for a year or so. It’s New York. Everything’s negotiable.

David Crook is a veteran journalist and author of The Complete Wall Street Journal Real-Estate Investing and Homeowner’s Guidebooks. Do you have a question about anything real estate-related in NYC? Write him at For verification purposes, please include your name and a phone number; neither will be published. Note: Nothing in this column should be considered professional legal advice. If you have a legal issue, consult an attorney.