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Tips and Traps When Buying a Condo, Co-Op, or Townhouse [Secure eReader]
eBook by Robert Irwin

eBook Category: Personal Finance
eBook Description: One third of all homes sold today are condos, co-ops, or townhouses. America's #1 real estate expert shows what to watch for when buying one of them. Home ownership is still the American dream, but not everyone follows tradition by buying a detached one-family house. Condos, co-ops, and townhouses are increasingly popular alternatives nationwide.

eBook Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, Published: 2002
Fictionwise Release Date: May 2002

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What Sharing Ownership Will Mean to You

Buying a condo, townhouse, or co-op is quite different from purchasing a single-family home. It's much more.

In a way, it's like marrying into a family. You hope that the attachment will result in meeting warm, wonderful people with whom you can spend many enjoyable hours. When you buy a condo, townhouse, or co-op, you're joining another group of owners in sharing common areas. You may look forward to partaking in amenities such as a swimming pool, spa, and tennis court, or to sharing picnics, barbecues, and other social events. Or, if you want, you may anticipate that you will be left alone to "do your own thing" without interference from others.

It could all come to pass as you hope.

Or your dreams could turn into nightmares. You could find that you've married into a dysfunctional family. Other owners could pester you with what you consider minor complaints. An intransigent homeowners organization could prevent you from doing simple things such as painting your front door a different color. You could find your life in the condo, townhouse, or co-op a living hell, so bad that you'll want to sell immediately, even at a loss.

Of course, things rarely get that bad. But they could if you purchase unwisely. That's what we're going to try to prevent in this book.

Here we will examine condos, townhouses, and co-ops with an eye toward discovering whether they are well worth your making the purchase or whether they are a ticking time bomb that you should stay away from at all costs. We'll see what makes one development super while making another a poor investment. Overall, we'll come to understand this thing called "shared ownership" and see whether it's something you will or won't like.

Who Should Read This Book?

This book is designed for you if:

  • You're considering the first-time purchase of a condo, townhouse, or co-op.
  • You've already owned one of the above, had a bad experience, and want to find out how to be sure that next time it will be better.
  • You've owned one of the above, had a good experience, and want to duplicate it.
  • You're simply curious to learn more about shared ownership developments.

What Are Condos, Townhouses, and Co-ops?

Before proceeding, let's be sure we understand our terms:

Condominium Put most simply, you buy an airspace, like an apartment. You own the inside walls, floors, and ceilings. Everything else-including the outside walls, roof, walkways, driveways, swimming pool, and spa-you share with others.

Townhouse As with a condo, you own the inside and sometimes the ground below. The difference is that you don't have someone living above or below you. You still share walls, roads, recreational facilities, and so on with others.

Co-op You rent an apartment from a corporation in which you have ownership, as evidenced by shares of stock.

Of course, these are quick definitions. They will be expanded in later chapters on each of the different types of ownership.

Copyright © 2000 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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