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how to: buy a home

Ready for a new nest? Whether you’re looking for your very first place, or it’s time for an upgrade, we’ve got guides on renting or buying a home that will help ease you through the process. Start with the basics -- condo, co-op, or house? Our home buying help will give you the pros and cons of every option. After deciding what you want, you’ll need to settle on where to live. Our tips on how to find a home will help you pick the right neighborhood and even tell you how to give it a test drive! If you’ve already narrowed in on a neighborhood, you’ll want a real estate agent, and we’ve got the questions you must ask before you hire one. Once you’re on the house hunt, our Q&A can help you through every step of buying a home. From dealing with agent fees, how much to bid, managing mortgages -- even when it’s smarter to rent. You’ll find home buying help for every sticky situation. In addition to tips on buying a house, we’ve also got advice on selling your old one. Take a peek at our advice on organizing an open house, the dos and don’ts of selling it yourself, and our handy selling your home checklist. Our tips on buying a house will take you right through to the end, from dealing with inspections to making an offer. Once you’re ready to make your move, check out our moving checklist and the first things you should do in your new space. Welcome home!

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Real Estate Q&A: Condo vs. Co-op?

Q.

The Nest Q&A

What’s the difference between a condo and a co-op?

A.

Here's the deal: If you buy a co-op, you don't own the actual aparment; you own shares in an association that owns it. The affairs of the building is controlled by a board of managers usually made up of fellow owners, and this board gets to green-light how monthly maintenance fees are spent. To buy into the building, you also have to get approved by yep, you guessed it, the board. Typically, co-ops are less pricey and have lower maintenance fees than condos, and your property taxes are included in them. The catch: They require you to put 30 to 50 percent down (ouch!). 

If you buy a condo, you acutally own the deed to your apartment and have to pay separate property taxes on it. Condos also have boards of managers, but you won't have to be grilled, er, approved, by a board in order to buy. The purchase price may be higher, but you only need to plunk down 10 to 20 percent as your down payment. You also have more flexibility about making renos to your place, owning a pet, and potentially subletting, whereas co-ops have stricter rules.

-- The Nest Editors

See More: Buying a Home , Real Estate , Real Estate Q&A