Condos VS Co-ops. What’s the diff?

Condos have been a popular and necessary alternative to single family residences for many years and for many different reasons. They are home ownership without the hassle of taking care of the exterior maintenance of the home. In exchange for having someone else responsible for cleaning gutters, mowing grass and siding repairs, homeowners pay a monthly fee. This fee can vary wildly depending on property location/costs and amenities offered.

Condos are a great choice for first time homeowners and retirees due to their generally lower purchase costs and less upkeep.

Condo owners own everything from the walls inward. One owns their own unit, including heating source(s), hotwater tanks, etc. condo owners also own a fractional ownership of common areas.

Co-ops are a uniquely different proposition. They are mostly found in urban areas, however, there are some in suburban or small-town areas. They are somewhat common in Seattle and very common in NYC. Often, they are older apartment buildings that have been converted. Often also, they do not have separate systems. It is not uncommon to see a single boiler heating all units in a large building.

The biggest difference between a co-op and a condo is the “ownership”. A co-op is a corporate entity, and the owner owns shares of that corporation. The corporation then leases the individual unit to that owner for their sole use. Due to this legal structure, attorneys are most often handling escrow when a co-op changes hands and there is no title insurance.

If you have specific questions about co-ops or other real estate matters, please feel free to reach out to me. If I don’t have the answers, I can likely point you in the right direction.


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