Condos vs Co-ops, What’s The Difference?

If you’re in the market for a new home, you’ve probably come across both condominiums and co-operatives (co-ops) in your search. While these two types of ownership may seem similar at first glance, there are some key differences you should be aware of before making a decision.

What is a Condominium?

A condominium (or condo) is a type of housing where individuals own their own units within a larger building or complex. Condo owners are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of their own units, but they also have access to shared amenities like gyms, pools, and common areas.

One of the advantages of owning a condo is that you have more control over your living space than you would in a rental. You can paint the walls, renovate the kitchen, or hang pictures without needing permission from a landlord. However, owning a condo also means you’re responsible for repairs and maintenance, which can become costly.

What is a Co-operative?

A co-operative (or co-op) is a type of housing where individuals own shares in a corporation that owns the building or complex. Instead of owning their own units, co-op residents own a portion of the entire building. Co-op residents pay monthly fees that cover expenses like maintenance, repairs, and utilities.

One of the biggest advantages of owning a co-op is that you have more affordable housing options in expensive cities like New York or San Francisco. Co-ops are typically less expensive than condos or single-family homes. However, owning a co-op also means you have less control over your living space than you would in a condo. You may need to get approval from the co-op board before making any changes to your unit.

Visually, condos and co-ops can look very similar from the outside, but the legal and financial structures are quite different.


At a glance, condos seem to have cheaper monthly payments than co-ops. However, co-op payments are usually more inclusive, while covering some expenses like utilities, building maintenance, property taxes & other costs that don’t get rolled into a condo’s monthly payment. & with a co-op, you might be asked to contribute to the overall upkeep of a property, including maintaining common spaces or property updates.

Co-ops are better suited for short-term dwellers. Condos may better fit those seeking housing that’s long term. Because a condo is a real estate investment, each monthly payment you make helps you build equity over time.

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It’s common for condo dwellers to be managed by a condo association. Much like a homeowners association(HOA), a condo association sets and maintains community guidelines, but at the end of the day, condo dwellers own their unit, which affords them the freedoms of a traditional homeowner, like the ability to renovate.

On the other hand, co-op residents pay for the right to live in the building. Because co-ops are owned collectively, any changes a resident hopes to make must be approved by the shareholders. Most co-ops hire a management company or assemble a board of shareholders to make decisions and oversee daily operations, including collecting fees and managing common areas.


If you’re looking for a community with alot to do, a condo is probably a better fit. Condos tend to offer residents a wide array of amenities. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Pool access
  • Rooftop deck or lounge area
  • Gym
  • Recreational sports areas and courts
  • Event space

This doesn’t mean co-ops don’t bring anything to the table. Many co-ops provide common areas for residents – game rooms and lounge areas are the most common. And with a co-op, you’ll have some peace of mind knowing your fellow residents are similarly invested in preserving and maintaining the building & communal areas.

It’s also common for condos & co-ops to have front desk service & third-party security to keep residents safe.

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