When you speak to a real estate broker before buying an apartment, you come across a lot of jargon which might sound confusing. Do the words Condo Strata HOA and Co-op associations sound familiar to you? If they are, then have they resulted in deferring your decision to purchase an apartment because you found the terms too complicated or perhaps too similar?
Well, it’s time to unscramble the jargon and make your real estate decision simple. If you are planning to purchase an apartment any time soon, then you need to understand what these terms mean and what works best for you.
The first thing you need to understand is that condo strata HOA and Co-op association don’t mean the same thing and cannot be used interchangeably!
What is the Difference Between These Terms?
Before we start explaining what condo strata HOA or Co-Op Association mean, you should know that all these terms come under the homes that are part of a common interest development or CID. The USP of these homes is that they are affordable home-ownership options for those living in urban areas.
So whether you finally opt for a condo strata HOA or Co-Op Association, you are choosing affordable housing offered under common interest development. This is what makes these terms similar.
If you decide to go for a condo, you will be entitled to an individual unit that is part of a large complex. A condo is a multi-unit structure. As the owner of an individual unit, you will have access to common areas and various amenities.
You would own everything that is within the boundary walls of the apartment complex. Common amenities that you will have permission to use include hallways, swimming pools and elevators.
These facilities that are provided to you come at a cost. The condominium would charge a consolidated fee for amenities, repairs, regular maintenance and landscaping. These charges are variable and would increase if the expenses associated with providing these services escalate.
When it comes to the concept, strata and a condo are similar in nature. You would also be owning an individual unit in an apartment complex. The word strata denote layers and the apartments in a strata have two or more layers or levels.
The only difference perhaps can be found in British Columbia or Australia and Canada, where townhouses come under the Strata dwelling category.
Home Owners Association
This category of common interest development is created as a not-for-profit organization which focuses on overall community betterment. Any changes or modifications to a home or apartment needs the approval of the homeowners association.
This model of ownership is not restricted to just apartments but is used in housing societies as well.
You will be charged a monthly fee towards the maintenance of the property and for improvements that are required.
Housing Cooperative (Co-op)
In case of a co-op association, the real estate which houses the housing society, as well as the common areas and facilities provided, is owned by the housing cooperative.
You will not be the owner of the unit. Instead, you will be the owner of a share which entitles you to use any apartment or townhouse in the housing cooperative. The cooperative has a legal status.
As a shareholder of a cooperative society, you will be entitled to use the common facilities and have voting rights during the election of the Board of Directors.
Though the concept is similar to a condo, you don’t own a unit in a housing cooperative. You are just a shareholder of the co-op association.
The fee you pay to a co-op association would include mortgage installments, management fees and taxes.
Choose the Option That Works for You
Housing options under the Common Interest Development Scheme cater to the affordable housing segment. Though the basic concept is the same, providing apartments in a housing complex to the urban population, there are some differences in the legal structure. While a co-op association gives you membership as a shareholder, a homeowners association is a not-for-profit organization. The only difference between a condo and strata is that the latter includes townhouses as well.
Now that all the options are clear, and you have a greater understanding of condo strata HOA and Co-Op Associations, go ahead and buy your dream home!
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