Home Buying in New York>Question Details

Amarilis, Other/Just Looking in North Bergen, NJ

If I am a first time buyer, What would be the best thing to purchase a condo or a coop?

Asked by Amarilis, North Bergen, NJ Tue Sep 13, 2011

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Amarilis. SInce you're in Jersey, there are probably no Coops there. Just residential houses or Condos. Perhaps you're thinking of moving into Manhattan? Bottom line, if you have the financial ability to do so then, buy a Condo full stop. If finances are questionable or you don't want to lay out the extra bucks go Coop. Good luck with whatever you decide.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 9, 2012
Hi Amarilis,
if you are looking for an apartment to use as your residence, then find a place you can call HOME that your budget will allow. Property type is less relevant in this case. If you are looking for an investment/rental property then you may be better off with a condominium, or a rare more liberal coop.

1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 9, 2012
With a condo, you own your unit.
With a coop, you own shares, not the physical unit and are subjected to the laws governed by a coop board.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 9, 2012
In Manhattan there are a lot more co-ops than condos and the condos are usually priced higher. Please be aware that if the condo is listed as a sponsor sale (New construction but others as well) the buyer is also responsible for the NYS & NYC real property transfer taxes plus a Working Capital Fund Contribution which is an amount equal to 1 or 2 months common charges and the seller's attorney's fees as well as their own. This can often be negotiated but these fees are rarely mentioned in the listing. (And all purchases whether coop, condo or townhouse over $1 miilion are also subject to a 1% mansion tax http://www.trulia.com/blog/jolie_muss/2011/11/have_you_heard… Please do make sure you are working with a buyer's agent/ broker as they will be able to guide you and help you in choose the best place for you and what offer to make and do have an experienced local real estate attorney lined up before you make an offer.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 14, 2011
I think purchasing a condo would be best for a first time buyer. I suggest getting in touch with an agent in your area to further explain condo/co-op differences.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 14, 2011
Hi Amarilis. What is best is what you can afford comfortably. Condos will out price a similarly sized Coop by $100K + hence, a Coop can be a better bang for your buck. As a first time buyer, I would think you'll buy again at some point and you can always go Condo later. True that you own the stock and proprietary lease (Coop) as opposed to having a unit deed (Condo).

Forget the $250K -$500K someone below mentioned. That refers to the current capital gains tax exemption when selling a property. Maintenance fees are NOT deductable. The tax portion of the maintenance amount is deductable but that may be no more than 50% which is still nice plus anyone financing property has the Mortgage Interest Deduction. Condos and Coops require an application and there will be financial disclosure, letters of reference, Bank statements, etc. The only basic difference is the Coop board interview. Condos do not interview. Either way, you need to be financially sound and have your ducks in a row to get considered. Good luck with whatever you decide.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 13, 2011
As first time home-buyer, often time people op for an investment that will benefit them financially. In an essence, I firmly believe condo-ownership would be a smart choice considering you have "FULL OWNERSHIP" of the unit and it is pretty much like buying a house unlike a co-op you own only shares of a building rather than the actual apartment. However, depending on your financial circumstances, lifestyle and what responsibilities you feel most comfortable with, either or can work for you. But here are to common reasons for owning a condo vs. co-op.

Full ownership which means (tax breaks on loan/mortgage interest rates; as single individuals $250,000 or $500,000 for married couples etc...
Real Estate consistently appreciates
Building Home Equity

Maintenance fees (common charges for using the lobby; elevator etc...) unfortunately "NOT" tax deductible.

Typically are less expensive than a condo due to the supply in NYC vs. the a decline in condo developments as well in recent time

Maintaince fees are tax-deductible
Application goes through an extensive BOARD APPROVAL PROCESS that can require extensive paperwork regarding financing, employment, references etc.... (Can be 30+ pages or more)

Check the websites below for more information. Good luck on your decision.

1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 10, 2011
HI, You have gotten a lot of advise...but it really is what is the best option for you...a professional Real Esate agent will help guide you thru the decision that is best for you...each home ownership is different....if you need help...please let me know
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 10, 2011
Hi Amarilis,

Your status of first-time buyer won't determine if you should purchase a condo or coop as much as your financial situation, life style and building type preferences. Pre-war condos are rare since most pre-war buildings converted to coops in the 70'a and 80's.

Cooperative ownership is the most common form of apartment ownership in New York City. There are three times as many co-ops as there are condominiums in Manhattan, which means that there are more cooperative apartments on the market and they are likely to be more affordable than similarly sized condominiums.

