In different areas of the world these terms may mean something very different. I have many clients who move here from abroad so this is for them. Here are the basics for any newcomers.
An apartment you would rent, no ownership, and is typically one floor, smaller in size, and in a common building. Somebody else owns the building, owns the unit, can dictate what you do to the unit, and sets the rent. Rents can change over time.
A condo you own what’s between the walls of the unit. There are common areas (the grounds, the streets, the swimming pool, etc.) that are owned in common with the other unit owners in the development.
All these common areas, amenities, and maintenance cost money. So condominiums developments have condo fees, AKA homeowner association fees, to pay for these items. These condominium association fees typically cover the common areas, exterior items like the siding and roof, trash pick-up, road maintenance, etc.
There are also homeowner associations(HOA) consisting of owners in the development. They must act in accordance to the recorded condominium documents and bylaws that where formed when the development was approved. This group will make decisions on how to run the development, they can set the rules(covenants), and will usually be the ones to set the HOA fees.
Most associations hire a management company to handle the daily responsibilities, from selecting landscaping companies, getting contractor bids, responding to inquiries, or handling the financial aspects of the condominium development.
So what’s the difference: you owning the space(more control) OR somebody else owning it (less control).
Just my thoughts.
Check out my blog post about types of condominiums.
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