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House, Condo or Co-op?

House, condo or co-op
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You’ve decided, you’re committed, you’re serious, and ready to make a significant financial investment in a home. The catalyst for your decision could have come from a number of things: starting or expanding your family, receiving a promotion at work, or just tired of paying rent.

Whatever your personal reason to purchase a home, it’s now time to think about your real housing needs. Studio, 2 bedrooms or 3? Hmmm, do you really need that 3rd bathroom?

Let’s think about it– a three-bedroom fixer-upper could fit into your budget more than a modern, four-bedroom with all the upgrades. Smart home buying will always require give and take on your housing needs vs. housing wants, especially when working within a mortgage budget.

What you want will sometimes end up costing more than what you need. I don’t want to rain on your parade, but you can always make improvements on the home you purchase over time.

Now that you have assessed your living needs and willing to be flexible on your housing needs vs. housing wants, it is time to see what type of property is right for you.

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.”

Tony Robbins

If landscaping, painting the exterior of your home, and fixing the roof sounds like torture, a condo or a co-op might be the answer. Condos and co-ops have monthly maintenance fees (also called HOA dues/fees) in addition to your mortgage payment.

The interior of the condo or co-op have few restrictions when it comes to making changes to the property, so you are somewhat free to customize your living space. Keep in mind that most condos and co-ops do not accept FHA loans, so you will need to use a conventional loan.

A condo or co-op may not have extra storage space, and you will be limited on the amount of parking spaces allowed for your unit, if any.

To be a co-op owner you will also need to be approved by the co-op board, which involves an interview process, giving personal/business references, and showing personal financial documents. Depending on what state you live in, the co-op board does not have to tell you why you were turned down, if that was the outcome.
Single family attached and detached houses, on the other hand, offer the most freedom when it comes to various types of renovations. This includes stand alone house, row houses and certain townhomes.

If you wanted to paint the exterior of the home blue among red homes in the neighborhood, you can. With Single family attached houses and row homes, there are no set maintenance fees, but if maintenance issues do arise, i.e. a leaky roof, landscaping, or driveway repair, snow removal you must take care of them at your own expense.

So, which property is right for you – House, Condo or Co-op? Let us know!

We can also assist you with getting pre-approved for a mortgage and if needed, finding a down payment assistance program.


Dana Ash-McGinty

Principal Broker | Realtor® | “The Real Estate Maven”

Dana Ash-McGinty is the Principal Broker of ASH | MCGINTY, a Washington, DC Real Estate Brokerage. This real estate maven has 15+ years experience in residential, commercial and land sales in addition to multi-state residential renovation, re-zoning, and condo conversion projects. A sought after real estate authority, she has been featured on CNN and in various real estate and financial publications. Dana is married to the highly esteemed Dr. Dana W. McGinty, a Washington, DC based internal medicine physician. They are often referred to as “The Danas”.

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