Buying a Condo vs Buying a Co-op… association approval


Both condos and co-ops are required to provide legal and financial information to prospective buyers. The big difference is that when you buy a co-op, not only does the buyer have to approve of the association… the co-op must also approve the buyer.

Condos and co-ops may look the same, but there is a big difference in the legal way you own a condo vs a co-op.

  • When you buy a condo you are buying a piece of real estate… you own a piece of air space in the building, along with a share in the common areas.
  • When you buy a co-op you are buying a share in a corporation that owns real estate… your share gives you the right to occupy a space in the building.

55+ age-restricted co-ops are fairly common in the Twin Cities, but not the more traditional co-ops that are so prevalent in other parts of the country, such as New York City where condos are rare.

When you think about it, it makes sense that a co-op would have to approve buyers… everyone not only lives in the same building, they are also co-owners of the property as a whole. Submission requirements for approval vary from co-op to co-op, but are typically not as stringent in our Twin Cities market as they are in NYC, for example.

Requested information for co-op approval for a client currently buying into a Twin Cities co-op includes…

  • A complete copy of the written purchase agreement/memorandum containing all terms of sale, signed by both retiring member who wants to sell and the proposed purchaser/s
  • An application for membership that includes the following:
    • The proposed member's full name and present residence address
    • The proposed member's financial and character references, the latter extending to a minimum of 3 years' acquaintance
    • Information about past residences, including names/phone numbers of past landlords/condo associations/co-op associations extending back to a minimum of 5 years
    • Current employment information and some past employment history if applicant has not had current job or business long
    • Current after tax income, total outstanding debt, and monthly debt payment obligations
    • Other matters the Board deems appropriate
  • The applicant’s explicit consent to a criminal and credit background check

Don't assume that every unit for sale that looks like an apartment is a condo… it could be a co-op, which is a totally different form of ownership.

Sharlene Hensrud – EmailTwin Cities Baby Boomer Realtor

HomesMSP Team with RE/MAX Results–SharleneJohnAngela


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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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