Why buy a coop?There are lots of reasons to buy a coop in the DC metro area ranging from affordability to stability to convenience. In addition, there are some wonderful buildings in the DC area like the Promenade, the Chastleton and the Broadmoor that will make you fall in love and want to get to know coops in more detail.

Affordability is One Reason to Buy a Coop

Why buy a coop? Coops often offer a more affordable housing option compared to traditional ownership or renting. As a shareholder in the cooperative corporation, you don’t own real property; instead, you own shares in the corporation that owns the building. This can result in lower upfront costs and monthly expenses.  In the DC area, many people are unfamiliar with coops and are put off by the high monthly fees – because they do not understand fully that those fees include property taxes and typically include all or most utilities.  This confusion often leads to lower prices on coops than on comparably sized condos.   Additionally, some coops have regulations that limit the resale price, ensuring affordability for future buyers. Financing a coop is slightly different than financing a condo because you are buying shares of stock rather than real estate when you purchase a coop so you have to use specific lenders.

Community is a Reason to Buy a Coop

Coops foster a strong sense of community. Residents typically have a say in how the cooperative is run, making decisions collectively about building maintenance, policies, and other important matters. This collaborative environment can create a tight-knit community among residents.  Because the owners are tied together by virtue of their shared responsibility for maintenance, taxes and utilities (through the coop fee), there is a greater need to collaborate than one would find in a condo community.

Stability is an Answer to Why Buy a Coop

Unlike renting, where a landlord can dictate changes or even decide to sell the property, in a coop, residents have more control. They can have a say in major decisions, which can provide a sense of stability and security regarding the property.  Most coops restrict whether a coop can be rented and the length of time that the lease can run.  Therefore the percentage of owner occupants will always be high in a coop building.  If you ask yourself, “Why buy a coop?”, the answer may be that you want to know your neighbors and not have a lot of turn over.

Potential Long Term Investment Value

Why buy a coop? You may decide to buy a coop because it might increase in value. While coops may have lower market appreciation compared to traditional real estate, they can still be a good long-term investment. If the cooperative’s value increases over time, the value of your shares may also increase.

Shared Resources and Amenities

Coops often provide shared amenities such as common spaces, gardens, gyms, or laundry facilities. These shared resources can add value and convenience to your living situation without the responsibility of individual maintenance.  Some coop buildings like the Westchester even have a restaurant within the community.

Variety of Choices Among Coop Buildings

Once you have answered your question of “Why buy a coop?” with a resounding yes, you need to choose the building.  There are lots of different choices in the size and style of coops in the DC metro area.  There are large buildings like the Promenade in Bethesda and elegant pre-war buildings like the Westchester on Cathedral or the Broadmoor on Connecticut Avenue in DC.  There are even small ones like the ones on Porter Street NW (eight to a building) or Macomb Street, NW (four to a building.)   You have lots of choices in buying a coop!   Once you have decided to buy a coop, you should give the Lise Howe group a call at 240-401-5577 or email us at LIse@lisehowe.com.  Not every Realtor understands the ins and outs of a coop building, the financing and the related rules, so you will definitely want to talk with an expert.

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