Browse Month: October 2019

Which Mortgage Is Ideal for Me?

Based on RealtyTrac, 1.65 million housing units in the United States obtained a foreclosure filing–a default option, bank or auction repossession notice–in the first half of 2010. California led the nation in the number of foreclosure filings with 340,740. Regardless of the grim statistics, people are still buying homes. If you’re one of these, mortgage options abound, albeit with tighter restrictions than prior to the home crash.

Loan Apps

Three main mortgage programs exist in the United States–conventional, VA and FHA loans. Conventional loans are tagged as conforming should they fall under price limits set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and non-conforming or unsecured loans should they transcend these area-specific numbers. According to, conventional loans work best if you’ve got excellent credit and enough cash for a deposit of more than 5%. VA and FHA loans are government applications. Both are financed through participating creditors, but guaranteed by the federal government. If you default on the loan, the government repays your creditor. To qualify for a VA loan, which is sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs, you have to establish U.S. military veteran or active duty status. VA loan holders usually fund 100 percent of the home’s purchase price. The Federal Housing Administration backs FHA loan, which require a 3.5 percent deposit as of July 2010, and have significantly more lenient credit requirements than conventional products.

Kinds of Loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your interest rate stays the same throughout the life span of this loan. Sheyna Steiner of notes that 30-year fixed-rate loans are very popular because they provide the lowest monthly payment. But 10-, 15- and 20-year loans are available. Interest rates on adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) alter yearly. Some ARMs, known as hybrids, combine the qualities of fixed-rate and flexible loans. Beneath an interest-only loan, you pay interest but not the main balance for the first few years of the loan. This gives you a rock-bottom monthly payment until the interest-only term expires.

Mortgage Insurance

Typically, if you’ve got less than 20 percent for a down payment, your lender requires mortgage insurance, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The insurance is a guarantee for the loan in the event of default. VA loans do not require mortgage insurance, but a personal mortgage insurance premium is built into all FHA loans. You may also confront an up-front insurance charge up to 3% on an FHA mortgage, according to Bankrate.


Credit requirements for all loans finally are up to the creditor, even if you have qualified for a government program, such as FHA. The home crisis motivated lots of lenders to tighten their standards. On a conventional loan, you may qualify using a credit score as low as 620, according to the Bankrate report, however if your score is less than 740, expect your creditor to tack on a plethora of fees. An FHA loan may be more suitable if you’ve got spotty charge; for example, traditionally FHA creditors accept applicants using debt-to-income ratios which exceed the accepted standard of 25 percent. You may qualify for an FHA loan even if debt takes up around 40 percent of your pay.

Pro Insight

Jeff Brown, a personal finance blogger on PBS'”Nightly Business Report” website, claims that a fixed-rate mortgage is easily the best deal. Though the 15-year option lowers the interest you will pay on the loan, it requires significantly greater monthly payments. Each $1,000 Located on a 15-year loan at 4.77 percent translates to $779 per month versus $562 on a 30-year loan. As far as ARMs are concerned, Brown says they look great when interest rates are reduced, but moving into a fixed-rate loan with a high speed at the outset may pay off in the future if and when rates climb.

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Who Is Eligible for an FHA Loan?

FHA loans are loans originated by private mortgage lenders and insured by the Federal Housing Administration against default by the borrower. The loans benefit the creditors and the borrowers because the lender is assuming no danger and the borrower receives lower rates of interest. The cost of the house, the borrower's credit score, and earnings are variables in FHA loan eligibility.

Price Ceilings

The FHA loan program started in 1934 to help make home ownership accessible to more Americans. Since its inception, the FHA has had ceilings on the amount of the loan it would insure. In recent decades, the agency took into account regional differences in home costs and set the ceilings for single-family and attached houses on a market-by-market foundation. Since this shift, more people have been able to get FHA insured loans, broadening the capability of people to own houses. The cost ceiling in the Bay area is $729,750 for a single-family house. The FHA must individually accept connected projects before buyers can access the FHA loan program. All remote houses and single-family homes are qualified for the FHA program.

