In SW DC, Cooperative housing is commonplace. Often slightly undervalued, and thought of as second rate, there are significant adavantages to owning and living in a Coop as compared to a Condominium.
Let me start by saying most if not all Coop's have some sort of rules set up about Membership qualifications and restrictions on leasing out the unit. So if a rental investment is the point of the purchase, these do not apply. Usually an owner has to live in the unit for at least 2 years as a primary residence before the unit can be rented out, at which point a cap on rental term for life of ownership is typical as well.
But if the purpose is to live in the Coop, then life is streamlined and easy going.
- Though Coop fees are usually higher than Condo fees, they almost always include Master insurance policy, property taxes, and utilities. The point is, its a bundle package.
-Maintenence is taken care of by the building managment, almost always at no charge. As well as exterminator and security. Because all owners own equal shares of stock in the company that is their building, any damages that occur from one unit to the other is covered by the master insurance policy. Where as, if you own a condo and your bathtub leaks, you are responsible for any damage to any other units caused by the leak.
-Because there is a much higher rate of owner occupancy, the common grounds tend to be more taken care of.
-Coop Buildings can more easily take out a large loan for maintenence, and spread out the payments over many years, whereas a condo building would have to make a one time "special assessment" to each owner for say, a roof repair.
Yes there are problems with coops. The restrictions and interviews to even buy one, the lack of lenders that work with coops, the rental restrictions, the typically lower resale value. But there are some really wonderful coop buildings and communities that are great places to own and live, and significantly more bang for your buck. Contact me now for more information on coops in DC