Buying over renting is always a tough decision. I guess Suzie Ormond said it best. If once you add up all the monthly cost of buying it comes to at or below your current rent payment, then it is an excellent time to buy for you.
First off, understand that the difference between co-opâ€™s, condo and full ownership of a property. With Co-ops you do not own the property out right. Anything you do to the property will have to be cleared with the coop board which is comprised of other tenants in the building. Before you even offer a bid, get the prospectus on the property in question as well as the coop list of rules for living in the coop. I know in my own coop building we are excluded from owning washing machines and our floors have to be 80% carpeted. For 10 years, I have lived with rusted washing machines and the guy upstairs must wear lead in his boot and must not have anywhere to sit. I laughed (and continue to laugh) at the sign on my building that says â€œluxury living in Washington Heightsâ€™
The board has great power to affect your style of living in your home--So talk to the current residents in the building to see how well they match your style of living. In a co-op you will have to carry the mortgage on â€˜yourâ€™ apartment as well as maintenance fees which in my coop run about Â½ of what I would pay out in a mortgage. The coop board can also raise your maintenance fee for updates in the building such as new windows, new elevators, or electrical upgrades. Additionally, a coop board usually has to approve your purchase, as well as most require a substantial down payment in the 10% to 20% range. Then in 30 years when you have paid off that mortgage you are still paying out that maintenance fee which to me is still a rose by another name that stinks.
However, for many many people the idea having a staff to take care of your apartment is a big plus. I donâ€™t know about up in Port Chester, but do not forget to examine the cost of transportation/garage as well as determining if heat/hot water, air conditioning, electricity, gas, water and/or cable are carried in your maintenance fees. Play close attention to the electrical service, as I know in my apartment we often overload our 1948 fuse box with our microwave.
A friend of mine just bought a condo instead of the coop. He has greater control of his apartment but still finds dealing with his neighbors a bit of a head ache. He is still faced with condo fees though they are somewhat less than what a coop building charges.
I elected to go for full ownership myself. True, I will be having maintenance cost associated with it, but I will have full control. I dream of having my own soil and washing machine.