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Condos vs Coops

What are the differences between condos and coops?

This is one of the most common questions we get asked.  So here are the main differences between condos and coops.


Condos are normally priced much higher than coops.  If you are looking for the more affordable of the two, then coops are about half the price.  There are two reasons for this.

1. Condos are more expensive because they come with less restrictions, such as not requiring only the owner to occupy the unit.  

2.  There are usually at least twice as many coops on the market than condos at any given time.

Maintenance vs Common Charges

The monthly fee associated with coops is called the maintenance. For a coop this normally includes the cost of heat, property taxes, hot water and repairs to what is behind the walls of your apartment.  The maintenance on a coop is generally higher because it includes more expenses.

The monthly fee associated with a condo can be called common charges or Home Owners Association Fees (HOA Fees).  They are usually less than a coop because not as much is included.  This means most condos get their own property tax bill, they have to pay their heating cost separate and should most things break down the homeowner is responsible, not the condo association.

Note: Each coop and condo is unique!  These are "general rules," so when planning to buy a condo or coop you have to get the specifics for the one you plan to buy.

Ownership: Deed vs Shares

Ownership is also different between condos and coops.

In a condo, you own the actual property, so you get a deed with your name on it.

For a coop, you actually own shares of a corporation and the corporation owns the entire coop.  You still get to occupy your own apartment, and for all purposes, it is completely private and only you have access to your living space.  However the way a coop is set up, is that you and every other person that owns a coop actually owns shares that pertain to the coop.  Meaning that you are technically sharing ownership of the coop with everyone else that owns an apartment in the coop. 

Since ownership is shared, so is the responsibilities of taking care of the entire building.  This means that in a coop, if your neighbor doesn't want to pay his monthly maintenance charges this becomes everyone's problem.  Remember the coop gets one property tax bill for the entire building so all coop owners are responsible for paying that bill.  

The Application Process

Because everyone is responsible for everyone else's expenses in a coop, coops tend to be a little more selective as far as who they allow to buy into ownership. Some condos have no application process or a very easy application process.

Normally an application is submitted to the property manager who reviews it and then hands it to the coop board member who then interview the potential buyer and approve or deny the sale.

Most condos have an application process but it is usually not as difficult to get approval to purchase.

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