To the untrained eye, there could be a no difference between an apartment, a condo, a flat and loft. Although granted, there is a little difference between one and the other, architects, real estate brokers, contractors and land developers would tell you different. Below we discuss the main differences between an apartment, a condo a loft and a flat.
There is no physical difference between an apartment and a condo. They both could look like each other. In some cases, apartments have been converted into condos and vice versa (this is called a condo conversion). The only main difference between the two is ownership. Condos (or condominiums) are usually owned by a single individual while an apartment is normally owned by a developer or consortium. The individual who owns the condominium is the one who is responsible maintenance of the area. The condos could be also owned by a group of individuals, but apartments are mostly owned by a developer.
Another difference between the two is that with a condo you have full ownership of the dwellings if you bought it. This means you are able to make whatever changes you would like to have. You can change the interior design and the exterior. This is not possible in the case of apartments.
Owning a condo means that you own a part of the property or a percentage of it in that there are some resources in which you will have to share with other condo owners. For example things like parking, tennis courts and swimming pools are jointly owned with the other condo owners and you are all responsible to taking care of them.
Apartments are normally a small part of a multi-storied building. The apartment can be either rented or owned by the tenants who are staying there. Even though the apartment could be bought, the owners still have to respect the rules of the developers. There are many kids of apartments from studio apartments to garden apartments.
Renting an apartment is a better option for someone who is constantly moving, while condos are better suited for someone who looking for something more permanent.
City ordinances are the ones that sometime help to properly define what a condo is and differentiates it to what an apartment is.
Condos could be ownership of individual units in a multi-structure with joint ownership of the commonly used property. The owner of the condo in the multi-structure unit owns shares in the total building and his or her designated space.
In apartments, the lease is paid to the developers while in condos the lease is paid to an individual. With developers, it easy to have anything that has a problem fixed, with condo’s it’s more complicated especially if the owner is not available.
In condos, utilities — including water, electric and insurance — are not shared among the units, while in apartments the utilities are shared within the whole multi-storied building. The bills of the utilities are divided equally with the number of units in the building.
A flat is a term mostly used in Britain and Europe to signify an apartment.
While a loft is a whereby a warehouse has been converted into a living area.
Lofts were originally meant to be cheap living accommodations for artists where they would work and live. Due to recent zoning prohibition the people who live in lofts are not meant to work and live there at the same time.
Lofts are mainly derelict and abandon spaces in parts of urban areas. These lofts tend to be bigger than flats as they have more room for the people to live in. Flats are mostly small to medium sizes. There are few cases where flats would be large.
Flats have rooms that have been evenly partitioned and planned for as there is a plan for a kitchen, rooms, bathrooms and any other facilities that are required. With lofts, it’s mostly a make shift house where the rooms have been haphazardly created or it’s just a wide open space.