As a residential rental specialist covering Tempe, Scottsdale, and Phoenix apartments and condos for some time now, I can’t even count the number of prospects that have told me, “I’m really looking for more of a condo instead of an apartment.” My response to that has always been, “What is it about a ‘condo’ (insert two-handed finger-quotation mark gesture) that interests you more than an ‘apartment’, exactly?” Most of the responses I get start with, “Well, um… you know…” The terms tend to be misused a lot because most people don’t realize that in most cases there is really only one main difference between an “apartment” and a “condo”. That difference has to do with the ownership and offering of the building or community in question.
A condo is purely a form of housing where each unit within the building or complex is individually owned. The condo itself is then either occupied by it’s owner or is rented out to a tenant. An apartment is a form of housing where the building or complex as a whole is owned by a single owner (or in many cases a group of partners) and each unit is then rented out to individual tenants. Still with me?
Let’s look at a great example: The prestigious urban high-rise towers in Downtown Tempe known as West 6th began construction as the “Centerpoint Condos” which were going to be individually sold condos. Like many other projects during the boom and bust, construction came to a halt about halfway through. Ownership changed hands and now you have West 6th apartments which are owned and managed by University Communities, LLC. They own the whole shabang and rent out each apartment individually. Had the original owners followed through with the project they would be considered “condos”. This was the exact same scenario for Sotelo in North Tempe, Ten Wine Lofts in Old Town Scottsdale and many others throughout the valley.
Of course there are other subtle differences between apartment complexes and condo subdivisions like homeowners associations (HOA’s) for condos versus property management teams for apartments, but the aforementioned is what really defines the two. This can also change depending on region, but holds true for the Phoenix metro area. For more information on renting, purchasing, or selling your condo or apartment contact Patrick at (928) 351-7368.