Browse Category: Life

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

See related

If You Need Real Housekeeping Assist

I’ve a confession to make: I saw Dance Moms on Lifetime this weekend. It’s my preferred vice (and also for the record, however, I do not watch Honey Boo Boo Child.) While I was seeing, a promo for a new Lifetime series, Devious Maids, came on.

I checked out an early preview of episode one through On Demand — I mean it stars the queen of exactly what most grandmothers used to call “my stories” (aka soap operas), who is also my own grandmother’s favorite: Susan Lucci, alongside the brilliant Judy Reyes, otherwise called Carla from Scrubs. (And her character’s name is Zoila, that must be a tribute to my favorite TV housekeeper, Zoila Chavez of Flipping Outside). How can I resist?

For those of you that are enticed, the series premieres Sunday, June 23. Sudsy TV customs aside, it made me think about hiring a professional to help round the home.

Do you employ someone to assist you with your housework? Which are your favorite activities to get assistance with? What are you willing to cover, and what budget item would you exchange to have the ability to manage it?

Are you a professional housecleaner? If yes, what are some great guidelines for a successful working relationship?

While I only dream of having cleaning assistance in my finances, my mom has had the lovely Gayle come and assist her out for a couple hours each week for many decades, and I have heard a lot from seeing their great relationship.

Here are a couple of suggestions about how to find some assistance with your housekeeping needs. Please augment these tips.

This poster resembles a Robert Palmer video matches Dexter. I would expect nothing less from Lifetime. But I digress — on to this information portion of the ideabook.

Molly Brandenburg

How to Hire a Cleaning Pro

In case you are feeling overwhelmed by your cleaning jobs and want to employ someone to help, here are some tips.

Get references. Start by assessing around with friends who have housekeepers they could not live without. Also, ask other professionals that you trust to do work around your house if they can recommend anyone.

Create a list of jobs you need help with. Discuss them during the interview to understand how many hours a week they will take. It could take a couple of weeks to determine whether or not the estimate is achievable. Ensure the interviewee allows you to understand which activities he or she is and isn’t keen to perform.

Talk pay. Ask how much money is likely per hour ahead. You might require a trial or two to figure out how much could be achieved in the allotted time.

HAVEN Natural Home Care

Haven Clean House Starter Kit – $84

The Ideal Way to Communicate

Talk supplies.
Request what you are expected to provide or if the expert is going to be providing anything: vacuumcleaner, rags, window cleaner etc..

Make your tastes clear. If you would rather go earth friendly, then make this apparent. Many cities have ecofriendly housecleaning services. If you like things done a certain manner, be specific.

Leave the housekeeper a notice each week. Prioritize what you need done in the time allotted, from most to least important, in case there’s not enough time for each and every endeavor. Before you get to that, begin off the notice with how much you really appreciated the way sparkling clean the home was the former week. In the close of the notice, make sure you ask if the individual has any questions, if there are any problems and if there are any supplies you are running low on.

Tracy Murdock Allied ASID

Know that injuries happen. Would you have favorite plates on display, a breakable heirloom or some priceless coil pot your child made that you would be devastated to lose? While it would be wonderful to have shelves like these dusted for you, maybe you ought to do yourself. Let your housekeeper understand about any keep-away zones.

Parkyn Design

Have a plan for your pets during cleaning period. If vacuum cleaner terrify your furry friend or Fido loves to attempt to escape when anyone opens the door, ensure that your pet is in a room that will not be washed, a crate (if your furry friend is cool with that) or even a fenced yard when your house is being washed. Your housekeeper is helping you clean up your beloved pets’ shedding and paw prints; having the monsters leap on or nip at him or her isn’t a part of the deal.

Roomba 650 Floor Cleaner – $399.99

If the characters on Devious Maids intimidate you, then you don’t have a budget for housekeeping or you would just rather keep your house clean youself, below are some helpful alternatives.
Think about moving high-tech; see Where Is My Robot Housekeeper?Keep jobs from overwhelming you; see Can-Do Cleaning Strategies for Busy PeopleCommunicate with your spouse; see Why We Can Work It Out: Living (and Cleaning) TogetherGet the kiddos involved; seeClean Routine: Housework Plans the Entire Family Can ShareMore: Read the Housekeeping section on for additional approaches.

See related

What's Your New Year's Resolution for Your House?

January 1 provides us with a proverbial blank slate, but it frequently brings an accompanying sense of dread. It is time for New Year’s resolutions, but instead of dealing with yet another diet or costly gym membership, deliver your resolutions home this year. Committing to enhancing your home (and we’re not only talking about decluttering) could dramatically improve your quality of life.

We would like to know: What New Year’s resolutions are you making for your property?

Molly Brandenburg

Maybe you only need to appreciate your home more and feel genuinely happy in it. That could mean eventually picking a new color for your living room.

Molly Brandenburg

Is peace of mind high in your list? Something as straightforward as getting a fresh key rack to keep your house keys in the exact same spot could cut down on stress. Or perhaps you would like to be sure to have a safer house this past year. Installing fresh smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and updating your disaster kit may be great ways to begin.

Finances are often a big area of overhaul in a brand new year — how are you going to make yours work for your property? For many, it will mean using rebates; for others it will mean turning the water heater a top notch and taking ecofriendly considerations into consideration.

Molly Brandenburg

Of course, there is the nonresolution route too. Selecting not to do something can be as effective as doing something. Maybe it’s deciding not to spend some more money on your own living space, or creating a conscious decision to not worry about the little things, and allowing the home get somewhat messy during the week. It might only be a matter of sitting back, relaxing and trimming your house (and yourself!) Just a slack.

Which are your house resolutions for next year? Share them in the Remarks section below — your thought may wind up in a featured ideabook.

See related