What is the difference between a condominium and a co-op? 1024 683 Matthew Cooney

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

Condos and co-ops are 2 types of home ownership that differ from a traditional single-family structure.  Both offer advantages and disadvantages.   Some of the advantages include lower cost for lot development, less outlay for construction per unit and savings on maintenance and heating.  One of the reasons there has been an increase in these types of ownership structures is because of changing population groups including single homeowners, single parent families and senior citizens.  Often condos and co-ops have amenities such as swimming pools, exercise rooms and tennis courts.

The type of physical structure gives no indication of the type of ownership.  Condos and co-ops can be townhouses, garden apartments, high-rises etc.  Rather, it is the ownership structure that determines the difference between the two.

Condominium – When someone buys a condo they receive a deed which conveys fee simple ownership of their living unit.  The purchaser of a condo owns everything from the sheet rock and paint on the walls inward.  They also receive a proportionate undivided interest in the common elements.  The common elements can include the lobby of a high-rise, the basement of a townhouse, the private road leading into a garden style apartment complex.  In a condo, the owners may sell their property, give it to family member or leave it to an heir.  The owners of a condo are bound by the bylaws of a homeowner’s association.  To keep up maintenance and pay for insurance, a monthly fee is charged to the owners.  The bylaws set up covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) which the residents must abide by.  An example of this could include the color that a door can be painted or what can be planted outside of the house.  A condo is usually managed by an elected board of members.  Larger condo complexes often have a professional company managing the complex.

Cooperative – A co-op differs from a condo arrangement in that the title to the land and the building is held by a corporation.  Each person that buys into a co-op receives stock in the corporation and has a proprietary lease.  This allows the person to occupy the unit.  Co-ops also have bylaws which usually require that the tenants (shareholders) are approved by a board made up of the other shareholders.  One disadvantage of a co-op is that if members of the coop are unable to pay their assessments, the entire unit could be sold.  Typically, there are reserve funds set up for emergency repairs or payments.  Another disadvantage to a co-op is that many do not permit rentals of the apartments.

For more information, or if you need a referral for a knowledgeable Realtor© in your area, contact:

Matthew Cooney
Sales Associate
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
211 South Street
Morristown, NJ 07960


(C) 973-832-5932
(O) 973-267-8990 x153
(F) 862-345-3273


Matthew Cooney Homes