The Nest

NestApple's Real Estate Blog

Featuring real estate articles and information to help real estate buyers and sellers. The Nest features writings from Georges Benoliel and other real estate professionals. Georges is the Co-Founder of NestApple and has been working as an active real estate investor for over a decade.

What Is The Difference Between A Condo And An Apartment In NYC?

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An apartment is a general term for a separate residence within a larger building. Getting your place to live will always be a hassle; part of it is learning the difference between your options. In the magical land known as New York City, there are two main types of housing people want condos and apartments. They often look identical, too. So, what’s the difference between the two, anyway? Apartments are generally entire buildings owned by one person or a company, with individual units rented out to residents. Condos are buildings governed by an HOA but individually owned by people who live in them or rent them out. Understanding the implications of a condo versus an apartment is essential before you start looking for properties. There’s a lot to talk about here. So, it’s time to unpack it.

Apartments in NYC can either be individually owned condominium units, co-op apartments, or one unit of a rental building that one landlord entirely owns. Many folks moving to New York City for the first time will be confused by the difference between a condo and vs. apartment. Often, properties will be listed as simply an “apartment” on real estate search websites, and home buyers will become confused to find out later that it is a condo or a coop. We’ll explain in this article the difference between a condo and vs. apartment in NYC.

What Are The Differences Between Condos And Apartments?

New York City is full of condos and apartments, but this doesn’t mean that they are identical—even when it looks that way. These main vitalcondo building points below are the most commonly cited differences between the two:

  • Unless you own a whole apartment building, chances are you won’t find an apartment for sale. Condos are generally the ones that involve a transfer of ownership whenever someone moves in or out. A single landlord or company typically owns apartments rented out to tenants.
  • Landlords can rent out Apartments in rental buildings and manage them. However, condos can be owned and then rented out. Apartments rarely ever get sold unit by unit. Meanwhile, condos are usually sold by unit, allowing owners to rent them out.
  • You can get evicted from an apartment, not a condo. Condos are yours to own, so you legally must have a lien that remains unpaid against you to get you out of there. Apartments can evict you, even if you have the money to pay your rent.
  • HOAs manage condos; a landlord operates apartments. HOAs act as a community board that keeps everyone content with the quality of the building. They maintain common areas and make sure you don’t kill your neighbor. Apartment landlords are liable for ALL repairs inside your unit and in the common areas.
  • You pay taxes on a condo, which is usually part of your HOA fees. Apartments will not have you pay taxes directly to the state, and it’s the landlord’s burden to bear.
  • Condos do not require you to renew your time there every year. Meanwhile, apartments will generally need you to renew a lease annually.
  • You build equity with a condo, not an apartment. A condo is YOUR property, and it’s a property that increases in value as you get older.

What’s a Condo in NYC?

A condo refers to an apartment that is individually owned.A condo building is a building where all units are typically owned by various individuals. Ownership is not limited to one apartment per individual. For example, some owners may opt to buy their neighbor’s apartment in NYC to combine the units into a larger apartment.Furthermore, some investors may own multiple condos in the same building and other buildings. Therefore, the main difference between a condo and vs. apartment is ownership.

What Is a Co-op in NYC?

A co-op or cooperative apartment is a form of living unique to New York City. Owners of co-op apartments are shareholders of a corporation that owns the entire building they live in. Shareholders receive a stock certificate and a proprietary lease that lets them occupy their specific apartment. As a result, co-op shareholders are not real property owners but rather owners of shares of a corporation that owns an apartment building.
A board of directors elected by the shareholder base runs the cooperative corporation.Coops are known for stricter rules and regulations and sublet policies versus condos, and the board of directors exercises enormous power over the shareholder tenants.Coop boards require potential purchasers or subletters to submit a lengthy and invasive co-op board application in addition to passing a coop board interview. Co-op boards can reject an application for any reason without having to disclose the reason why.Even though this can result in various forms of discrimination, most rejections happen because the applicant did not meet the co-op’s financial requirements.

Is It Easier To Get An Apartment Or A Condo?

Most people will find it easier to get an apartment for the funding issue and the issue of getting approved to move in.

Apartments have strict regulations on what they can and cannot deny an applicant. Condo boards, though, have more lax requirements on what they can deny an applicant.

Difference Between Condo And Apartment

With funding, the issue is pretty straightforward. Condos usually need lenders to approve you for a loan unless you can buy it in all-cash. When this happens, you always risk having a sale fall through.

Is It Easier To Sell A Condo Or Leave An Apartment?

Apartments are generally easy to leave.

You must refuse to renew the lease for the next year and find a new apartment to rent. Selling a condo, though, can be tricky. The HOA can reject a new buyer’s application, even if they make an offer on the unit, and this can force your unit to take longer to sell.

Do You Still Have To Pay Monthly Fees If You Buy A Condo?

Let’s say you buy the condo all cash. You might be under the belief that you won’t have to pay fees month-to-month, but that’s not the case. Every apartment will have mandatory monthly fees brought forth by the HOA.

These HOA fees cover common area maintenance, admin salaries, repairs to the building structure, and taxes.

Which Is More Expensive, A Condo Or An Apartment In NYC?

Blow by blow, studies have shown that New York City is a place where it’s almost always more affordable to rent than it is to own.

People who work in the city and want to live there already pay a premium price. Ownership, especially condos, comes with premium fees and a heavy tax burden.

Most people in New York are thrilled to rent for the rest of their lives. When you realize how much the price of homes can increase, it’s easy to see why some may find it better to sell their condo as a retirement vehicle later. So, both have their perks and pitfalls on a financial level.

Which Is Right For You, Apartments Or Condos?

Honestly, there is no correct answer that works across the board. Some people (like myself) want to be life-long renters simply because it is easier on them and makes sense for their financial needs. On the other hand, if you’re going to build equity or potentially rent out your home, a condo makes more sense later.

Most real estate professionals would say that it makes more sense to look at each option on a case-by-case basis. So, ask a real estate broker if you need help figuring out what you should get, and they often have the best advice.

Written By: Ossiana Tepfenhart

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