|First-Time Buyer Specialists|
Insider Condo & Townhome Tips
Condos, co-ops and townhomes offer big benefits to first-time buyers.
Homeownership can be a great investment that also gives people a sense of stability and control. Yet, many first-time buyers don't have the time, interest or budget to handle a home with a yard. Condominiums, co-operatives and townhomes are three options available to newbie home buyers seeking an alternative to single-family dwellings.
The "lock and leave" lifestyle is especially attractive to working singles and child-free couples. That may explain why so many builders have invested in condo, co-op and townhome projects.
Today, these types of properties are more affordable than ever, especially considering today's interest rates, which remain near historical lows.
In condos, owners typically only own the inside of their unit. (Although many condos are constructed as multi-unit buildings, some condo developments are actually single-family homes, duplexes or quad structures) Condo association fees usually cover all exterior maintenance of the units and common grounds, as well as some services, perhaps even some utilities. The owners of units vote through the condo-owners association to make decisions about the complex.
In a co-op, on the other hand, the "homeowners" do not actually own their units. Rather, they are stockholders in the "co-operative housing project"-- a corporation that owns the building that houses all the individual units. A panel or board of directors usually makes decisions about the co-op building as a whole.
In townhomes, owners typically own their entire unit, inside and out, perhaps including a small yard. Homeowner association fees pay for common-area maintenance, and may cover such items as trash-pickup, snow removal, even maintenance of driveways and/or fences, depending on the association. Decisions about the community are governed by the homeowners association, through which owners of each unit have a vote. (Also, "town houses" or "row houses," "patio homes," "garden homes.")
There are plenty of other differences between condos, co-ops and townhomes, such as how tax benefits and expenses pass to the owners. If you are considering buying one of these types of properties as your first home, be sure to:
Questions To Ask
Here are some issues you should get the answers to before you buy:
Call us for information if you are considering the purchase of a townhome, condo or co-op. We'll be happy to help ask the right questions and track down all the answers you're looking for.