What’s Your Housing Style?

Metro Detroit has many housing options. There are many technical and practical differences between the different types of homes and ownership. What are the pros and cons of buying a Single Family Home, Condominium or a Cooperative? What housing style suits you?

House or Single Family Home

Pros: Privacy, Outdoor Yard space, more available square footage, freedom to renovate
Cons: Longer commutes, higher lump sum costs for upkeep and maintenance
Ownership: You own the house and the land that it sits on
Typical Buyer: Family or someone who likes to entertain-especially outside

A single family house is typically the most common home that most shop for. It typically provides the most control of your property, and typically has larger, family-friendly square footage options. This “control” is a double-edge sword requiring you to have full responsibility and decisions on repairs AND costs. Most single family homes, are located further out from downtown areas and require a commute.


Pros: Location, Low “Hands on” maintenance, Security
Cons: Condo Fees, typically smaller square footage options, Less Control over maintenance and common areas
Ownership: You own the unit, you share responsibility of common and shared amenities like roofs, windows, walkways, driveways and the like.
Typical Buyer: Couple, Single or small family

Buyers like the convenience of prime locations closer to shops, restaurants, etc. Many offer amenities like pools, workout rooms and clubhouses. Many like the “low effort” lifestyle that a condos offers, with costs for snow removal, lawn care, and common areas (pools, sidewalks etc) shared. Usually this deferred maintenance is included in your monthly fees. Watch out! Costs for repairs that are above and beyond what is budgeted by the association are typically recaptured in the form of an “assessment” where the owner pays for costs above their normal monthly fee. You also don’t have full control of these costs, these decisions are made by the condo board-which is typically comprised of common owners.

Cooperative "COOP"

Pros: Location, less maintenance, resident exclusivity, taxes typically included
Cons: Coop Fees, Least control over maintenance and shared areas, less financing options
Ownership: You own “shares” in a “cooperative” that owns the entire building common areas and land. You are given a “leasehold” -which gives you right to occupy the unit that the shares are attached to.

Typical Buyer: Single, Couple, Empty Nester, the traveler

Coops are very popular in places like Hawaii, New York, and other areas where land is scarce. In Detroit, coops typically offer the lowest maintenance, and can be looked at as a hybrid of renting and buying. Detroit coops typically provide a lot of amenities and square footage for your money. You may renovate your unit like you want, but have the least (and worry free) control about how the common area maintenance and costs. The Coop Board makes decisions on behalf of the common share holders. The board can be exclusive about what type of residents that would approve, usually screening out those who are not financially fit, may have criminal histories, etc. Financing options are typically limited to cash purchases, seller financing (land contract) or financing with banks that provide loans for cooperatives-which is rare in this area. Keep your housing options open keeping in mind what YOUR lifestyle will be in 5, 10 or 15 years . The real estate agents at Dwellings Unlimited have extensive knowledge of each of those options including specific neighborhoods, condo and coop complexes. Contact us anytime to explore what YOUR housing style is