If you’re planning on buying a condominium it helps to know the difference between the variations of the property. There are apartments that are in a cooperative or a co-op, a condominium, and then the very rare and misunderstood condop. Most co-ops are found in larger cities and condominiums in smaller cities or beachfront town such as Panama City Beach.Co-ops, Condos & Condops - OH MY!

The defining difference between a condo and a co-op is ownership. When you purchase a condominium, your unit and a percentage of the common areas that everyone else enjoys belong to you. You’ve purchased actual property. When you buy into a co-op, you have purchased shares in a building cooperation. Though shares allow you to occupy a unit, but instead of a deed to the property, you’ll get a proprietary lease. For both, you’ll need to be approved in order to live there. It’s not as simple as choosing a house and then buying it because you are a willing and able buyer and have the money. In a co-op, the board of the Association can approve or reject a potential owner and their job is to protect the interest of all the owners by selecting the best candidates for our unit. You can be rejected for just about any reason as long as it does not violate the Human Rights Law. This protects people from being rejected due to race, creed, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, citizenship, familial status or occupation. And they don’t even have to tell you why they are rejecting you but of course, it cannot be for the reasons previously mentioned.

When you’re purchasing a condominium, the requirements of the condo board are not as strict as that of a co-op board but they do require applications with financial disclosures. The condo board will usually approve most willing and able buyers, and it does not take as long as a co-op.
Financing is also different. Financing the purchase of a condo is more flexible than a co-op and most buyers can finance up to 90% of the purchase price of a condominium, which means they will need about 10% down unless the condominium is FHA approved. With an FHA loan you only have to come up with 3.5% as a down payment but again, the condo association and complex must be FHA approved in order for you to qualified. Otherwise, you have to apply for a general conventional 10% down loan.

In a co-op situation, the down payment is set by the board and prospective purchasers should be prepared to put at least 20% down of the purchase price.

When it comes to condo association fees or monthly fees and common charges, co-ops call it maintenance and both charges cover the upkeep of the building, any staff that might be on duty, possible utilities and common area maintenance. The co-op owner will only need to make one payment whereas a condo owner will need to make two; one for the maintenance and one for real estate taxes and a share of the interest on the building’s mortgage.

Both condominiums and co-op boards are subject to assessments as well. These are additional fees that may be imposed on the condo or co-op owners for additional maintenance or extensive repairs.

Both co-op shareholders and condo owners get the same tax advantages and deductions as any other homeowner, but co-op shareholders can take a tax deduction for their part of the monthly maintenance fee.


This odd combination was created in 1980 by owners and developers who wanted to get around the IRS rulings the required more of their profits. Because of this, owners and developers decided to divide their building.

“Many condops have substantial and very profitable commercial spaces, but the residents of the owners of the commercial spaces need to be able to cooperate in order to avoid contentious interactions.” Some real estate brokers will use the term condop to refer to a co-op building with condominium rules and they are is every bit as tough on sublets and sales as a standalone co-op. The biggest thing for homebuyers is to research how these two groups of players function and whether there’s any litigation pending whether or not you’re prepared to be a part of this type of community. [Source]

For more information on condos in Panama City Beach or if you’d like some details on any co-ops that might be available please contact our office today.