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Many of my clients who are looking at condos will assume that all more-densely populated developments are condominiums, whether they are looking at converted apartment buildings, new townhouse developments, duplex or triplex communities, or planned single-family homes with very small lot sizes.
However, the appearance of the community does not determine whether a complex is a condo or a PUD (planned unit development); it is a matter of ownership and how the community was set up. Some communities look like PUDs, but are actually condominiums. For example, Lakewood in South Windsor, CT is a PUD (sometimes called PAD for Planned Area Development) whereas Whitney Crossing in Vernon, CT (which is a community of detached homes) is listed as a condominium.
In a condominium, the individual units are owned by each tenant, but all the common areas are owned by the tenants jointly (as tenants in common). In a planned unit community, each tenant owns the unit and may have rights and responsibilities to the property the unit sits on; ownership of the common areas is shared among the association.
The Homeowner Association fees vary widely among condos and PUDs; some PUDs have very low fees, but not always. A prospective buyer should find out exactly what amenities are available and what the HOA fees cover. Some condominium communities seem to have higher fees but may include heat, hot water, basic cable, etc. Communities with very low fees may only pay for snowplowing and maintenance of common grounds.
In addition, don't rely on MLS to find out if a community is a condo or a PUD/PAD. I have seen some units in the same complex listed as condos, while other units are listed as PUDs/PADs.
A prospective buyer must delve deeper into the bylaws and written documents of the community to find out the extent of one's rights and responsibilities. Both types of ownership may have restrictions on such things as pets, maintenance, improvements, subleasing, insurance, etc. The legal documents will tell you the boundaries of your property, your responsibilities for repairs (as well as the community's responsibilities), what changes if any you can make to the exterior, etc.
Why does this matter to a buyer? You will want to know this information before making a decision about purchasing, so don't wait until you have written a contract before getting the information. The type of ownership will have a great impact on the type of financing and insurance you will need.
This post describes very general distinctions between condos and PUDS, but prospective buyers should be aware that the terms are not interchangeable. Please verify type of ownership to see if the property would be right for you.
If you are buying or selling a home in Hartford County or Tolland County, please call me, email me, or visit my website. I would be happy to help you with your home search or provide a market analysis for your home.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.