FAQs: What is a condominium? What is a co-op?

What is a condominium?

A condominium, often called a “condo” for short, can either refer to a building or complex comprised of individually owned apartments or houses, or to a specific real estate component individually owned by a homeowner or investor.  In cases of individual ownership, condominiums usually refer to residential units like apartments, but can also include other owned property such as parking garages, parking spaces or other deeded entities. 

All building or property condo owners are legally entitled to shared access to all common facilities, such as elevators, hallways, heating systems, amenities and exteriors.  The right to utilize common areas is controlled by the condo association, which is comprised of all condo owners and represents their interests.  The condo association is responsible for collecting dues from homeowners and using these funds to cover all of the building’s operations and maintenance activities, including repairs, insurance, reserves, building staff payroll and upkeep of common areas and amenities.

What’s the difference between a condo and an apartment?

While both types of residential units may look the same, the difference between them is ownership.  A condominium is a unit owned by an individual homeowner or investor who is legally entitled to share the use of common areas with all other owners, per the homeowners association.  An apartment building is usually owned by an individual or corporation, with individual apartment units leased to occupants.  apartment tenants may use shared facilities and amenities according to the conditions spelled out in their rental agreement, or lease.

What is a high-rise condominium?

The term “high-rise” refers to a building that vertically rises seven or more stories.  A high-rise condominium is a high-rise building that is governed by a condo association, which manages the building’s operations and maintenance activities.  These activities are funded by collecting dues from condo owners, which are used to cover upkeep and repairs to common areas and amenities, as well as insurance, staff payroll and reserves. As a result, condo owners do not have to perform routine upkeep, maintenance and repairs of common areas, including roofs, equipment, systems, landscaping and grounds.

What are typical high-rise amenities?

High-rise condominium owners can enjoy a wide selection of on-site amenities and services – many of which may not be affordable or accessible in single family homes.  Depending on the building, location and residents’ needs and lifestyles, high-rise amenities may include swimming pools, fitness centers, front desk services, concierge and valet services, social and lifestyle programs, sauna and steam rooms, walking and bike trails, libraries, business centers, card, media and meeting rooms, theaters, wine cellars, clubrooms and many others.

Where are high-rise condominiums typically located?

High-rise buildings commonly are usually located in desirable settings, such as urban or resort areas, often with convenient proximity to business, recreational, entertainment and cultural centers.  Many high-rises also offer scenic skyline, beach or other dramatic views, especially from some of the higher floors.

What does the term co-op mean?

Cooperatives, commonly called co-ops, are owned by a corporation and are not considered real property. That means that when you buy a co-op, you do not own the housing unit; instead, you become a shareholder in the corporation that owns the property and receive a proprietary lease that entitles you to the unit’s exclusive use.

What is the difference between a condominium and a co-op?

Condominiums, or condos, are multi-unit housing properties that consist of individual residences that are privately owned, as well as common areas shared by all homeowners. condos are considered real property, which means that homeowners own the deeds to their units, as well as a portion of the common areas.
Co-operatives, or co-ops are not considered real property. co-ops are owned by a corporation, and co-op buyers own shares in the corporation that entitle them to the exclusive use of their units.  Co-ops tend to have fewer amenities than condos and are often located in older buildings. Most co-op associations require that prospective buyers be approved of a committee comprised of current co-op owners.

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