What is a CIC?

If you Google 'CIC' you will find organizations relating to everything from immigration to colleges to cooperation… but as it relates to real estate a CIC is a Common Interest Community.

If you purchase a property that is part of a CIC you automatically become a member of the community homeowners association and agree to live by its pre-established guidelines. The association charges mandatory assessments to each owner to maintain and operate the community association.

Laketown3Although most people think of townhouses and condominiums when they think of Common Interest Communities, the most common type of community association is a Planned Community which most often includes single family houses. In fact, planned communities sometimes include both single family houses and townhomes… so if you buy a townhome which is also part of a planned community you could be part of two different associations. A tip that a house might be part of a CIC is some sort of sign or marker at the entrance to the community.

Planned Community

In a planned community each purchaser has exclusive ownership to their lot and home, but the association owns common areas and each member of the association pays a fee, usually annually, to maintain those common areas. The common areas could be as simple as a small plot with a sign naming the community at the main entrance… or it could include trails or a community pool or playground, sometimes even roads.

There are usually covenants governing what you can and cannot do on your property, designed to maintain property values. The covenants may state that you must park all vehicles in your garage and cannot store a boat or RV outside on your property… that you cannot have a storage shed on your property… may dictate building materials such as that you must have brick or stone on your building… covenants may require that your home be a certain style or size, may have landscaping and exterior maintenance requirements such as not allowing fences or requiring they be of a certain style.

Buyers often do not expect an association to be governing a single family house… if you see a sign at the entrance to a community, ask if it is part of a planned community association.


Condominium associations are the second most common type of common interest communities, and what most people usually think of when they think of homeowner associations. These associations can govern not only condominiums, but also townhouses… even mobile home parks, boat slips and parking garages.

What is different in this form of ownership is that not only does each owner own their individual unit… they also own a share in the common areas. Depending on the type of property, common areas could include hallways and lounges, pools, party rooms, grounds, gardens, shared amenities, etc.

Association fees are usually due monthly or quarterly, and include things such as snow removal and lawn care, trash removal, exterior maintenance, etc.


Cooperatives are the least common type of community assocation. Rather than owning actual real estate, when you are part of a cooperative you are essentially a shareholder in a corporation that owns the property. Your share of interest in the corporation gives you the exclusive right to occupy or 'rent' a specific unit in the cooperative.

Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX ResultsEmailMinneapolis Condo Realtor


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I love what I do! Highly insightful, analytical and creative, there is nothing I love more than helping you find the right solution for your real estate transition. My mission is to serve my clients with honesty and integrity, exceeding their expectations in service and support… and to help others by donating a portion of every transaction to Habitat for Humanity.
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