The link below describes the advantages and disadvantages of coops and condos.


Mitchell Hall, Associate Broker
The Corcoran Group
Web Reference: http://nycblogestate.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 16, 2011
Mitchell Hall, Real Estate Pro in New York, NY
Hello Amarilis. I'll be brief as you have many responses that question your life's path, etc. Bottom line here is that a Condo will be the easiest to deal with if you purchase something else down the road but want to rent it out. There is no board interview and you get a deed to the property. Condos do out price Coops of similar size by at least $100K plus. So you choice may be limited by your finances. If you are purchasing a new or at least a newer Condo you'll probably get the benefit of a tax abatement which will lower your monthly bills. There's more to say but here's the nutshell.

I have nothing against Coops and I've sold many. I was just trying to be on point. Best of luck with whatever you decide.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 13, 2011
Hi Amarilis,

Instinctively I am tempted to give you a tutorial on what Coops, Condops and Condos are and how they are different from each other, but the word HOME in "Home Buyer" stops me. If you are buying a HOME and not just an investment, look at all types of properties, Condos, Coops, and Condops. Remember you are looking for a place you will be happy LIVING in first. Then you must evaluate if it makes a good investment on a long run and if the monthly carrying cost is comfortable.

When I search for homes I generally put a cap on the monthly carrying charges (maintenance and taxes) and see what comes up to avoid being disappointed finding a my client would like, but be disappointed in the investment aspect. These two go hand in hand. So filter monthly's, look at all types.

Be mindful of down payment requirements. Coops tend to require more down payments than condos.

The main difference between coops/condops and condos is that in buying a condo you are buyign REAL property, which is treated and taxed like any real estate, and in buying coops/condops you buy shares (interest) in the building which is set up as a corporation. This is a longer topic so I will leave it at that but I am happy to send you a buyer package which describes all the estimated closing costs, taxes and procedures you should know about.

Very best,

Armen J. Meschian
Senior Sales Associate
Exit Realty Landmark

1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 13, 2011
Well for me I would rather own a condo vs coop. with a condo you actually own the property. You get a deed to the unit. With a coop you own shares. Both condo and coop can build equity. But a condo you can rent as long as you want vs a coop you are restricted by the board.Most coops in nyc have a 2 year limit on length you can rent the property. Down payment wise coops require different amount thought the city.Condos down payment is based on the bank you are getting the loan from. In todays market it is safe to say 20% or better on down payment. Another thing to consider is the board of a coop can reject your purchase just because you dont fit in.

If you have any other questions feel free to contact me.

Ivan Pintor
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 13, 2011
Hi Amarilis,

Great question. There are plenty of factors to consider. First of all, there's the down payment. Condos generally cost 30 percent more than co-ops, but they also allow more flexibility in terms of things like subletting. Do you plan on living there a few years, or might you move and like to hold on to the property and find a renter? Are you considering buying in Brooklyn, where some condos qualify for FHA financing for as little as 3.5 percent down payment.

I would be happy to speak with you about all of your concerns if you'd like to give me a call or e-mail me.

Bruno J. Navarro
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
BOND New York Properties, LLC
1776 Broadway, 19th Floor
New York, NY 10019
212.804.8948 mobile
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 13, 2011
Hi! First time buyer or not, it is very dependent upon your career and personal trajectory. Other than the invasiveness and higher financial requirements of the co-op board approval process and of course price, the clear difference is your ability to rent your unit. Co-ops generally allow 2/5 years, some more, some less, some not at all. Condos cannot restrict you from renting. The objective is to hold onto your property for 7-10 years to pay out all your costs of buying and selling all while paying down your mortgage. If during that time period you may get transfered or decide to increase the size of your family, renting may not be an option and you may have to sell. But, if you don't think that either of those things may happen, or anything else that may make you move, then buying a co-op (at the 20% discount vs. a condo) may very well be the best thing for you. Feel free to call for any questions, I am happy to discuss the details of both!
Kelly Killian
Bond New York
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 13, 2011
That would depends on your goals of homeownership and budget. Co-ops are about 25-30% cheaper than condos. There is also much more inventory of co-ops to choose from, versus condos.

You can learn more here about the difference between condos and co-ops.


And watch videos for further information:


Jennifer Chiongbian
SVP/ Associate Broker
Rutenberg Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 13, 2011
It all depends.

