Vintage Co-op Buildings

 

 

Co-operative Apartments in Chicago

 

New York is known for its co-op buildings, but Chicago has its share of co-operative apartments, too.

Before condominium law was "invented", co-operative apartment leases were the only way that one could "own" in a multi-unit building. Technically, one owns a "share" of stock in the building, and the building leases an apartment in return for that stock ownership. 

Some of the differences between co-op and condo ownership:

  • Property taxes are due in ONE bill, and are then subdivided by the building's board. There are no separate property tax numbers.
  • Because there are no separate tax bills, every member of the building is responsible for the tax bill - if one defaults, the other residents must make up the deficit. That's one of the reasons why co-ops approval of buyers' financial situations are a pre-requisite to buying in these buildings.
  • Some of these buildings have a mortgage on the building itself, and the owners are all responsible for making a mortgage payment as part of their assessments.
  • Because the mortgage payment and property taxes are paid each month to the building's management, in addition to general maintenance expenses, co-op assessments are significantly higher than condo monthly assessments. When searching for a co-op, ask if the stated assessment includes these figures or if they are added to a stated assessment on the listing sheet.
  • Financing the purchase of a co-op is very different than financing a condominium. Because you are financing a stock purchase and not a purchase of real property, lenders aren't as open to providing money for these transactions. Co-op buildings also impose lending stipulations - some buildings require all cash transactions, yet others may let you finance 75% of the purchase price IF YOU CAN FIND A LENDER WHO WILL PROVIDE THE FINANCING. Each building has different rules- check with your agent for details.

 

Because of all these restrictions, co-ops have longer marketing times than condominiums. 

Over time, the selling restrictions and higher marketing times have caused the price per square foot of co-ops to decline. You will find that (in general), co-ops cost less per square foot, but have higher assessments, If you buy a co-op, expect significantly longer days on market before you receive a contract.