FLORIDA CONDO AND CO-OP MORTGAGE LENDERS
The first step in the Florida buying process is to decide whether you’re a better fit for a co-op or condo.
Florida apartments come in two Choices:
- 1.Co-op (short for “cooperative”)
Older Florida buildings (pre-1980s) tend to be co-ops, while for the most part everything built from the 1980s forward is Florida condo. Beyond that distinction, your personal or financial circumstances, along with your location in Florida housing preference and experience, might lead you toward one or another.
If you are like most people, you may simply decide to look for the best apartment you can afford in a financially sound building, be it a condo or Florida Co-Op.
Below we have provided an overview of the key differences and considerations.
Note: In both co-op and condos, your voting power increases with the size of your apartment.
CONDO: Buying a Florida condo is very much like buying a single-family house. You get a deed to the apartment that gives you ownership of the interior of your unit and the surface of its walls, as well as an undivided interest in the condos common elements. This is the type of ownership almost everyone has in mind when they think about buying a home, and almost all newer buildings are condos.
After you buy your apartment, you will largely find that the legal ownership structure has little impact on your use of it. However there are a number of other issues related to condo ownership that will be discussed.
CO-OP: While co-ops are common in Florida, most people in other parts of the country are unfamiliar with their unique ownership structure.
In a Florida co-op, the entire building is owned by a single corporation. Instead of a deed, Florida co-op buyers get shares (stock certificates) in the corporation, and a proprietary lease that allows Co-op buyers to occupy a specific unit and describes the rules and rights much like a lease in a rental building. (In fact, technically speaking, buyers of co-op apartments are referred to as “tenants” or “shareholders,” not “owners.”
CONDO: Buying a Florida condo is very much like buying a single-family house. You get a deed to the apartment that gives you ownership of the interior of your unit and the surface of its walls, as well as an undivided interest in the building’s common elements. This is the type of ownership almost everyone has in mind when they think about buying a Florida home, and almost all newer buildings are condos.
After you buy your apartment, you will largely find that the legal ownership structure has little impact on your use of it. However there are a number of condo issues related that will be discussed.
Co-op and condo boards
CO-OP: Shareholders elect a volunteer on the co-op board in some small buildings that choose to save money by self-managing the co-op. The Co-op board works with a property management company to oversee the care and maintenance of the building.
The Florida co-op board also creates and enforces rules about everything from renovation inside units, to what’s allowed to transpire on the roof deck, to whether you can speak on your cell phone in the lobby, or whether dogs will be allowed in the building. Unlike Florida condo boards, co-ops can even evict an extremely disruptive shareholder and force them to sell their apartment.
Some power-hungry Florida co-op boards are made up of volunteers with full-time jobs and families who try to make the best of what is a demanding and time-consuming role.
CONDO: Florida Condo owners also elect a board of directors that perform many of the same functions as a Florida co-op board. Generally speaking, though, most condo boards tend to be more hands-off when it comes to rulemaking.
Florida condos have a more laissez faire approach is partly due to philosophical underpinnings and partly because Florida condo boards wield less enforcement muscle: They can fine condo owners only for the expense related to any rule infraction (or get an injunction to stop it from happening again). But because a Florida condo owner actually owns his or her unit, a condo board, unlike a co-op board, can’t evict an owner from an apartment.