Credit History and Down Payment

All lenders look at credit history and often use this as the benchmark for lending money to house buyers. However, with an FHA loan, buyers have more latitude with their credit ratings. Obviously, the FHA will not guarantee a loan when a borrower has a gloomy credit rating, but the agency will insure loans for people whose credit scores are below 580 by requiring a deposit of 10 percent or higher. Home buyers with credit ratings over that need to put down only 3.5 percent on the house, less than the 5% or greater that conventional loans require. A number of those FHA's programs even have down payment assistance for first-time buyers.

First-Time Buyer Programs

Even though the federal government removed down payment assistance programs out of sellers, it’s still possible to use monetary contributions from family members that will offer a specific amount of money for a deposit. The definition of a first-time buyer is one who hasn’t owned a house for three decades. Grant program requirements vary from state to state.

Approved Attached Housing

Home buyers looking for an attached house will probably be restricted to choosing from properties that are approved. The Department of Housing and Urban Development requires that 80 percent of those units inside a condominium project be owner occupied. The developers or owners of these buildings need to apply for acceptance before FHA will insure loans for components in the project.

Refinancing with FHA Loans

Present-day homeowners may use the FHA to refinance their houses as long as the loan worth doesn’t exceed the FHA caps for their kind of land. Since the rates of interest on an FHA loan are usually lower than market prices, people who’d love to refinance their houses can do so with FHA loans only if they reside in the house. The FHA will not refinance a house not occupied by the homeowner.

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How to Read a Property Survey Map

Learning to read a property survey map isn’t only for surveyors. Land survey maps are used to quantify everything from the boundaries of states to the real size of your neighbor's plot. Taking into consideration the value and importance we place on land and its ownership, there are advantages to understanding the fundamentals of how it is measured and represented on a map. The Public Land Survey System (PLSS) has its origins in the ancient surveys carried out in the 1700s in North America. The PLSS system is based on a main meridian (an imaginary north-south line) and a baseline (an imaginary east-west line) from which other survey lines have been projected, creating a grid system of squares. To begin with, a square of 24 miles by 24 miles is split into 16 squares of 6 miles on each side, also known as townships. Townships are finally broken up into 1-mile squares, which would be the smallest formal subdivision of the PLSS system. Of course, map users can split and quantify areas smaller than this working from the PLSS system.

Assess what sort of property survey map you’re taking a look at. There are lots of kinds that change based on the purpose for which they have been attracted. There are inconsistencies among the forms, so be certain you’re working with the ideal kind of map. As an example, using a transport map (large maps that can cover an entire state) is of little use if you’re trying to assess the magnitude of a town. Instead, use a border survey map, which establishes the sizes and boundaries of property lines in a place, and provides considerably more detail.

Look at the scale of the property survey map. It's usually found at one of the corners. Scale is the ratio of distances on a map to the corresponding values in the world, according to By way of example, a map using a scale of 1:10,000 (1-to-10,000) informs you that each inch (centimeter or meter) on the map corresponds to 10,000 inches (centimeters or meters) at the location in the world. You can quantify any section of the map using a ruler and understand what it signifies on the floor.

Look at the map#039;s legend, which is a listing of the symbols used on the map and what they mean. Not all maps carry a legend, however, it is possible to find lists of property survey symbols at several official institutions such as the Bureau of Land Management. Symbols can represent rivers and lakes or bridges and phone lines. Boundaries for counties and states are reflected on the map with various kinds of lines.

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The Way to Write Home Mortgage Interest Away of Taxes

The U.S. federal government, through its Internal Revenue Service, is supportive of home ownership and encourages it through various tax incentives. One of these incentives is the privilege to subtract any interest paid to your lender for a home mortgage. Home mortgages are usually. They're typically expensive enough that the yearly mortgage interest could mean a savings of tens of thousands of dollars on your income tax return. You must itemize the deduction on your tax return, rather than take the income tax deduction to take advantage of the savings.

