Co-ops vs Condos in Manhattan: all you need to know

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    Housing in Manhattan is one of the hardest-to-navigate housing markets in the US. Of course, it is expensive, so if you do manage to be secure enough financially to afford a home in Manhattan, you are without a doubt one of the lucky few. However, deciding between co-ops and condos is a whole different decision because these different types of ownership set New York City apart. Even though there are more co-ops in New York, you should take your time to think through all the pros and cons of co-ops vs condos in Manhattan, which is why our team at Manhattan Movers NYC is here to help.

    What Exactly Are Condos and Co-Ops?

    When moving to Manhattan, you must understand the terminology of co-ops vs condos. There are many differences when it comes to co-ops vs condos in Manhattan. Co-ops and condos are both different ways of living and buying properties in NYC. The more common type of owning homes isn’t exactly even property ownership. Instead, buying a co-op means owning shares in the company that owns the building in which your apartment is. In exchange for shares, you get an apartment, so co-ops don’t constitute property ownership because, technically, you don’t own your apartment, you own the shares.

    The skyline of Manhattan
    Going for co-ops vs condos in Manhattan is a big dilemma since you can find excellent options for both arrangements.

    Condos, on the other hand, are much more simple. If you buy a condo apartment, you do own it. There are no shares of the company, just simple property ownership. However, condo apartments in New York tend to be more expensive, but you get full control of your property. Of course, the ownership of common spaces is shared with the other condo residents, which is not the case with co-ops. When you own a co-op, you have fewer property rights, as the residency is not your own.

    The pros and cons of co-ops vs condos in Manhattan

    When discussing the pros and cons of co-ops vs condos in Manhattan, we have to understand that something that is a downside for one person might be an upside for another. Whether or not something is a pro or a con depends on your lifestyle. After all, every single person has different wishes and needs. However, there are some major differences we will talk about in this article, from the nature of ownership, the cost of each one as well as some rules, and so many other details. All of this will help you make an informed decision and, more importantly, the right one. So, make sure to read on as we discuss the main characteristics of both condos and co-ops.

    Owning a condo vs a co-op in Manhattan

    Currently, there are more than 4 thousand condos on the market in Manhattan alone, compared to almost 5 000 co-ops. So, with more supply when it comes to co-ops, it might be easier actually to find one you like. So, before you start looking for local movers NYC, let’s talk ownership, what it’s like owning a co-op vs. what it is like to own a condo in Manhattan. The first major downside of owning a co-op vs. owning a condo in Manhattan is, of course, not having full ownership of the apartment.

    A man with a dilemma of co-ops vs condos in Manhattan thinking about the solution.
    Carefully assess all the ups and downs of both co-ops and condos based on your preferences, and you’ll be a step closer to a solution.

    Owning a condo instead is much more straightforward and flexible because you can fully manage and enjoy your property. Firstly, most condo buildings allow you to sublet, while co-ops usually don’t. Even though some may permit subletting, there is usually a condition that you have to live in it for a certain amount of time before subletting a co-op. But again, those are rare occasions.

    The cost of co-ops vs condos

    When looking at online listings in New York, you’ve probably noticed the vast cost range of NYC apartments. This is because some apartments, no matter where they are, are more costly than others. The reason why is that co-ops are more affordable than condos. This is because co-ops were designed this way to make owning an apartment in New York more affordable. The amenities, location, and square footage don’t matter as much as whether the apartment you are looking at is a co-op or a condominium. Buying an expensive apartment might mean you own real property, but it means reducing other home-buying-related costs like movers NYC cost.

    Even though buying a co-op is less expensive as a whole, there are differences when it comes to downpayment and upkeep. Firstly, a downpayment for condos is usually much lower than a downpayment for co-ops. When buying a condo, you would only need to put up around 10% of the asking price. That is not the case with co-ops. Even though they are less expensive, the downpayment is much higher than the downpayment for condos.

    Upkeep and monthly costs

    Both condos and co-ops in Manhattan have monthly fees dedicated to the maintenance of the building. However, two things set them apart – the amount you will be paying and how many checks a month you will have to write. Let’s start with condominiums. Condos have monthly fees for building maintenance which include maintenance for common areas, landscaping, staff, and some of the utilities. These common areas rarely have enough space for storage for one tenant, so many people also buy additional Manhattan storage. However, condo monthly fees are usually lower than co-op monthly fees. The second check condo owners have to write is for taxes. Because condo owners have real rather than personal property, the taxes for condo apartments are usually higher than for co-op condo owners.

    A paper that says "Taxes" next to a 50 dollar bill.
    You’ll have to pay more through taxes if you opt for a condo apartment.

