Both co-operative apartments and condominiums can make great investments.
Fewer people can qualify to purchase in co-ops, so in general their prices are lower, and they take longer to re-sell -- also because there is a board package to prepare and a co-op board review process that slows down the sale. Co-ops can and do require significant disclosure of one's financial assets, as well as reference letters, and they often require enough cash in the bank after closing to cover 1 to 2 years of maintenance fees.
Condos do not require any of this, usually. Their prices are higher per square foot. Often you have more responsibility as a homeowner because your heating system (furnace, boiler, combo heat/AC unit) is in your apartment and is yours to fix if it breaks; many co-ops include heating costs in their maintenance fees.
Many, if not most, pre-war construction buildings are co-ops. So if you love old buildings and period details, and decide to move to the Upper West Side or the Upper East Side of Manhattan, odds are you will need to buy a co-op to get that architecture. New buildings almost always opt to follow the condo organization. In Tribeca there are a number of new buildings with lovely apartments with all the latest amenities.
As for loans, I ask all my buyer-clients to obtain a pre-approval letter from a lender. Please visit my blog for details:
Karla Harby, VP
Charles Rutenberg Realty