Gather your own documentation. Your mortgage lender will send you a document called Form 1098: Home Mortgage Interest. By legislation, the record must hit you. It summarizes the dollar amount of the interest you paid during the previous calendar year on your loan. A duplicate form is sent to the IRS. If you cannot find your copy of Form 1098, ask your lender to get a replacement, or look in the January statement for your mortgage ; it will list the quantity of interest paid.

Fill in Line 10 on IRS Form 1040 Schedule A with the amount recorded on your Form 1098 because the mortgage interest . Be sure that the quantity you enter as the IRS will assess your amount with the amount is just like the one on Form 1098. The only variance you are permitted is rounding any cents up or down to the nearest dollar, based on standard rounding clinic; 1 to 49 cents could be rounded down, while 50 to 99 cents could be piled up.

Check the remainder of your estate and loan documentation to find out whether you have any similar deductions to claim. You might have a home equity loan or home equity line of credit if you have owned the house for many decades. The IRS permits you to deduct any interest you pay on these types of loans, also using Form 1040 Schedule A. Similarly, you are permitted to deduct your property taxes on Schedule A, in addition to any points that you paid to the lender for obtaining the home mortgage in the first place.

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Real Estate Short Sale Tips

A brief sale can spare you from the foreclosure procedure if you can no longer manage your mortgage obligations. In a short sale, you sell your property to get less money than you owe on your loan, and the creditor forgives the equilibrium. This procedure eliminates the need for foreclosure, the legal route a creditor uses to take back ownership of property once the mortgage obligations are no longer being made in full and on time.

Prove Necessity

You have to be ready to verify that the brief sale is necessary. Approaching a creditor about a brief sale without documentation can lead to delays and a refusal of approval for the sale. Lenders typically have forms that you fill out when seeking permission for a short sale. The lending institution will need documentation of your earnings, other invoices, bank statements and previous year tax returns. You will have to sign up a hardship affidavit, which is a record that explains why you can no longer manage the loan payment.

Legal Aid

You can be subject to money judgments and taxes even after the brief sale is completed and the creditor has forgiven the rest of the mortgage loan. Lenders are allowed to obtain judgments against you in court for the amount of the mortgage loan which wasn’t paid off at the brief sale. These are generally referred to as lack decisions. Nevertheless, you can negotiate with the creditor to insert a clause at the brief sale arrangement which prevents the creditor from pursuing a deficiency judgment. You should think about enlisting the support of a property attorney to ease the brief sale agreement records.

Tax Liability

The IRS treats money spilled on a loan which has been secured by a piece of property, such as property, as earnings in the year that the balance was forgiven. As a consequence, you can be subject to taxes on the amount of the mortgage which wasn’t retrieved by the lender at the brief sale. A property attorney or tax professional can help you determine what tax obligations may arise from a brief sale.

Find a Buyer

In a short sale, you have to find a buyer for the property. Ordinarily, you’ll have to employ a real estate agent to show the home, as would happen in a traditional home sale. You can also list the home and manage the showings yourself without the support of a real estate agent, but this can prove to be difficult, given the time constraints. Lenders can impose a time limitation on a brief sale, and if your home is not sold by that time, the permission for the sale can be revoked.

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6 Suggestions for Harmonious Hardscaping

A lot people have necessary but oh-so-problematic hardscaping transversing our outdoor spaces, hardscaping that stops the eye and keeps us from attaining that constant, tranquil flow that we desire for our own gardens. Some of you may have given up, creating pockets of annuals, ground covers and dull shrubbery sandwiched between sidewalks, driveways and front porches. Deep down, though, you know that you want something better, more cohesive and more amazing. Let us see how to accomplish it.

Perello Building Corporation

The issue of integrating hardscaping into the landscape was solved by employing symmetrical equilibrium, like through using allées. However beautiful these tree-lined avenues can be, though, most people no longer live so officially, nor do we possess the acreage to accomplish this look. So what do we do?

Designing Nature Inc..

Use conventional principles in fresh and exciting ways. This backyard is a perfect example of an updated formal design, with plants which are very much in tune with the current aesthetic. Notice the proper lines and equilibrium of this garden, but also observe the more informal plantings.

This front garden captures the character and repeat of this allée however in an updated manner that is within the realm of possibility for many.

