New York City apartments come in two flavors: Co-op (short for "cooperative") and condominium. The first step in the NYC buying process is to decide which one suits you better.
Older buildings (built pre-1980s) tend to be co-ops, while pretty much everything built from the 1980s onward is condo. Beyond that distinction, your personal or financial circumstances, along with your lifestyle preferences and past experience, might guide you toward one or another.
Or, like many people, you may simply decide to look for the best apartment you can afford in a financially sound building, be it co-op or condo.
Read on for an overview of the key differences and considerations--and practically everything else you need to know to navigate one of the most complicated and expensive real estate markets in the world.