Wondering what is the difference between a condominium and an apartment? Well, differently from the difference between an apartment and a flat, this one is not so much related to word usage; they are actually two different things.
Here’s the thing: whenever someone talks about condominiums they are referring to ownership. When someone says they live in an apartment complex, it means they live in an apartment owned by one single entity – usually a corporation, but in some rare cases one individual – that leases each unit to individual tenants. When you hear about condominiums or “condos”, it means that, instead of being owned by one single entity, those units are owned by different individuals – and its residents can be owners or tenants - but are all managed under a homeowners association umbrella. So, you see; if one unit of the apartment complex is sold to someone else, the apartment complex can no longer be called as such: it becomes a condominium. In short, a condo is an apartment that is owned by someone within a larger dwelling with several other residential units that are collectively owned by all the single-unit owners combined. That is: while the home buyer of a condo owns 100% of its unit, he owns just a part of the collectively-owned shared areas.
Yikes! Got a bit crazy there. Let’s look at a scenario for a clearer understanding:
Elizabeth lives in apartment #501 of a building owned by RentCorp. Allison lives in apartment #502 of the same building. They both pay rent to RentCorp, which does all the maintenance and administration for the building. Elizabeth and Allison live in one apartment complex.
Meanwhile, Garth bought apartment #5 at 808 Main Street from his former lawyer. And his friend Lorne is renting apartment #10 within the same building; his Landlord is his uncle. Garth and Lorne’s uncle pay the Homeowners Association fees so Garth and Lorne can use the common areas like the Gym and the Pool etc. Garth and Lorne both live in a condominium; the former owns a condo, and the latter rents a condo.
Real Estate Advice:
Some apartment complexes don’t allow real estate agents to collect commissions from their work but condominiums do. If you like one apartment complex and really want to live there but you are afraid of missing something regarding the contract and worry you will regret it later, you should find a real estate agent and see if he or she agrees to work with you not for the real estate commission but for a direct fee. This way, the agent will represent you and try, if not to negotiate the prices – because of the number of units they don’t usually bargain - to cover all the pitfalls so you don’t get caught and all your concerns are safely addressed and solved.