The designer has used the idea of asymmetrical balance; one garden bed is larger than the other but is weighted to seem equivalent. The rock column imitates the lamppost, bringing continuity to the distance. Notice the way the caladiums (Caladium sp, zones 9 to 10) are more prominent in the more compact bed on the right. Acting as a fulcrum, they balance the beds, which makes them visually pleasing. A carpet of ground cover at the foreground of each bed brings that extra dose of calming continuity.

If you are not confident in your ability to lay out bed lines that appear to flow effortlessly across your hardscape, look at employing the use of a garden hose. Stretch it throughout your walkway and generate a serpentine or curved line which makes sense to you personally when seen from other angles. It’s a lot easier to alter the nozzle compared to redig your bed lines.

Denise Dering Design

Achieve balance through rhythm and repetition. This beautiful garden evokes pictures of Victorian England. Notice the way the salvias (Salvia nemorosa ‘May Night’, zones 5 to 9) are implanted in measured periods. As a result, the designer has attained rhythm. The roses offer that calming thread of continuity.

More gorgeous looks for a narrow planting strip

The Design Build Company

In the prior photo we can see only one side of the hardscape. Here we see rhythm switching between either side of the hardscape. Notice how both the boulders and the landscape light equilibrium this stairway from side to side, pulling the eye up to the very best in a pleasing manner. Having a cute dog as a focal point never hurt, either.

The restrained use of boulders can be an effective tool in achieving continuity from one side of the hardscape to the other. Just take care not to overdo it.


Permit plants to overflow on the hardscape. The right use of this technique will soften the edges of the hardscape and deliver continuity from one side to the other.

Notice the reproduction achieved in this backyard through the use of decorative grasses, hydrangeas and spreading perennials. Some planning and maintenance are required to assure that the plants never pose a danger to the customer or seem overgrown.

Jay Sifford Garden Design

Similarly, boulders can seep the walkway slightly to create continuity from side to side. Do this to avoid a tripping hazard.

Blue Stone Woodworks

Integrate plants right into the hardscape. This designer has adopted and softened the hardscape by introducing a ground cover right into the joints of their sidewalk. Notice how the appropriate use of this unexpected technique pulls the eye toward the house and creates an oasis in the midst of the walkway. Creeping and wooly thyme (Thymus cvs, zones 4 to 9) are especially suited for this purpose.

More plants for your pathways

Jay Sifford Garden Design

Expand your horizons. Sometimes the eye stays too focused on the hardscape and needs help to see the big image. The designer of this garden utilized bluestone planks of diverse lengths and widths, placed opposite each other and also a dull cement sidewalk, to pull on the eye outward so that it can have the entire space. The use of similar colours and textures makes this procedure effective.

Portal Design Inc

Boldly adopt your hardscape. At times a bolder strategy is the best strategy. Here the designer has adopted using hardscaping by creating and wrapping planter boxes at the hardscape. The effective use of plant material can help to soften and balance this front lawn. If this strategy is overly austere for you, consider softening the edges of the planters with a creeping and cascading ground cover.

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November Checklist for a Smooth-Running Home

As the weather changes and daylight hours in November, home activities naturally center around the inside — preparing for the big Thanksgiving meal, welcoming guests and battening down the hatches for the winter. As you count your blessings this Thanksgiving, consider lending a helping hand to people in need by putting charitable giving on your to-do list.

Tackle these 13 home maintenance chores this month to keep your house secure, beautiful and working nicely for you.

Thompson Custom Homes

Deep wash the kitchen. With Thanksgiving coming up later this month, now is a great time to give your kitchen a comprehensive cleaning prior to the mad cooking rush starts. Run your oven’s self-cleaning cycle, pull your refrigerator away from the wall and vacuum the coils in the back, and get on a stepladder to wash your range hood and cabinet tops.

Donate into a food bank. While cleansing your pantry, set aside unexpired foods you know you won’t use to bring to the community food bank. And when you’re doing your Thanksgiving shopping, consider picking up a bagful of extra holiday dinner supplies to contribute as well — that time of year can be especially difficult for families in need.

