Home & Leisure

House Calls: Worried About Zillow

Edith Lank on

Because tenant-owners in a co-op development depend on one another financially, you may need approval by a board of directors. Find out how much of the building's mortgage you could be liable for in addition to any loan you would place to buy your own shares.

A condominium, on the other hand, involves a deed that gives you complete title to your unit "from the plaster in" and a percentage of the "common elements" -- the underlying land, staircase, driveway, elevator, roof, heating system. You own real estate, just as you own your present home, with your own mortgage and tax bill for your unit. In addition, you pay a monthly fee for outside maintenance, repairs, landscaping, recreation facilities and the like.

Before you buy either type, you should be furnished with a daunting amount of material to read. You are particularly interested in the following:

--The financial health of the organization you would be joining. Does it have enough money in reserve to cover major renovations and replacements?

--The condition of the building. Is it likely to need a new roof, elevators, boiler or windows, for which you would bear a share of responsibility?

--The covenants, conditions and regulations you must observe. Could you rent out your unit, paint your front door red, have a roommate under the age of 55, someday sell the unit on the open market?

--The percentage of owner occupancy. More owners and fewer tenants is the preferred situation.

Title Insurance

Dear Edith: Do we really have to buy title insurance for our new home? -- D. S.

Answer: You do if your lender requires it. The lender wants it so that if someone were to ever challenge your right to ownership, it wouldn't be in danger of losing the money lent to you. You'd pay just a one-time fee.

For a small additional amount, you could buy an owner's policy at the same time. In the unlikely situation someone were to take you to court claiming the property really belonged to them, your investment would be protected.


Contact Edith Lank at, at or at 240 Hemingway Drive, Rochester NY 14620.

Copyright 2018 Creators Syndicate Inc.


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