Coops - about 25% cheaper than condos, lower closing costs, board approval needed.

Condos - more expensive, higher closing costs, flexibility in renting out, better appreciation.
Web Reference: http://castle-avenue.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 21, 2011
If you purchase a co-op, many times the association will take care of maintenance issues inside your unit. If you purchase a condo, then you will have to do the maintenance yourself.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 15, 2011
Talk to a local real estate agent for guidance.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 15, 2011
Talk to a local real estate agent for guidance.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 15, 2011
Condo Hands down real property ownership VS percentage ownership is more solid
Web Reference: http://www.jaytenuta.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 14, 2011
That all depends on how much of a do payment you have. Co-ops generally require 10-20% down payment and 34% or less debt to income ratio. You have to see which purchase makes sense for you. Also keep in mind that when you buy a co-op there are less closing costs compared to a condo or house.

Marco Gomez
Associate Broker
Keller Williams Landmark II
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 14, 2011
Make sure you factor in all the extra money you might have to pay out on maintenance fees and taxes if you are purchasing a condo, especially because those monthly fees could change without notice. I would recommend to see all perpectives of a condo and a co-op or a single family home, once you have done that, the process of choosing should be easier for you and you'll know exactly what to expect.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 14, 2011
Hello Amarilis. I have sold townhouses, condos and single family homes to first time home buyers. The property type that is best for you really depends on your lifestyle and what is most appealing to you. Some people are very handy and like to "putter" around their house. They like fixing up their home and want to customize it. However, some people prefer to unpack their bags and that's it. They don't want the maintenance. I suggest that you consider what works best for you.

Hope that helps.

Nicole Marks Mason, Realtor
Web Reference: http://www.BuySellBoca.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 14, 2011
My opinion is a condo. There are many great deals on condos.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 10, 2011
Personally a condo has the freedom of practically owning your own house except its in a building. With a co-op you need approval from other parties and you don't have the flexibility. Good Luck searching....I know in this market their are many new constructions....

Have fun shopping :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 10, 2011
My personal preference would be a condo, you will have a lot more freedom and flexibility in making decisions. Typically with a condo you would only need the approval of an HOA. With a coop you have other parties involved.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 9, 2011
Either is fine, both will require monthly maintenance and a mortgage. my choice is always single residence, you have so much more freedom and you maintenance is cheaper, plus you have more privacy and less restrictions to worry or deal with.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 9, 2011
Your decision will likely hinge on your intentions - if renting it out is a part of your nearterm or long term plan, a condo may well be the better bet.

Good luck to you,
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service, Unsurpassed Results
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 9, 2011
A condo has better appreciation potential, flexibility of renting out and the owner doesn't need board approival to buy or sell. A coop has the reverse of the three points but an advantage of lower closing costs. A coop is also about 20-30% less expensive.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
I would have to agree with Joseph Hastings condo’s are much easier
Also I have two Sponsor units:
No Board Approval Sublet after 2yrs as much as you wish…
Renovated Elevator 1BR $500,000
No Board Approval Sublet after 2yrs as much as you wish…
Renovated Walkup STUDIO $399,000
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 13, 2011
To purchase a co-op or condo is a matter of personal preference and financials; since not all co-ops allow renting, a condo may be a better option, if you forsee the need to lease the unit in the near future...a decision only you can make.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 13, 2011
This is a very common question. With easy answer. You will have to do some research and know what works best for your needs. Personally, for the future and of course financially. I would do some research on what is the difference between the two. Do some research on your own or actually sit down with an agent that can give you some great advice based perosonal,future and financial plans. If you need assistance finding an awesome realtor that can help you achieve your goals. Contact me and I will make sure I introduce to an awesome Realtor in the area in which you are going to live.

FYI a condo is usually twice or three times the amount of coop. And coops require research know the board, know the rules and know requirements.

At your service,

Egen Warner
Associate Broker
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Mobile: 914-424-7231
Office: 1-914-633-5540
**Referrals are accepted and appreciated**
Web Reference: http://EgenWarner.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 13, 2011
Hi Amarilis

That would really depend on your location, budget and down payment and in the case of Co-ops you will need liquid assets post closing.

You should get pre-qualified by a Mortgage banker/broker so they can guide you and that will also determine which you can buy. If you wish to purchase mostly for investment then it should be a condo.

If you wish to discuss further please feel free to contact anytime at vprakash@crrnyc.com

All the Best in your search
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 13, 2011
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer