Being the owner of a condominium (or condo), is similar to being the owner of an apartment in many cities. Upon purchasing, you become the owner of the property. A property deed is transferred to you, then filed in the public registry. You also become the owner of a percentage of the common parts of the building, as well as other owners. The building mangmeent is most of the time outsourced to a company appointed by the condo board (similar to a French “syndic”), to which maintenance costs are due every month. In addition, each owner is required to pay a property tax (Real Estate Tax) to New York City. However, some condos have a tax abatement program.

Condominiums are common in most American cities, but in Manhattan, they only represent 20 to 30% of the total housing stock. Therefore, the majority of properties in New York are Co-Ops.


Buying a Co-op is still the most common way for long-term ownership in New York city (70% to 80% of the apartments in New York are Co-operative buildings). Buying a “co-op” means buying shares in a corporation, which owns the building. These shares  are held by the people living in the building. This means that all decisions regarding the building must be taken by the “co-op” board.

It is up to the cooperative to pay the full amount of the mortgage on the building, property taxes, employees’ salaries and various maintenance costs. In return, the shareholder-owner pays a percentage on total expenses in proportion to its contribution to the cooperative. His share is prorated on the size and the floor of the apartment. In Manhattan, prospective purchasers shall provide a 20 to 100% deposit of the purchase price.

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