Co-op vs. Condominium

Have you ever wondered what the difference was between a co-op and a condominium?

Some people assume there is a difference, but what actually sets them apart? A condominium is classified as real property and is privately owned. Purchasing a co-op is different. You buy into a co-op becoming a shareholder in the corporation that owns the property.

What can I expect from each?

You can kind of think of owning a condo like renting an apartment. You live in a complex that is divided into multiple units, and rather than paying rent, you own your unit. As a condominium owner, you, along with all other residents, collectively own the common spaces. You will pay monthly dues that will go towards the upkeep of these common spaces. Generally, condo’s are managed by one or two people who oversee the daily operations.

In a co-op, residents pay monthly dues to cover common space maintenance costs, similar to a condo. Often, these shared spaces are maintained by the shareholders or members though, keeping costs lower than having an on-site or off-site manager. Since a co-op is a corporation, business and financial decisions are generally made by a board of directors–in most cases with shareholder input and votes.

So, which is better?

Like anything, each may have different benefits or drawbacks, depending on what’s best suited for you. The most important thing if you are considering purchasing either is to do as much research as you can. This way, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into and what may be a better fit. “Housing Cooperatives:A Unique Type of Home Ownership,” by Lisa Smith and Wikipedia, “Housing Cooperative.”