If you aren't the house keeper type of person, with a neat yard that needs the lawn mowing every few weeks, and the idea of cleaning the pool on your weekends and raking the leaves up just isn't your idea of relaxing on the weekend. Then maybe a condo, a co-op or living in a high-rise with views to enjoy as your glass is slowly drained of the merlot is possibly the way for you in this busy world.
Apart from the obvious difference in the type of neighbourhood and where you park the car there is a big difference in the kind of ownership of title that you will have.
In a Condo you have ownership of the four in your living space and you have the right to use all the common areas of the complex you have bought into.Your Condo association will charge you a monthly fee which pays for the upkeep of the premises. Things like the gardens and lawns, the pool and the general maintennence of the complex. More than this you also get to vote on issues concerning the complex, after all you are a shareholder. In some condos you may have exclusive use of an assigned car space. Some you may actually own that space. So before you sign up check with your lawyer what you will actually own or ask the condominium management for exactly what is privately owned and what is collectively owned.It's not a god idea to take the real estate agents spoken word. So get it in writing and signed. Check to see how the utility bills are paid. If they are included in the maintenance fee or like the taxes and mortgages are paid individually.
Now a co-op is different than the condo. If a co-op is your choice you'll own shares in the co-operative. A co-op is a company and you own shares in it. As part owner of a company you don't own the machinery or offices but a piece of the whole. So you don't own your space inside the walls you dwell but you get to sit on the board and collectively decide how your enterprise is run. Taxes, utility bills, and the mortgage payments are paid by all parties jointly in a co-op.
In a Co-op arrangement some problems occur because maybe that same ideal that you may have shared with others when you first arrived may seem to have vanished. Some times a little thing such as how the garden should be, can explode into world war three. Also because everyone shares the responsibility of the expenses they also share the the liabilities if an owner fails to pay their share. A co-op situation may be cheaper to buy into but can be harder to sell, because everyone has to approve of the new purchaser. Though anti-discrimination laws are in place, it's not too hard to ward off the unwanted for one reason or another.
Whether its a Condo Or co-op makes sure that that the management run efficiently and in budget to address the ongoing maintennence of not just the day to day things but also the future replacement costs of such things like the hot water systems, the roof, the pool filter, the painting of all common areas. Many people choose to use an externally run property management company. It can make a lot of sense and save many an arguement.