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Condos or Co-ops?

Buying property can be a very complicated thing in various aspects. Before purchasing, it is necessary to know which type of property suits your needs most. Co-ops and condos are two very similar properties. What are the differences between co-ops and condos? Which one is better?


Co-op is the short name for cooperative building or cooperative housing, which is commonly seen in big cities with high living costs such as New York. People who buy a co-op does not actually buy the ownership of this unit, but buy the share of the whole building instead. Each resident is a shareholder of the resident board and is entitled with rights to sell his/her share. But the sale price is decided by the co-op board. If the board is not satisfied with the price, the transaction request may be denied. Also rentals and subleases are not allowed in most co-ops.

A condo is also a unit in a multi-unit building. Different from co-ops, purchasing a condo means you have the full ownership of the piece of property you bought. Homeowner Association(HOA) is the organization established to supervise and making certain choices, deciding the sale price is not one of them. Therefore, the owners can decide by themselves to whom they sell the property and at which price they sell.

Homeowners Insurance

Since the condo owners the actual property and its attaching rights, the homeowner’s insurance for them will cover both the personal belongings inside and structure items of the property, such as the walls, ceiling, and the floors.

For co-op buyers, however, the homeowner’s insurance is the policy they need to buy additionally to protect their personal possessions or minimize the accidental damage they caused to others. The co-op board takes charge of the structural and public areas and purchases insurance as a group, which does not cover the contents inside the unit.

Property Management

What comes with the ownership are the responsibilities and trivial but necessary management of the property, such as repairs, maintenance and security. Both co-op board and condo HOA gather monthly maintenance fees from residents. Fees paid to the HOA are commonly used for common areas, while people living in the co-ops are reasonably exempted from all the troubles. The board will hire some professional employees to handle with these daily chores. This makes co-ops a good choice for people like busy workers and old men.

Decision Rights

The co-op board can be very strict when deciding who can join the co-operative. Personal interview, financial document scrutiny, and recommendation letter are commonly required when one wants to be a shareholder. Through the process the board gets the accessibility to the applicant’s assets and liabilities, tax record, bank credit and past experience. It is actually conducive to the shareholders’ overall benefits because they get the chance to choose their neighbors, which can reduce some hidden risks.


Co-ops and condos are different types of multiple-unit properties. Condo buyers can have the property ownership, while the title of co-ops are held by the corporation, and buyers can obtain corresponding share of the building. The co-op board provides broader management and exert stricter rules concerning about the shareholders’ benefits. Even though condos are more expensive than co-ops for various reasons, it does not mean that co-ops are better for everyone. What satisfies your needs is the best.