Condominium versus Cooperative
Condo Ownership = gives you a deed, and a right, to live in a building which is owned by a condo association. You own the air space, and interior partitions within the exterior walls, but not the exterior walls and roof. (You can modify interior non-bearing walls, with permission.) The benefit of such limited ownership is that the association is responsible for the upkeep and repair of the building's exterior and land. As a condominium member you are charged a monthly carrying charge. This carrying charge covers the costs of the above repair and maintenance of your unit, as well as such things as sewer/water, garbage pickup and snow removal, road and clubhouse repair, and other operating costs to preserve the condition of the community.   Since you are the deed holder to your property, you must pay for its property taxes, the cost of which is not included in the monthly condo fee. But, as deed holder, you are able to borrow money against its equity in the form of a mortgage.

Coop Ownership = you do not receive a deed to your individual unit, as you would with a condo.  Instead you essentially buy shares of stock in the overall coop building (or, in Rossmoor's case, a Mutual consisting of multiple houses).  Your proportion of the total shares reflects the size/value of your unit. Think of it as buying shares in IBM.

You don't own any individual identifiable piece of IBM, but rather you're one of many joint owners of ALL its pieces. As a shareholder, you'll receive from the coop association the permanent and exclusive right to occupy your particular unit.

This type of ownership may limit you from modifying the interior of your unit since you do not own, or have responsibility for any of the structure. The appliances are also owned, and maintained, by the coop. Your monthly coop carrying charge therefore, as well as paying for the same amenities and services as the condo fee, also funds the repair or replacement of these interior items should they require attention or break down.

Due to the inclusion of these additional benefits and expenses, the monthly carrying charge for a coop will always be higher than for an equivalent sized condo. But the coop's fixed monthly payment offers the peace of mind of knowing that you will not be responsible for any future unexpected major repair expenses.

Since the coop owner owns shares of stock, while the coop association owns the actual deed to the property, it is the coop association that initially pays the property taxes on all the units. The coop association is also the only entity that is endowed with the ability to borrow against all the units, with a single blanket mortgage, for the purpose of raising money for repairs. The expenses of the property taxes and any mortgage payments are then prorated equitably among all the coop stockholders and are charged to them as part of their monthly coop fees. The portion of the carrying charge covering property taxes and mortgage interest is a tax deduction to the coop owner.

The only insurance you pay is for the inside of your condo or co-op which is like renters insurance.

As individual Mutuals may have different rules, a prospective buyer might find it useful to contact Rossmoor Administration (609-655-1000) directly to inquire about coop-regulations in the specific Mutual in which the unit is located.