Coop Vs Condo Properties: The Major Differences

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Condominiums (condos) and housing cooperatives (co-ops) are two popular ways of buying a place to live. However, many people don't understand the marked differences between the two. Below are some differences between condos and co-ops.


The biggest difference between condos and co-ops is ownership. Property ownership gives you the legal right to live in a condo or co-op unit. When you buy a condo, you get ownership rights to a dwelling unit's interior. The condo association owns the exterior and other common areas.

On the other hand, you do not own a co-op unit; rather, you buy a co-op's shares. The purchase gives you the right to occupy a specific space within the co-op's premises. Each co-op member owns a share of the whole property and not a specific unit within the development.


The best way to compare condo and co-op costs is to consider all aspects contributing to their overall purchase prices. Below are some of a few major aspects.

Purchase Price

Buying prices for condos and co-ops depend on multiple factors, but co-ops are typically cheaper than condos. The difference reflects that a co-op purchase doesn't entitle you to real estate ownership.

Down Payment

While co-op prices are relatively lower than condo prices, the former attracts higher down payments than the latter. The exact percentages differ by region.

Closing Costs 

Closing costs are the fees, other than the down payment, which you pay to conclude a property purchase. Examples include insurance costs, mortgage fees, and inspection fees. Co-ops usually attract lower closing costs than condos.

You cannot outright predict whether or not a condo or co-op is cheap. A real estate agent can help you compare properties in your neighborhood within your budget. Of course, you should also consider other factors beyond costs.

Monthly Fees

Both condos and co-ops require monthly fees. Co-ops usually have a single payment that incorporates all their monthly expenses, whereas condo fees are usually separate items. For example, a condo fee includes association fees, taxes, and utility fees. You handle each bill separately in a condo.


Co-op financing is typically more complicated than condo financing. For example, many lenders have complicated requirements for co-ops, and some do not even offer co-op loans. The main reason for the complications is the ownership format. For a condo, the lender knows that you have a real estate unit they can repossess in case of a default; the same isn't true for a co-op.

For more information, contact a residential real estate service near you.