Condo or Co-op?
Over the past 10 years, the housing market has become much more dynamic than ever before. Instead of choosing between merely a single-family home and an apartment, now you can choose between condos, townhouses, shared living situations, co-ops, and more in many different cities and rural areas across the country. However, with the housing market being what it is, it is very important that you understand the difference between a condominium and co-op. Both have very different rules and regulations when it comes to owning the property and managing it.
If you own a condo, you are the sole owner of that part of the property. Everyone has their own distinct mortgage and a deed. There is a housing association where each condominium owner will have one vote in the proceedings.
Compare this to a co-op unit where the individual owners do not actually have individual mortgages or deeds. Rather, a co-op is more like owning shares of stock in the property. The shares are usually good for 10 to 15 years and can then be renewed at that time. Co-op owners cannot refinance their properties the same way that condominium owners can.
In essence, joining the co-op means a much more communal style of life as people pay their “mortgages” based upon the percentage of square footage of the building that they actually owe. Condominium units are much more cut, dry, and separate.
Whether a condominium or co-op is right for you depends upon your housing needs and wants. Many people join co-ops because they wish to be part of a genuine housing community; those who wish to have more independent living situations will likely be better off buying a condo.