Pros & cons of buying a condo, co-op or townhome

Pros & cons of buying a condo, co-op or townhome

The complexities of holding a property financially can lead some to decide that traditional single-home living is not for them. Shared building living is ideal for those with low engagement options. Keep reading to discover the advantages and disadvantages of buying a condo, co-op, or home.

Buying into a housing co-op

The idea of a cooperative may evoke a “hippy vibe” for some; nevertheless, it can be an excellent home buying opportunity for those living in urban areas. Urban living can often mean coping with restricted space. Putting the buyers’ options for buying a freestanding single-family home might be minimal.

In addition, some cities such as Miami, New York, and Atlantic City are seeing declines in home purchases as incomes struggle to correlate with increasing home costs in the city. Buying into a housing cooperative can be a sound financial decision as sharing property maintenance costs among all the owners will dramatically reduce the monthly expenses associated with homeownership.

So, how exactly does it work?

Co-op buildings are usually a cross between homeownership and renting. When you buy into a co-op, by buying a share of the property you are investing in it. In return, a long-term lease is granted to you-usually one that is more than 50 years.

You’re usually responsible for paying a share of the overall maintenance and running expenses of the house.

The pros of co-op ownership:

  • Since you are buying upfront your shares, you have the advantage of never having to worry about a hike in price.
  • Co-op living also has many of the other benefits of renting an apartment. You will use the facilities and grounds, but you will not be responsible for any of the daily maintenance as long as you pay your monthly fee.

The cons:

  • Because you own a share of the building rather than the unit itself, your option to customize it according to your preferences might be limited. 
  • Co-ops are typically governed by boards that lay down building rules and regulations, and you’re expected to adhere to them.

Buying a condo

Buying condos are different than co-ops, because this time, you own your unit. While any common areas and facilities are still common property, you have the final say and, of course, be responsible for everything within your four walls.

Condo owners should plan for a mortgage payment, plus property tax on their house, and a monthly fee for maintaining such communal areas, sometimes referred to as the HOA (“homeowners association”) fee.

The pros of condo ownership:

  • Just like owning a single-family home, you’ll have the freedom to customize your unit as you see fit, just like owning a single-family home, but without incurring additional responsibility for the house itself or the grounds.
  • This choice also offers you the luxury of living in an apartment, as well as the equity-building opportunities associated with more traditional homeownership.

The Cons:

  • An association also runs condos, and you will still need to follow the rules they have set.
  • Depending on the house, for a comparable stand-alone home, the condo association dues may also be slightly higher than the HOA fees. This is probably because of the cost of maintaining community facilities being factored into the fees for condo owners association.

Buying a townhome

Townhomes are even a step closer to living in a single-family. Usually, these homes are bigger but set out similarly to what you would expect from a typical single-family home.

With this type of property, you may also own the lot depending on how your community is structured.

Also, like a townhome owner, you should be prepared to pay your mortgage payment, any property taxes, and a recurring association charge used to fund the upkeep of any common areas (including the building’s exterior).

The pros of townhome ownership:

  • Living in a townhouse also provides more privacy than either a condo or a co-op. 
  • Most of the time, you’ll also be able to customize your home as you would in a single-family home.
  • Nevertheless, you will be able to enjoy the added benefit of any outside repairs and services provided by the association of your landlord.

The cons:

  • Unlike condos, townhouse maintenance benefits are fairly limited, usually to items such as snow removal or painting outside. It would be best if you were prepared to take on the lion share of the maintenance of your home.
  • You should be aware of the Townhome community rules and regulations before you decide to buy.

Final thoughts

Ultimately, each community with a co-op, condo, and townhome is special. Many of them have their own systems of inclusions, exclusions, and fees. If you’re serious about making a condo, co-op, or townhome deal, be sure to ask questions and do your research to make sure you know what you’re getting into. A good REALTOR® can aide you make the right offer for the property you’re interested in buying. For free valuation, contact us at 401-396-2888. We’re always glad to help!

Need an accurate home evaluation?


Kamil Sarji - Real Estate Agent


Kamil Sarji

Real Estate Agent

Licensed in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut

Phone: (401) 396-2888



If You're Selling: I know how to present and showcase your house effectively, promote and market it so that it attracts qualified buyers and get SOLD for the highest price possible.

If You're Buying: We start with really learning about your needs and what you're looking to achieve in your new home. Knowing this will help me find and show you the best homes that meet your criteria.


Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?


Create Account