    When it comes to the monthly upkeep of co-ops, it is simpler to pay. However, usually, it comes to more than condo upkeep. The monthly charges are usually all maintenance charges for the building. That includes more of the same, depending on the size of the building. Despite that, while the maintenance fee for co-ops is higher than for condos, the main difference is they are not fixed. If the building has more expenses coming its way, like some works on the building that are necessary, your monthly fees will go up.

    What about closing costs?

    Since co-ops and condos differ in many ways, it is sensible to presume that they differ when it comes to closing costs as well. For condos, the closing costs are usually higher compared to similar-sized co-op apartments. Once you decide to purchase a condo in the Borough of Manhattan, you should expect to pay a closing cost of 3% to 4% of the purchase price. In some cases, especially in a newer development, it could even get over 5%. On the other hand, with co-ops, it’s usually 1% to 2% of the purchase price.

    The recent energy crisis and the monthly upkeep of condos vs co-ops in Manhattan

    Because of the recent energy crisis, the price of everything has skyrocketed. With the rising inflation, we are expecting to see a rising in the monthly upkeep both for condos and co-op apartments in Manhattan, which is why it’s important to find affordable movers NYC. The monthly fees are already climbing because of rising energy costs, taxes, new regulations, and higher staff costs. In fact, over the past year, the monthly fee for condos has increased by almost 20%. Not only that but it is expected it will rise again.

    The Manhattan skyline photographed from a bridge
    Global inflation has made a severe impact on housing markets all over the USA, and Manhattan was certainly not an exception.

    Due to the proposed new law, buildings that don’t reduce their carbon footprint will also face steep fines. All of that will surely result in even higher upkeep, either due to fines or all the necessary work that needs to be done to reduce the carbon footprint to an acceptable level. This law will be implemented starting in 2024, so make sure you check if it applies to the building you are interested in.

    Rules of living

    Of course, as many New Yorkers know, co-op boards are infamous for the rules you agree on when hiring a moving service NYC  and moving into your apartment. They can cover anything from rules about common areas, pets, noise levels, and so on. They can be so in-depth, but you can familiarize yourself with them in House Rules Book. We, of course, recommend getting to know the rules before you decide whether or not you want the buy a co-op. After all, you will be the one having to abide by those rules, so you should ensure there aren’t any deal-breakers.

    Besides having extensive rules to living in a co-op, there are rules and strings attached to getting an apartment even. Apart from being known for having rules even when it comes to getting rid of moving boxes NYC, co-ops have boards. The co-op board first has to approve your tenant application before you can proceed with buying an apartment in a co-op building. So, the process of getting a co-op apartment is much more rigid and complex than buying a condo. Maybe that is why they are less expensive and more wanted.

    Are there differences in amenities?

    Co-ops have existed in New York since the seventies. And generally, co-ops are located in older buildings. However, the fact that co-ops are usually older buildings doesn’t mean that this is a bad option. You have nothing to worry about since these buildings are usually very well-maintained. Not only this, but they have a lot of benefits from living in them as well. For example, the most notable one is that co-ops are more spacious, not only by square footage but also by the higher ceiling. Additionally, they also have a unique décor, typical for older NYC buildings. These are more differences when it comes to co-ops vs condos in Manhattan.

    A spacious living room in a Manhattan apartment
    Co-ops are spacious

    On the other hand, condos are usually in new buildings. Newer development brings a ton of amenities, such as gyms, pools, spas, etc. But, they tend to be less spacious than co-ops, except for the most expensive condos that hardly anyone could afford. For those who are moving into a condo, especially in newer buildings, you’ll likely need some storage NYC to keep some of your items in a storage unit until you settle. This is simply because if you transport all your stuff at once into a medium or smaller sized unit, things could get messy, and unpacking and settling in could take much longer than you expect it to.

    So, if you’re making a decision co-ops vs condos in Manhattan based mostly on amenities, then we’d probably have to slide with the condos here. But, for most people, the ultimate decision is a combination of various factors. While condos may have more amenities, co-ops are usually bigger, and less expensive. Therefore, as we said on multiple occasions throughout this article, it truly depends on your preferences.

    Manhattan buildings during the night
    You’ll enjoy your life in Manhattan

    Choose the Option You Are More Comfortable With

    Maybe this may sound obvious to you, but ultimately, if you want a successful start to your Manhattan life, go with the option you feel the most comfortable with. Now you have all the information you need to decide on co-ops vs condos in Manhattan. After carefully assessing the pros and cons of both, we’re sure you’re much closer to making a decision. And, since it will be an informed decision, there’s little to no chance of deciding wrong. We hope that this article helped you understand what to expect from co-ops and condos. Also, we hope you’ll have many happy memories in your new place. Have a safe trip and enjoy life in Manhattan!


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