Hi Jessica, A co-op is different in that each unit owner, in addition to their unit, own an equal share of the entire property..Like shares of stock.. A condo owner, on the other hand, has ownership of their unit only. The other major difference is co-op mortgages are different and source from a limited number of underwriters. A good loan professional will likely pipe in and explain that piece more accurately than I could as I am not a loan pro! Hope that helps some. BTW..In New York City co-ops are more prevelant than California and may even be considered the norm.