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Buying: Condo ABC's
Condominium – A condominium is characterized by separate ownership of identified portions of the subject property (such as individual apartments in a multi-unit building) and undivided or joint ownership of the remainder (the common areas of that apartment building).
Condominium units can be bought and sold individually, each transferred with a separate deed and subject to a separate mortgage, as would be the case if each were a separate single-family home. At the same time, each condominium owner retains an undivided interest in the common areas, such as hallways, exterior grounds, landscaping and the like.
The condominium is managed by the Condominium Association which is composed of the owners of the individual units and which makes and enforces rules, sets and collects the dues and maintenance fees necessary to maintain the structure, and manages the common areas.
Condominium Unit – In a condominium project, this is what the individualowner actually owns and occupies. Generally, it consists of only the space contained within the exterior walls of the surrounding structure. It is part of the condominium intended for independent ownership. It also includes a proportionate interest in the condominium’s common elements.
Cooperative (Co-Op) – A corporation holds title to all of the units and the common areas. Individuals receive shares in the C0-Op entitling them to exclusive rights of occupancy of a particular unit through a device of an associated long term “proprietary” lease. Technically, individual purchasers do not have ownership of a unit, only ownership of shares entitling them to exclusive possession of that unit. Each unit is allocated a percentage interest in the corporation and receives a number of shares which is often based on the size of the unit being “purchased.” Smaller units have fewer shares than larger units. Assessments are made on a per share basis.
Declaration or Master Deed – The document which contains the required information of a community association, including the land, number of units and procedures for electing members to serve on the board of directors or any association committees.
Governing Documents – The declaration and all other documents, such as by-laws, rules and regulations, articles of incorporation or articles of association, which govern the operation of the community association.
Proprietary Lease – A document granting the long term exclusive right of possession and occupancy of a designated unit to an owner-tenant of a cooperative.