Townhouses, Coops, and Condos - The Benefits and Disadvantages of Each Home

Oct 12 08:45 2010 Lou Cardillo Print This Article

Until a few years ago, the perfect dream home that everyone aspired to live in was a single family house with a yard and a little privacy. Things have changed and townhomes, condos, and coops provide too many benefits to overlook. I believe that they have become a more popular option here in Mahopac, NY and in the rest of Putnam and Westchester County because they usually cost less than a single family home.

Until a few years ago,Guest Posting the perfect dream home that everyone aspired to live in was a single family house with a yard and a little privacy.

Things have changed and townhomes, condos, and coops provide too many benefits to overlook. I believe that they have become a more popular option here in Mahopac, NY and in the rest of Putnam and Westchester County because they usually cost less than a single family home. People here often complain that for a family buying a home for the first time, single family homes are just too expensive, hence, the move to these other options.

First let's talk about how these three types of homes, also known as attached homes, differ from owning a single family home. Later on, we will discuss the differences between the three, themselves.

As we already mentioned, condos, townhouses, and coops have one huge benefit over single family homes in that they are more affordable. The purchase price is always lower than a comparable size single family and even when you factor in taxes and monthly maintenance fees you still come out paying less per month in total for an attached home compared to a detached single family home. So, per square foot you definitely get a bigger bang for your buck in an attached home.

A second major advantage is the maintenance. For people who work all the time and are rarely home and also for the elderly who cannot physically maintain their property; condos, coops and townhomes are the perfect option. You usually have to pay an association fee that covers the maintenance of the exterior of the structure and grounds and common areas but most people gladly pay it so they don't have to worry about the extra chore.

Townhouses, condos and coops also usually provide amenities like tennis courts, swimming pools, gyms, etc. These are all considered common grounds and as a resident you can enjoy these perks all for just a small monthly fee. In a single family home where you own usually just one of these amenities, the cost is obviously much higher.

Another benefit of all three of these options is that these houses are typically safer than a single family home because there are neighbors around. As there are always people around, it generally is very difficult for a thief to enter the house without anyone noticing him. You never want to think about these things but with attached homes comes an inherent built-in neighborhood watch.

There are two major disadvantages to living in an attached home that come to mind right away. One that I always hear is that people can hear their neighbors and that they have to be careful not to be too loud. In the same category is that you are restricted to the types of pets you can have, if any. It is tricky to tell a barking dog to quiet down because you have neighbors, for example.

Second, are restrictions put on you as to what you can do to the home, itself. If you would like to change the look of the outside in any way you will need the approval of the board. The association can even paint the exterior of your home without consulting with you first.

Now, let's look at the differences between the three. A townhouse, also known in some areas as a row home, is a multiple story home attached to other homes on one or both sides sharing at least one wall. The term townhouse refers to the structure of the building whereas the terms condo and coop (condominium and cooperative) refer to the type of ownership and control over the property. A townhouse can also be considered a condo depending on the way the papers were drawn up.

A townhouse with condominiums ownership means that you own the structure and everything within it. You do not own your lawn or anything around your house, however. When your condo is in a large building with many units, you own everything inside the exterior walls.

When you live in a coop, you do not actually own the home as in condo ownership. You own stock in the corporation that owns the building and in return you have control of everything within the exterior walls. Coops are usually the least expensive to buy but you pay a much larger monthly association fee which just about evens the cost of the three options out. The funny thing about coops is that you have to be interviewed by the board before being allowed to purchase the home. They cannot legally discriminate against anyone but they can legally deny you and not give you a reason as to why. Since they usually meet only once a month, this can be a frustrating process. Keep this in mind when you are trying to sell because the number of buyers interested in your home will be a lot less and the selling process will take a lot longer than any of the other types of ownership.

I am not an attorney and this description was written off the top of my head as I have come to understand it. Of course, consult with an attorney before purchasing any home for a much more specific explanation. The most important thing to take away is that condo is a method of ownership and a townhouse is the type of structure. In a coop, another form of ownership, you own stock in a company.

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Lou  Cardillo
Lou Cardillo

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