Condo, Co-op, PUD: What's the Difference?

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Real Estate

Condo, Co-op, PUD: What's the Difference?


Condos: Walls, floors, ceilings are owned in common by all residents. A homeowners association charges monthly dues for management and maintenance. Owners are subject to covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CCRs); condo value depends on the desirability of the entire development.

Planned Unit Development (PUD): Individuals own the structure and a bit of land surrounding it. There will be a homeowners association, but land around each unit is kept by individual owners.

Co-op: This is a complex owned by a corporation made up of all the tenants. Larger units’ owners have more power in how the building is run. You’ll pay fees for your portion of taxes, mortgage, repair, and improvement. Co-op owners depend on each other financially, so expect heavy scrutiny of your financial and personal history.

Townhome: This is a term describing an attached row house, not a form of ownership.

What are the advantages of each? Prices are often lower than for a single-family home. Landscaping and maintenance are minimal or nonexistent. Some feel safer in a “cluster” environment.

Disadvantages? Homeowners association dues are an ongoing non-deductible expense. Plus, CCR documents may be complex.

If you're thinking about making a move, are you considering buying a condominium or a single-family home?

Condos vs Single-Family Homes

The number of condominium owners has risen dramatically in the last few years. Condos are a popular option because they are often more affordable, require fewer maintenance and landscaping chores, suit busy lifestyles, and serve well as a first home or downsizing from a larger house. Here are some differences to consider: 


  • There are usually fewer maintenance requirements. 
  • They can be less expensive than a single-family home. 
  • You own the space between the walls. 
  • There may be more security with neighbors close by. 
  • The exterior of the building, landscaping, surrounding roads, driveways and
    common areas are owned by the condo association, a group made up of all
    unit owners.
  • Special assessments by the association for painting or repairs can add
    significant expense.

Single-Family Homes

  • They usually offer more storage space.
  • You own the interior as well as the exterior. 
  • You have to do the maintenance, landscaping and repairs. 
  • Unless you live in a gated community, you don't have condo association dues. 
  • You don't have to worry about special assessments. 
  • You have room to grow plants, flowers, trees, veggies, etc. 

Look at your lifestyle and consider how your household may change over the next few years. Will you have enough space in a condo? Or will you be happier in a house with room for a garden?