Definition of "Condominium"

Michael Strickland real estate agent
Michael Strickland, Real Estate Agent RE/MAX SAVANNAH

So, you’re out and about your homebuying dream and then you stumble upon this question: what is a condominium? Like, you think you know what is a condo home, but it's so hard to explain...

It's ok; it happens to the best of us.

It's not easy defining what is a condominium;  condos are one weird body. Keeping up with its weirdness, we could say that condominium is a form of home ownership in which the owner exclusively owns the airspace within the walls but doesn’t own the actual walls, ceilings or floors of the home and anything beyond those.

But enough with the weird. Let’s make this easy and fun. What is a condo home? Let’s put it in a way that anyone can understand. The best way to describe what is a condominium is by defining it as a place within a place. And, while the interest is different from one to the other, you have ownership over both.

Example: an apartment within a condominium building, or a single-family house within a gated community. You accrue ownership of both, but the smaller unit – the apartment or the house - is 100% yours, while the rest – the common areas like gym, pool, lobby, laundry room, elevators…- are collectively owned by all other residents within the condominium and managed by associations such as a Homeowners Association.

Because the ownership is influenced by the neighbors – as you and they share common areas and, sometimes, services – it will vary from condo home to condo home if you can  rent your condo to someone else, or if it’s a “owner’s only” type of property.

So, as you can see, it's hard to define what is a condo home. In the end, a condominium is not so much a place, but a form of ownership. 

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