Inspire Your Space

Check entertaining supplies and restock as needed. If you are hosting for Thanksgiving or another big fete this season, consider your menu beforehand and check to make certain that you have all the cooking gear, cookware and table-setting supplies you will need. It’s far better to know now if you don’t have a turkey baster or enough baking sheets.


Add entryway storage. If clutter is becoming out of hands, beef up your mudroom and entryway with bins and baskets big enough to handle the piles of scarves, mittens and outerwear which will definitely collect near the door.

Use a humidifier if necessary. Together with the warmth going and the windows closed, the air indoors can get dry at the time of year. Dry air can lead to everything from static power to more regular or worsened colds — including a humidifier is a simple way to help prevent these.

Baran Studio Architecture

Replace flooring protectors. Chairs scraping your floors? Assess their toes: If they don’t already have sensed floor-protecting pads or when the pads are coming off, pick up a new set. Felt shield pads come in either stick-on or nail-in versions — the stick-on variety is simpler to employ; just make sure that you wash the bottoms of chair toes thoroughly to be certain the pads stick.

How to make your own great glides for sofas and chairs

CM Glover

Scrub and Clean woodwork. Maintain hardwood floors looking their best by cleaning them and then applying a wood-floor polish. In case you have wooden banisters, moldings or trim, polish them annually to bring out their glow.

Thompson Custom Homes

Prepare guest rooms. Get ready for holiday guests beforehand, and you can avoid that last-minute frantic prep. Spending a night in your guest area is a great way to try it out and also be sure that you have everything available a guest may want. Create a note to get niggling tasks (take duvets into the cleaners, buy extra towels) done sooner rather than later.

The way to become a great host for overnight guests

Martha O’Hara Interiors

Assess the sump pump. If you have a sump pump in your basement to aid in the event of flood, today (prior to winter storms) is a fantastic time to be certain it’s in working order.

Close vents in unused rooms. Conserve energy by closing up heating vents in rooms that you seldom use, like the guest room or basement. Just remember to reopen the vents in case you do have a guest.

Lands End Development – Designers & Builders

Inspect paths, stairs and railings. If you discover any loose or wobbly railings, or cracked paths, fix them before winter sets in. Ice, snow and irregular footing are a dangerous mix.

Have trees trimmed. Late autumn, when branches are more observable, is a fantastic time to have large trees pruned. Trimming branches can prevent breakage in winter storms afterwards.

Do a last leaf removal. Once the leaves have fallen, do a last clearing of rain gutters and downspouts. Also be sure to clear off heaps of leaves which have accumulated on the roof and in drainage areas throughout your property — otherwise they may lead to water to pool, which can cause damage.

Inform us : What is on your house care listing this November?

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When Mother Nature Meets with Your Modern Nature

Much like cooking, mixing interior designs can create new and interesting flavors. Look at mixing contemporary detailing with cottage style. The result is a hot, clean layout which allows occupants to center on the interior architecture and the exterior views.

Mixing two aesthetics which seem counterintuitive can bring about a fresh appearance. The important thing is highlighting the best attributes from the styles in a manner that blends naturally. Listed below are a couple of important details that create this unexpected aesthetic.

WA Design Architects

Live border slab table. Furniture choice plays a big role in the modern cottage mix. A slab of a fallen tree with its border left natural places the tone perfectly. Warm and rustic, this table is also contemporary because of its easy form.

Robert Hawkins

Modern lighting. Contemplate modern lighting choices contrary to the warmth of wood. Glass, pewter and iron are all excellent contrasting materials.

Whitten Architects

Highlight floor-to-ceiling viewpoints. The glory of a cottage is the surrounding landscape. Highlight towering pines with a modern-style floor-to-ceiling window. Look at a contemporary window free of mullions and casings, and allow the pines include the rustic half of this equation.

DxDempsey Architecture

Stair railroad with attitude. Insert modern components of steel, iron or steel cable onto a stair rail. Cabins frequently have double-height great rooms with a focal stair rail. Utilize this chance to combine in some contemporary detailing.

