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.
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.
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?
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