A Quick Guide to Property Types

Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA

Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA

When people think about real estate, they may automatically think of the traditional single family home, complete with all rights and responsibilities that homeownership affords that property. The reality is, however, that real estate can be just as diverse as Philly itself, and each property type offers its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages for buyers.

 

Single-Family Home

When buyers purchase a single-family home, they are usually given full and complete control of their property, minus any easements on the title.

Advantages

  • Owners can build onto their property, increasing value and space.
  • Land is private, and available at will.
  • Financing can be more readily accessible.

Disadvantages

  • All maintenance and repairs are paid at owner’s expense and discretion.
  • May be more expensive to buy and maintain.

 

Condominium

Condominiums are single properties that are part of a community or building with multiple units. They have shared spaces and common areas that are maintained by the condo board for a fixed monthly fee paid by the residents of the community.

Advantages

  • Exterior maintenance and repairs are usually covered by the shared operating and reserve accounts
  • May include amenities, such as a pool, concierge, trash removal and snow removal.
  • Cost for major repairs are split amongst the condominium members

Disadvantages

  • Shared spaces mean less opportunity for private use.
  • Special assessments may be issued to cover unexpected fees and costs.
  • Board determines how property can be used.

 

Homeowners Association

An HOA is an organization responsible for governing and maintaining a specific community. Property owners agree to live by the covenants and rules of the HOA and pay a regular fee for management and maintenance of the community.

Advantages

  • HOA mediates disputes between neighbors.
  • Common areas and amenities maintained by HOA, sharing costs with other owners.

Disadvantages

  • HOA determines exterior standards for your home.
  • Non-payment of HOA dues can lead to foreclosure.

 

Planned Unit Development

A PUD is a community of homes. This can include condos, single-family homes, or even commercial property. They are operated by HOAs that must be paid on a regular basis for maintenance of shared areas.

Advantages

  • Often gated, increasing security.
  • All common areas maintained by HOA, which may help maintain property values.

Disadvantages

  • Restrictions on property use, including pet ownership, parking and property exterior.
  • Properties more densely placed, so lots are smaller and less private.
  • Association dues may be higher than other properties.

 

Co-op

A co-op is a property that is owned by a corporation. When you purchase that property, you purchase shares of that corporation that allow you an exclusive leasehold on your specific unit.

Advantages

  • Dedication to the community is strong.
  • Strong vetting process to ensure right fit in community.
  • May have restriction on selling prices and high resale cost

Disadvantages

  • Residents pay monthly fees for shared expenses and maintenance, such as taxes, mortgage, HVAC and insurance.
  • A co-op purchase is not a real estate purchase.

 

This barely scratches the surface of what you should know about each property type before jumping into a contract. If you are considering a purchase, don’t hesitate to contact me for more guidance on picking the perfect property for your needs.

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