Uptic Studios

Duplicate horizontal lines. A flat orientation of substances will translate contemporary or transitional. Horizontal lines featured within rustic components such as concrete or wood siding is an eye contrast comparison.

On Site Management, Inc..

Textured neutrals. Consider all the texture from rustic wood particulars in cabinets, beams and floors. Now layer that look with neutral finishes such as concrete countertops and several shades of grey for an ideal modern cottage mix.

Studio William Hefner

Full-height fireplace. There’s nothing like a hot fire in a cottage on a snowy night — much better a fire at a mountain thunderstorm. Insert contemporary drama with a full-height fireplace. Modern and rustic material choices for a fireplace could be copper, natural rock or stainless steel.

Coburn Development

Lighten up. Yes, wood beams and siding can be lightened up. Create a clean and contemporary aesthetic with a lighter, monochromatic palette. Take whitewashing or a mild stain on beams and siding with pale walls.


Proceed without window treatments. Let the outside in by bypassing the drapes. Highlight straight, contemporary lines of wood casings on windows instead of softening them with window treatments.

Charles Cunniffe Architects Aspen

Go light on pattern. A contemporary aesthetic really is defined more by what is made out of what is additional. Go light. Contemplate solids or a simple stripe to comparison the rustic lushness of the environment.

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Architectural Sunscreens Get the Heat Away Homes

Go ahead and say it out loud: brise-soleil(bree so-LAY). Sounds nice, does not it? Maybe you just received a modest impressed head nod from the coworker or some curious look from you cat. It rolls off the tongue and translates from the French as “sun block” Commonly defined as a permanent architectural element, it has the double benefit of mitigating the harsh sunlight and warmth whilst concurrently providing visual interest to some facade.

Major credit for all these sun-blocking constructions extends to architect Le Corbusier, together with his use of outside grid-like concrete fittings in the 1950s to keep the interiors of buildings cooler in warm climates, such as with his Chandigarh project in India.

Nowadays we see contemporary versions of those sunshades (usually lighter and often rendered in thin metal or wood slats) on homes throughout many areas.

Steve Domoney Architecture

Think about a brise-soleil as dividers on the outside of a House. It does the exact same heavy lifting of blocking out unwanted heat gain as inside blinds or drapes. Yet since the place is on the outside, it blocks the warmth from the sun’s rays before they hit the glass and then enter the inside area, keeping your home cooler.

Nick Noyes Architecture

Have a look at the shadows from the structure over the doors and window onto the side of the home, visual evidence that displays can block out intense sunlight.

To maximize the effectiveness of fixed louvers, pair up with a local architect to assess the specific location of your dwelling, including the climate zone and latitude where the project sits.

Architect AIBC, Randy Bens

Horizontal fixtures work well on southern facades, while vertical fixtures mitigate sunlight more effectively on east and west facades — because of the sun’s angle in the sky throughout the day.

The screen can also be an independent statement, as revealed here, standing proud of their glass windows. The facade can be blended in by it.

Stelle Lomont Rouhani Architects

Simply take the sunscreen’s material . Here material and the color of the slats match the rest of the architecture.

At night the screen adds privacy to an otherwise full-height glass wall.

Chioco Design

The brise-soleil in front of the window is integrated with the general facade, as it’s all constructed of the same material. In this case the entire wood screen is slightly detached from the present home and strengthens the original form.

KUBE architecture

When a screen is significantly detached from the architecture, it defines a semiprivate exterior room adjacent to the home. The number of slats decreases with the structure’s height here, providing another layer of interest.

The Brick House

This brise-soleil defines a very simple exterior space that is located between the domain of sunlight and shadows.

aamodt / plumb architects

The attractiveness of sunlight is the fact that it is dynamic — always moving and changing our surroundings. A sunscreen can act as a permanent piece of artwork that exerts and exerts this movement. An elaborate custom made metallic screen like this creates altering patterns since the afternoon progresses.

Mills Gorman Architects

These playful shadows offer a calm environment and a unique veil of privacy on the inside.

