Condominiums are the optimal housing option for many families in New York because they provide certain benefits over single-family units that are important to consider. However, many people have misconceptions about what condominiums are and what the living experience is like.
Owning a condominium isn’t the same as owning a single-family home
In condominiums, the building is split among multiple owners. Together, they are jointly responsible for making important maintenance decisions. This is in contrast to the single-family unit in which the property owner exercises sole discretion over these decisions. Certain areas of the condo, such as windows and patios, are considered “common property,” and require mutual decision-making to renovate or modify in any substantial way.
Condo fees go towards important costs
Yes, condo fees can look intimidating, but when you consider the expenses that they cover, the cost-to-benefit ratio makes more sense. Condo fees might cover sewer, garbage collection, water, electricity or even cable. If you’re covering those expenses on your own, chances are that you’ll be paying just as much or possibly more for the same services.
In this respect, it’s also important to understand the differences between condos vs. co-ops. Condo owners solely own their own property and only share certain expenses whereas co-op owners jointly own all the communal property.
Condo fees aren’t fixed
Condo fees rise steadily due to inflation and the increased cost of running the services required for upkeep. They are not fixed.
“Special assessments” aren’t a scam
The reality is that unexpected costs sometimes pop up. In the context of condos, these can result in “special assessments” when the general funds supported by regular condo fees dry up.
Condominiums might be a great option for you or a loved one. However, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of what you’re getting into before you decide to buy.