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Residential Real Estate: Choose Your Favorite Flavor

If you're like most people, when thinking about what you're looking for in your first – or next – home, your thoughts soon turn from the community you'd like to live in to a list of features and amenities you'd like to have, ranging from the number of bedrooms and number of baths, to the brand of appliances in your kitchen.

Perhaps just as important a consideration when creating your home buying wish list is the "flavor" of home ownership – typically single-family home, condominium or co-op – that best fits your lifestyle. Each form of ownership has unique characteristics that you, depending on your home ownership goals, may find appealing.

There's nothing like owning a home of your own; this quick overview can help you decide which flavor of home ownership is right for you.

There are three major variations when it comes to the types of home ownership – single-family home, condominiums (condos), and cooperative apartments (co-ops).

Single-Family Home

Purchasers who opt for traditional home ownership are the sole owners of the building and the land it's built on.

Consider owning a single-family home if you'd like to:

  • Have complete control over aesthetic decisions affecting your home; exterior and interior paint color, landscaping, etc.
  • Decide what, when, and how much you are willing to pay for routine maintenance and emergency repairs.
  • Enjoy taking on the responsibility maintaining your home and property.
  • May wish to expand or otherwise alter your home in the future.*
  • Have total flexibility to sell your home when you choose, to any buyer who is willing and able to meet your price.

* Subject to the approval of a homeowner's association if applicable,
as well as applicable local and state laws and regulations.


Owners of condominiums own the living space within their unit. Everything else -the outside walls of your unit and the rest of the structure(s) in the complex, the land, and any amenities such as a tennis court or pool - are owned by your condominium association. Like the owners of single-family homes, you can sell your unit when you choose, to any buyer you choose.

Consider owning a condo if you'd like to:

  • Pay for others to maintain your condo complex for you, through a monthly maintenance fee to your condo association.
  • Leave the management decisions regarding your complex to your condominium board, or take an active part in board activities yourself.
  • Own a studio, loft or other non-traditional living space that may only be available as a condominium in the neighborhood where you'd like to live.
  • Live in an urban area where condos are the most popular and affordable option.
  • Be part of a community that enforces restrictions over changes that you and your neighbors can make to condo units, and to the complex.


Unlike owners of single- family homes and condos, if you're the owner of a co-op you don't actually own the unit you live in; you own a share in the cooperative organization, which grants you the right to live in your unit, subject to the rules of the cooperative.

Consider owning a co-op if you'd like to:

  • Participate in the activities of your co-op organization and have a say in the rules that govern your complex.
  • Enjoy many of the characteristics of living in a condo complex when it comes to styles of housing, location and maintenance of the complex.

Note: Co-ops can be highly selective in approving shareowners, more restrictive than condominium associations when it comes to owning pets, sublets and making alterations to your unit.

Residential Real Estate: Three "Flavors" At-a-Glance
Personal Option
Single Family
Complete control over exterior aesthetic decisions
Complete control over interior aesthetic decisions
Own your interior living space
Own your exterior living space
Own the land upon which your living space is built
Choose when to make routine and emergency exterior repairs
Expand or alter exterior
Maintain the grounds yourself
Pay monthly maintenance for grounds and routine upkeep  
Management decisions made by elected committee  
Converted loft, industrial and other unique living spaces  
Flexibility to sell when and to whom you'd like
Buyer and conditions of sale approved by governing board  

Savor the Full Flavor

We've just given you a small taste of the flavors of home ownership. Finding a great neighborhood, evaluating condo and co-op management and looking at financing options that meet your needs are just of few of the many details a Realty PRO Hansbarger Realty team member is ready to talk with you about. Contact your local Realty PRO Hansbarger Realty professional.

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