Sagatov Design-Build

A very simple wood slat mounted to the exterior creates a sophisticated interior here, while always working to cut out solar heat gain before it hits the glass.

Hufft Projects

These displays are on paths, producing interactive architectural items that conceal or show the glass facade, depending on the homeowner’s taste.

Contemplate these many variants of this contemporary brise-soleilthe next time you want to protect your home from solar heat gain or gain privacy.

Tell us are you prepared to live at the zone of filtered darkness and light?

More: See Light Play in 14 Homes From Paris to Texas

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Condo, Co-op, Townhouse, TIC — What's the Difference?

When we think of purchasing a home, the first thing comes to mind for many is a detached, single-family home (complete with grassy lawn and dog). However, for many, especially those looking to purchase within a metropolitan area, a condo, a townhouse or an apartment could be a more likely scenario.

But what is the difference between a condo and a townhouse, anyhow? And what about home co-ops, which are so common in New York, or TICs, which you will probably come across in San Francisco?

The type of home you select can impact the kinds of modifications you can (or can’t) make to your home, the amount of rules and limitations you must comply with, and the total amount of money you will need to pay in monthly charges. Here is the way to keep these terms straight so you may understand the sort of home you are thinking about purchasing without wading through heaps of legalese.

Drew McGukin Interiors @drewmcgukin


Everything you have: Condo owners do not have the land or the exterior of the building, just the interior of the unit itself. Because only the inside of the unit is owned, you can potentially share walls with neighbors above, below and on either side — but there are also freestanding condos. Any stairways, entrances, gardens and shared areas outside the apparatus are owned jointly by all unit owners.

CM Glover

Fees and principles: If you own a condo, you pay a monthly fee to a homeowner’s association for maintenance of the property. As you do not have the building, you might not pick paint colors for or make adjustments to the exterior or common areas, but you are free to do anything you would like to customize the inside of your home.

Brooklyn Limestone


Everything you have: When you purchase a townhouse, you have the structure itself and the land it’s on. Contrary to a condo, a townhouse has its own roof and might have a garage and private yard, which you have. As you have the property, you’d never have downstairs or upstairs neighbors at a townhouse, though you might have neighbors on each side.

Chr DAUER Architects

Fees and rules: Just as with a condo, if you have a townhouse, you must pay a monthly fee to the homeowner’s association, which extends toward maintenance costs of the property. Unlike with a condo, it is possible to make adjustments to the exterior and yard of your townhouse in addition to the inside. However, the homeowner’s association may have rules you are required to follow concerning exterior paint colors, landscaping and more — make certain to ask about this in advance of purchasing if that is significant to you.



Everything you have: In a home co-op, you are actually purchasing stock in a privately held company — the company owns the building, and your share buys you the right to rent an apartment out of the company where you are a part owner. Contrary to condos, townhouses or TICs (described next), a co-op is actually considered private property instead of real property.


Fees and principles: The co-op board vets all possible new member owners, and boards are notoriously picky — you will have to submit a great deal of information and sit through a meeting. After in (if you are selected), you will be asked to obey all the board’s principles, which may consist of anything from paint colors to noise — and the rules might change at any moment. You must also pay monthly charges to the co-op board.

Regan Baker Design Inc..

Tenancy in Common (TIC)

Everything you have: Especially common in San Francisco and other areas that prohibit turning apartments into condos or co-ops, a Tenancy in Common (TIC) allows you to have a percentage within an undivided property. For instance, you could purchase 50% of a two-unit construction. Then you and another part owner draw a Tenancy in Common agreement, which outlines exactly how you will split the space — in this example, it may document you will occupy the upstairs unit and share the garden.

Regan Baker Design Inc..

Fees and principles: Unlike with condos, townhouses and co-ops, there’s absolutely no board or homeowner’s association to cover monthly. However, every TIC is unique in the way the part owners opt to share costs and responsibilities. You will have to come to an agreement about painting and making adjustments to the exterior and shared areas, though you probably have more flexibility to change things within your own space.

Inform us : What would you dislike or love about your condo, townhouse or TIC?

More: Get ideas from creative apartments and townhouses

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