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What Are The Differences Between a Co-op and a Condo?

Here in Long Island many people have the option of either purchasing a condominium or getting involved with a co-op. When you’re trying to decide how you’re going to spend your real estate money it’s vital for you to know the difference between the two.

Each type of property comes with its own expenses and pitfalls. And each type requires a different kind of due diligence to protect your interests.


When you buy a condo you’re purchasing the unit you live in, just like you’d purchase a stand-alone home. When you buy the unit you receive a deed.

The county will also assesses property taxes on each individual unit. You will receive your own annual property tax bill, again, just as if you lived in a stand-alone home.

Condos are usually more expensive than co-ops on the front end. But the monthly fees, called “common fees,” in condos, are lower. Those fees go to the upkeep of the building itself.

If the building needs repairs you could be charged an assessment. Fees can also go up to cover increased costs.

Finally, the building will have rules you’ll have to adhere to.

See also: 4 Things to Know About Your HOA in New York.


When you purchase a co-op you’re getting a share of a corporation. The corporation owns the building, and as a shareholder you get the use and enjoyment of a unit.

Instead of a deed, you get a stock certificate. You also get a lease for the unit, with the corporation as the landlord.

But you don’t pay rent. You do pay a maintenance fee. Maintenance fees are usually higher than condo fees, because they’re covering a lot more. The corporation almost always carries a mortgage on the building. It also has to pay property taxes. Instead of paying individual property taxes, you simply pay a share of it. The maintenance fee also includes expenses for building upkeep.

Assessments can still happen. And your maintenance fee can increase over time.

And because you’re working with other shareholders, you cannot move into a co-op without permission from the co-op board. The board, too, will set rules for the whole building which you’ll have to abide by.

Due Diligence

Co-ops represent more of a risk. Due diligence when buying a co-op will include checking on the financial health of the corporation. If it’s in trouble, you could lose both your money and your home. You might even end up responsible for a share of the co-op’s mortgage without having a dwelling to show for it.

Your Long Island real estate lawyer should check the terms of the co-op’s mortgage to make sure there are no balloon payments which could skyrocket your maintenance fee later. It’s also worth investigating whether the co-op owns the land it’s sitting on, as at times that land is leased.

Checking for current issues the co-op may be facing is another thing which may help you make a decision about whether getting involved with it is really the right choice.

This is in addition to all the other due diligence measures you should be taking with your lawyer’s help, like getting a building inspection and ensuring the title is clean.

See also: What Are The Most Common Property Disputes During a Purchase?

Never Do It Alone

As you can see, investing in either type of dwelling is a big undertaking with a lot to consider. There are many pitfalls, and many risks.

See also: 5 Ways Working with an Attorney Could Make Your Property Transaction Easier.

So don’t do it alone. Call the Law Office of Sami Perez to get an experienced real estate lawyer on your side.