Unlike a townhouse, where you own a slice of property from the ground to the sky, when you buy a condominium you are buying a piece of air space in a building and a share in the common areas. It is essentially like an apartment that you own. In fact, many condo buildings started out as apartments and were later converted to condominiums.
With the market changes in the last few years it is not uncommon to find the reverse happening now, as properties originally intended to be condominiums are now rental properties…and may later be converted to condominiums.
Condominiums are found in both old and new buildings, converted warehouses, few or many stories. Amenities vary from very extensive including a pool and health club to nothing…sizes from a few hundred square feet to thousands of square feet. Just like other property styles, condos can be found to fit all price ranges and life styles.
Our Twin Cities MLS divides condo styles into three categories: low rise (2-3 stories), high rise (4+ stories) and manor styles.
Many people think of lofts as a separate condo style, but it really refers to the open way the space is finished rather than to the building itself. Loft style apartments can be found both in old converted warehouses and newly constructed buildings. If you are looking specifically for converted warehouses your best way to search is by date built…look for older buildings.
Low rise and high rise condo buildings are pretty easy to identify…they usually look like apartment buildings. One thing to be aware of is properties that started out as apartment buildings and were later converted to condos often do not have as much sound insulation as properties that were originally built as condos. If sound insulation is important to you be sure to ask about it, and listen specifically in the unit and hallways.
Manor style condos often feel like a cross between condos and townhomes because of their more intimate size and configuration, having more of a townhouse look than an apartment look. They are usually grouped with four units sharing a single entrance, with 2 units on the main floor and 2 on the upper level. Attached garages are usually accessed by a hallway off the shared entryway.
Don't confuse condo style, which refers to architectural style, with the condominium form of ownership and property management. Check related posts below for more information on fees, restrictions, and other items related to the condominium form of ownership.