Condo vs. Coop

Difference between condo and a co-op

A condo and a co-op are terms used to describe bungalow style houses but they are different from the usual types of homes. When you buy a detached house, you are the actual owner of the home and you bear the cost and responsibility of the upkeep and maintenance of the home and the property. For those who do not have the time for mowing the lawn and keeping the property clean and tidy, it may be a better option to look at buying a condo or a co-op.

What is a condo?

Condo is the shortened form of condominium and it means that you own a specific portion of a large piece of property. It is usually an apartment style home in a large building with common facilities such as the entrance, stairs, elevators and perhaps a fitness area that includes a gym and swimming pool. In some countries condos are called flats when they are rented units.

There is no difference in the look of a condo or a co-op. The difference lies in the type of ownership. If you purchase a condo, you own only the covered area of the structure. The legal document that you sign as part of the purchase agreement defines the area that you own and the common areas are owned by all the condo owners in the building. All owners are responsible for maintaining these common areas, but by paying a set amount of condo fees each month, personnel are hired to take care of these chores. You can sell the condo at any time but not the common areas.

What is a co-op?

In a co-op or a cooperative you do have a dwelling within a larger structure but rather than owning this dwelling you are a shareholder in the cooperative. You do have the right to live in this home as defined under the conditions of the lease. There are rules and regulations regarding the activities of those living in the cooperative and every dwelling has a copy of this document. A committee elected by those living in the co-ops manages the income that is collected from the rent paid every month. This money is used for the upkeep and maintenance of the property. In this way a cooperative is a non-profit organization.

Differences between a condo and a co-op

There is no difference in the daily activities between that of those who live in a co-op, a condo or a detached home. The main difference is in the ownership. You can own a condo, but you rent a co-op. A person who lives in a co-op is a shareholder in the organization and does not own the real estate. There are common areas in both types of dwellings, but in a condominium all the owners are owners of the common areas as well. This is not so in a cooperative as the organization owns the common areas.

A condo is an example of real property, but a co-op is not. A condominium owner has to pay property taxes, but those who live in co-ops do not have this added expense. The monthly fees for a co-op, though, are higher than those of a condo.