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Condo Trends: Condo Living A Little Different Than Co-op

Written by M. Anthony Carr on Tuesday, 26 February 2008 6:00 pm

When you mention the word "condo" most buyers have a vision in their mind's eye of what that looks and feels like. It's a dwelling in an apartment-type building where the purchaser owns the walls in the unit, as well as the personal property within it and pays taxes on that bit of ownership.

Another type of ownership in a multi-family dwelling unit is a cooperative housing project, or co-ops. Mostly located in large metropolitan areas, the owners of a co-op like the fact that they are part of a larger group of ownership, instead of owning the individual units themselves.

As far as ownership, the condo owner has a title to the individual unit, much like the title in a house. With a cooperative, the owner is actually purchasing into a share of a corporation. The corporation owns the whole project of which the unit dwellers take possession of one of the units.

The monthly assessment is like a condo as well, but usually a condo fee pays only for maintenance, such as pool upkeep, garbage removal, water and some utilities. In many co-ops, not only does your monthly fee pay for the same type services, it may also include replacement of appliances and systems. If the refrigerator, air conditioner or other major appliance goes out, you would simply put in for a new one without having to buy it yourself.

Property taxes in a condominium are the responsibility of the individual owner. A co-op owner pays for taxes each month through the fee, but it's paid by the corporation.

Keep in mind that your financing for a condo is not the same type of financing as for a co-op. usually, a co-op has special financing with an established lender to help facilitate the resale process.

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