The Minimalist Guide to Housing Options

by Dori Tery on March 22, 2013

Smart Buying in Action – Your Housing Options

For most people, lifestyle is a major player in their housing choice. Kids, schools, pets, privacy, sociability, space, and other lifestyle concerns tend to point people toward one type of housing or another. The needs-versus-wants issue also plays a major role. Many people would like to live in a mansion, but that kind of housing just does not fit into many monthly budgets. Together, your lifestyle, wants, and needs, constrained by your monthly budget, provide focus on a realistic housing alternative for you. You know what kind of lifestyle you have, but you might not know what type of housing will best suit it. In fact, you might not even know what types of housing are available. Let’s take a minute to examine the basic choices.

House- A house is the popular choice for most individuals because it offers space and privacy. It also offers greater control over style, decoration, and home improvement. If you want your home to build equity or wealth, buying a house may be a good choice. However, home ownership, carries with it more work than do other housing choices. If you own the house, you are responsible for maintenance, repair, and renovations. Some of these you can DIY with some basic handyman skills. Others will require contacting professional help, like Johnson Construction Company.

A cooperative or co-op is an apartment building or group of apartments owned by a corporation in which the residents of the building are the stockholders. The residents buy stock in the corporation, which in turn gives them the right to occupy a unit in the building. Although the residents do not own their units, they do have a right to occupy their units for as long as they own stock in the cooperative. When you “buy into” a co-op, you buy shares of the corporation that reflect the dollar value of your “space”. The larger the size of your space and the more desirable its location, the more shares you have to buy. One problem with co-ops is that you may have a tough time getting a mortgage because many banks and other financial institutions may be uncomfortable using the stocks as collateral. In addition to purchasing stock in the corporation, shareholders also have to pay a monthly homeowner’s fee to the cooperative corporation, which in turn is responsible for paying taxes and maintaining the building and grounds. There can also be special assessments in addition to the normal maintenance fees to take care of large maintenance items.

The Benefit of Owning a Cooperative

housing optionsWhether or not a cooperative is for you depends on your lifestyle. If you are looking for an affordable, low-maintenance situation with a good helping of shared amenities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, health centres, and security guards, a cooperative may be a good alternatives. However, if you are more interested in privacy and control over style and decoration, a co-op may be a poor choice. In addition, co-ops generally have less potential than houses for capital appreciation, and they can be difficult to sell.

How‘s about owning a condominium and planned unit development units?


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