Are condos worth it?

Share this Article

Condos typically cost more than co-ops, but does paying up make sense?   “Condos are like divorce. They cost more because they’re worth it,” quips a commenter, alluding to ease of disposing of one's property without approval by a co-op board. Here's what some others had to say:

Worth it:

  • You can sell to whomever you want, unless the condo board is willing to match the price
  • Sublet rules are more generous
  • You’re not responsible for a share of the building's underlying mortgage, since there is none

Not worth it:

  • It’s harder to evict “questionable” neighbors such as “litigious crackpots…reality-tv stars, famous fraudsters, drug czars, NJ hair-restoration doctors looking for an investment, any schmuck who can rustle up a loan”
  • If you fall behind on your common charges, that information becomes public. In a co-op, “nobody knows but the board and the agent.”
  • “…once the sponsor sells most of its units and the owners realize the true cost of maintaining amenities (like all-night room service, three-tiered Morrocan-style rooftop club, concierge services) will be a billion $$$/month.”

It all depends:

  • “A condo’s differences versus a co-op are not set in stone.  Some co-ops are much more lenient on frequently important issues (renting/subletting, pets, parents buying) than others….Condo boards can impose restrictions as well, though they’re obviously more limited at the outset.  Personally, I prefer a no-frills condo for the flexibility it gives me if I needed to move and rent the place long-term, but I don’t see myself paying more than a 5% premium for that. Unless you throw in that three-tiered Moroccan-style roof-top….”

For an exhaustive if slightly dated assessment of the condo vs co-op value difference, take a look at this 2006 analysis from NYU’s Furman Center.