Print this page

Townhouse vs. Condominium: What is The Difference

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 20 January 2021 07:19
Difference Between Townhouses and Condos Difference Between Townhouses and Condos

What Is The Difference Between a Condo and a Townhouse?

Are you wondering what the difference is between a townhouse and a condo? A condominium is similar to an apartment, an individual unit owned by the resident but not rented from a landlord like an apartment.

A townhouse is an attached home also owned by its resident and will share a wall with the next door dwelling. They are often in a row and allow greater privacy than you would get in a condominium. They are found in urban areas and suburbs, also in some rural areas.

When you have bought your condo, you own your individual unit and share joint ownership of the building with the other owners.

This includes common areas, the gym, pool, and the airspace. Owning a townhouse is more like owning a family home, as you own both structure and land it occupies, but the structure shares some walls with the next-door neighbor.

Both words relate to terms of ownership, and you own the structure, but not the land that it sits on. If you are in the market for a townhouse, ask what the ownership rights are.

What is The Homeowners Association?

When you have bought your condo or townhouse, you are required to pay a fee every month to the homeowners association (HOA), and this organization handles the day to day maintenance of the shared space, the grounds, and common areas. Often also the roof and exteriors when they require painting and maintenance.

It also establishes rules for the tenants. When you live like this, there are quite many rules, but many people like this structure that it gives them and the shared maintenance.

It makes the townhouse and condo cheaper than owning a family home and is often a good choice for the young first home buyer. Of the two, condos tend to be cheaper as you are not buying land. Often fees are slightly higher. Of course, there are other costs like in a home such as taxes and insurances. The fees tend to be higher because of the jointly owned space.

Selling Your Condo or Townhouse

Like a house, your sale will depend on a range of market factors, often outside the owner's control. However, there are benefits to owning both condos and townhouses.

Because the HOA runs your property, it ensures that the common areas are always looking their best, and this is a big plus if you are selling. People favor that first impression, and it stays with them and will influence them to buy, as long as your home is looking good.

In good times they continue to gain value, and in some areas, pass the family home in popularity and sales.

What you decide to buy will come down to individual choice and your lifestyle. If you are out a lot socially and even away from home quite a bit, the condo can be a perfect choice. If you are home with your family all weekend, you will probably prefer a townhouse.

You really need to make a list with two columns and break down all the fees involved. This will help you make a good evidence-based decision.

Having a condo or a townhouse will allow you to live in a suburb that you may not be able to afford when purchasing a free-standing family home, and this tends to give you a better lifestyle and access to all the best facilities in town.

One important thing to note about both townhomes and condos where an HOA exists is there is the possibility that the association has an automatic right of first refusal when a property comes up for sale. Most of the time, the right of first refusal is not exercised, but it's worth checking beforehand if one exists.

The Layout of Townhomes vs. Condominiums

Townhomes are generally multilevel, making them very livable for families. You will also usually have a small backyard making it easier to host a barbecue and other outdoor activities.

Condominiums can be all on the one level, and you really don't have to do any exterior work; just look after your home inside. The condo will often be cheaper than the townhome because there is limited backyard or land involved.

If you have a pet, a cat, or a dog, it is usually allowed to live with you in your condo or townhome. Quite often, however, there are rules about the number of pets, say one or two, and they are not permitted to run around in the building's common areas.

The condo rules can limit pet ownership, and this is in the form of a written rule voted in in the declaration. Sometimes a homeowners association will prohibit pets, but on a percentage basis, that is rarer.

Having a townhome where your pet and children can go out in the backyard and play is advantageous to the whole family. Townhomes are generally pretty safe as they are often in neighborhoods and sometimes gated communities as well.

Why Buy a Condo or Townhouse

Families who buy condos and townhomes mostly want access to urban areas containing good cafes, restaurants, theatres, and shops and hopefully work. There is so much traffic in our cities now that it is easier to leave the car under your building and walk everywhere if it is too far to walk there is always public transport.

The building can often be a resort in itself, and if you decide to sit around the pool with the children, it can feel like a holiday. We have got used to a convenient, low maintenance way of living when at home, and a condo and townhome both make this way of life easy and accessible to everything we want to do on the weekend.

Usually, there are great parks nearby, with tracks for children to ride their bikes and scooters and meet other kids. It is not uncommon to see a wide range of movie theatres and shops when the weather is less favorable, and we don't want to be outdoors. This way of life is a growing urban trend that has a lot further to run. Both condos and townhomes are usually great buying options for first time home buyers.

Conclusion on Condos vs. Townhomes

Whether you live in a condo or townhouse doesn't really matter, as one of them is sure to suit your budget. It is access to the lifestyle that is really important for both you and your family. If you are looking for fewer maintenance issues due to a lifestyle that consists of traveling for business often, these could be great choices.

Hopefully, you now understand the nuances of both condos and townhouses.

Rate this item
(1 Vote)
Bill Gassett

One of the top RE/MAX agents in New England over the last decade plus. Providing exceptional real estate services to buyers and sellers in the Metrowest Massachusetts area including the following communities: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton and Uxbridge MA.

See my real estate website at Maximum Real Estate Exposure - one of the most visited real estate sites in Massachusetts.

Latest from Bill Gassett