Condo, Co-op, PUD: What's the Difference?
Condos: Walls, floors, ceilings are owned in common by all residents. A homeowners association charges monthly dues for management and maintenance. Owners are subject to covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CCRs); condo value depends on the desirability of the entire development.
Planned Unit Development (PUD): Individuals own the structure and a bit of land surrounding it. There will be a homeowners association, but the land around each unit is kept by individual owners.
Co-op: This is a complex owned by a corporation made up of all the tenants. Larger units owners have more power in how the building is run. You'll pay fees for your portion of taxes, mortgage, repair, and improvement. Co-op owners depend on each other financially, so expect heavy scrutiny of your financial and personal history.
Townhome: This is a term describing an attached row house, not a form of ownership.
What are the advantages of each? Prices are often lower than for a single-family home. Landscaping and maintenance are minimal or nonexistent. Some feel safer in a "cluster" environment.
Disadvantages? Homeowners association dues are an ongoing non-deductible expense. Plus, CCR documents may be complex.