Condominiums have grown in popularity over the past three decades as an alternative form of home ownership. If you are considering this option, the following information should prove helpful.

A condominium can be an ideal starter home since it may cost considerably less than a single family home in the same neighbourhood. However, a condominium can restrict your freedom through a list of rules and by-laws governing how you may use the unit. It's important to be fully aware of the corporation's by-laws before you buy.

In an equity co-operative, the owner is not registered on title but receives a proprietary ownership. The corporation is registered on title and issues a share certificate to each owner. The corporation owns the property and the rights of occupation come from a separate agreement that sets out the exclusive right of each owner to occupy a certain unit. This agreement also sets out the ower's obligations to pay a proportionate share of the building's mortgage, operating expenses and property taxes. Since responsibility for payment of taxes and mortgage in a co-op is joint, if one owner goes into default, the other owners must make up the shortfall or risk losing their equity. Many older co-ops have no mortgage and Buyers must pay cash since most banks are reluctant to finance share certificates. However, there are some institutions that provide financing for these types of properties.