It's a bit complicated, but the short version is this:
TIC stands for Tenancy in Common, which is a legal form of ownership. Essentially it's a workaround to the tough condo conversion laws here, and there are several distinct differences between a TIC and a condo.
1. With a condo you own 100% of your unit and a share in the common area. With a TIC you own a share in the entire building.
2. With a condo you get your own tax bill. With a TIC you get one tax bill for the building and each owner (called co-tenant or co-owner) pays their share of the bill according to their percentage of ownership.
3. With a condo most lenders can finance. With a TIC only a select group of lenders will finance and the loan products are substantially more expensive, making resale more complicated due to limited financing options.
4. The number of units in the building and eviction history have huge impact on ability to condo convert, rent a unit(s), and resale.
5. With TICs there is generally a lot more interactivity between the co-owners, which can lead to interpersonal frictions that are not as prevalent in condo situations.
6. Because the financing is more expensive a TIC should be less expensive than a similar sized condo in the same neighborhood.
An excellent resource for TIC info is http://www.andysirkin.com.
If you'd like more in-depth info or explanations of the above feel free to call. We're also happy to help you evaluate if a TIC is right for you, but make sure whoever represents you knows this subject well. I suggest you interview several agents/brokers and find the one that fits you best.
Lance King/Owner-Managing Broker