Q&A: What is a Fee Simple Condo?

What is a fee simple condo? – Tim, Delaware

TownhouseThanks for taking the time to ask the question, Tim. And you are right on! Sometimes real estate agents – as with all other professions – use the jargon too much. And this time I’m guilty.

First we need to look at your question and break it down.

What is a condo?

A condo is a collection of units where the owner owns the interior walls of the unit, and an association of owners maintains the exterior of the property. For this service, every owner in the unit will pay a “condo fee” which is used to pay for the maintenance of exterior portions of the home.

What is owning a home fee simple?

Owning a home fee simple is a hybrid between single-family home ownership and owning a condo. The majority of fee-simple properties will share at least one common wall with another unit and the roof. However, as owner of the unit you own everything within the prescribed lot — from the mineral rights in the soil to the airspace rights above and often more important the exterior of the unit and the front and back yards.

Because you take care of your own portion there is no fee charged soley for building maintenance, however if something were to go wrong the building owners would have to come together to take care of the problem. So rather than having the association put a new roof on your unit, you’ll have to divide it up among the unit owners in the building to get a new one put on.

Hope that helps.

Photograph by Dan Lat and used via license of Stock.xchng.

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