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Old 10-15-2009, 03:33 PM
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We are a British family looking to move to White Plains in December. We had initially thought about buying a place but after some thought, have decided to rent for 6 months while we look around.

Since we are new to the US, we want to rent a place that is managed (don't want to shovel snow or cut grass). We're looking for something with 3-4 bedrooms either an apartment or a house. But I'm getting a little confused with the terminology used over here!

I see the use of the words condos, townhouses, co-ops and apartments, but I'm not sure which one is suitable for us. Can anyone shed any light? And perhaps make some recommendations?
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Old 10-15-2009, 04:36 PM
Location: Manhattan
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Condos (condominiums) are normally attached units or highrises where you own and control everything inside the unit while common areas (hallways, yards, etc) are controlled by an owners association. With a condo, you can make modifications to the portion you control without getting permission from the association.

Co-ops (cooperatives) are normally similar structures but you share ownership of the entire building and yard. When making changes, you have to follow the owners association's guidelines and get permission for anything that is not in the guidelines.

Townhouse refers to attached units where you own all levels of an individual unit (bottom floor and any other floor above.

Apartments are individual units within a larger building. It could be one level of a house or a set of rooms in a highrise. These could be rental units, condos or co-ops.

I think most people prefer condos over co-ops because they have more control but they are normally more expensive. Preference for townhouses, apartments or single family houses normally varies with individuals. People that don't like to do much maintenance would prefer either townhouses or apartments.

Last edited by fyrisle; 10-15-2009 at 04:47 PM..
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:36 AM
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The prior poster was only partly correct.

More and more condominiums are requiring review of any alterations.

In a co-op you are a shareholder in the building corporation and get a proprietary lease that entitles you to live in your unit in the building.

In both situations there is a board of directors.

In a townhouse, it's a small structure, usually attached, but it can be a condominium or a co-op or even owned outright.
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:30 AM
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Thanks for the replies. I'm still a little confused but will do some research.
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Old 11-13-2009, 07:02 AM
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The confusion may be the terms are used to describe both legal arrangements, as well as the type of physical unit.
A typical high-rise apartment, for example -- Can legally be an apartment rental, a condo, or a co-op.
If it is a simple apartment rental -- Then it is owned by someone else, and you rent it for a set time period.
If it is a co-op, then you and the other tenants own shares of the entire building, with the right to possess one unit.
If it is a condo, then you actually own the unit.
It is certainly possible to rent someone else's co-op or condo (though sometimes there are restrictions on the right to rent them out).

A townhouse is most often legally a condo. By that, it means you own the actual unit -- But really just the inside. A condo association owns all the common land immediately surrounding the units. THe condo association owns your front yard, etc. And really, the condo association owns the exterior of your unit -- The association is responsible for clearing snow, for painting your unit, repairing roofs, etc.
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