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What is a Co-op Property?

When looking to buy a property that’s a part of a larger building, you might often see the term “co-op property.” While co-ops are similar to condos in some regards, there are a few distinct differences between the two.

You Can’t Technically Own a Co-op

“Co-op” is short for cooperative, which basically brings the concept of teamwork to homeownership. When you buy a co-op, you aren’t technically buying the property itself. Instead, you purchase shares in the corporation that owns the property and the bigger the co-op home, the more shares that you own.

The number of shares that you own doesn’t mean that you have more deciding power over other co-op owners in the building. However, the number of shares that you do own will affect the maintenance fees, your taxes, and some other financial aspects. Each co-op owner typically has roughly the same influence on the maintenance and direction that the company takes and the residents will vote on every decision that affects the property.

Additionally, some residents can have a seat on the board and will work to carry out the group’s decisions.

Where Are Co-ops?

You can find co-op properties largely on the east coast of the U.S. in the big cities like New York and Washington, DC. There aren’t many in Maryland or Virginia. According to a New York Times report, 75% of Manhattan’s housing is comprised of co-op properties, many of which carry the Trump name or other prominent brands.

Advantages of Co-ops

If you want to live at a specific address overlooking a landmark in New York City or Philadelphia for instance, you won’t have much choice in the type of housing you’ll have. Typically, properties in these areas are almost entirely co-ops. Also, living in a co-op property means that most of your neighbors are friendly and will pay their bills on time because of the strict application process which goes far in ensuring the building is properly maintained.

Co-ops are usually more “bang for your buck” than condos in that you receive more space for less money since many people are scared off by the ownership structure.