What's a Co-Op?

Posted in: All Videos, What is..., Glossary
By ExpertRealEstateTips
Jan 15, 2008 - 7:46:53 PM

Not everyone is cut out to live in a single family home. If that’s the case, you might be interested in a condominium, townhouse or another form of ownership called a co-op.

I’m Ilyce Glink and welcome back to expertrealestatetips.net.

A co-op is similar to a condo but instead of owning the airspace between the walls, you own shares in a corporation. The shares give you the right to lease your unit from the corporation.

The big difference between condos and co-ops and that the co-op board decides who can buy into the corporation. Members vote, and often their own personal biases affect those votes. Co-ops cannot discriminate based on sex, religion, or marital status. But they can decide not to let you in because they don’t like the way you dress.

It’s like kindergarten, all over again.

In addition to having to vote you in, co-ops often require a higher cash down payment — in some cases it’s 30 to 50 percent. Some co-ops do not allow mortgages, although in recent years, these rules seem to have been relaxed in some situations.

And one really important point: with a co-op, your real estate taxes are typically included in the monthly maintenance fee you pay, since the building pays a single real estate tax bill.

Most co-ops in the U.S. are located in New York or Chicago, with a few located in San Francisco. I used to live in a co-op, most of which were built in the 1920s. They tend to be hard to sell, because there are so few of them.

I’m Ilyce Glink. For more information on buying or selling a home visit my Web site, expertrealestatetips.net.