In a cooperative the building containing the residential units or apartments is owned by a 'cooperative housing corporation. When you buy a co op you buy shares in the housing corporation.
In a condominium, each unit owner owns an individual apartment in fee simple. In addition, the buyer owns an undivided interest in the common elements such as the exterior walls, roof, any recreational things like pools, tennis courts and other areas.
Both condo and co-op owners have monthly maintenance fees to pay, but they can vary, depending on what expenses the fee covers.
I see that the basic differences between condos and co-ops have already been explained. One particularly important requirement to note for buyers wishing to purchase a co-op is that they must be approved by the building's elected Board of Directors, which sometimes can be a difficult process. Condo Boards often also require a review of a prospective buyer, but this is mainly to ensure that the prospect is financially qualified.
In Wilmette, most of the buildings on the Sheridan Road lakefront are condos; however, 2 of the buildings are co-ops. Currently, there are 10 units for sale in those co-op buildings, ranging in price from $164,500-$625,000 and ranging from 2 bedrooms/2baths to 4 bedrooms/3.1 baths.
Let me know if you'd like to investigate any of these further.
In a co-op:
â€¢ Units are collectively owned by a corporation and occupants purchase â€œsharesâ€
â€¢ Assessments cover all building expenses, including real estate taxes
Versus a condo:
â€¢ Occupant owns unit outright
â€¢ Assessments cover building maintenance and improvements of all common areas
â€¢ Real estate taxes are paid by the homeowner
Below is a link to a good top-line article from Realtor.com that addresses the general differences, pros and cons of each:
Please keep in mind each condo and co-op board have their own bylaws or covenants, but this provides a general difference between the two.
Hope this has been of some help for you.