Condo vs. Townhouse: What’s the Difference?

One significant question to ask when you are looking for a home is, “What type of living arrangement would I be most comfortable with?” If the traditional family home is out of the question, there is a good chance you may consider either a condo or a townhouse. Both share some similarities but also have differences that set them apart. Deciding on which one will be more suitable for you will depend on making a comparison and deciding on which one sounds like the better fit for your housing needs. It can be of great help to conduct some in-depth research on these two housing types and even jump on some community forums in real estate about what previous residents thought about living in each one.

Defining a Condominium

A condo shares some similarities with an apartment unit in the sense that it is an individual residence that resides in a building or community of buildings (as known as a complex). But it differs from an apartment in a significant way. A condo is owned by the resident instead of being rented from a landlord. Of course, the owner can rent it, but for the most part, it’s a single-family unit clustered together with similar properties. Condo floor plans vary by building and can have various units per floor. Depending on the layout of the condominium complex, you may have neighboring residents in other units that are above, below, or next to you. Condos can be found almost anywhere in major cities and can vary from ultra-luxury to more affordable housing units.

The Features of a Townhouse

A townhouse can also be owned by a resident and is usually attached to one or more walls that are shared with a neighboring townhouse. They are two to three stories high but don’t have any other units above or below them as a condo would have. Townhouses are a very popular choice for first-time buyers and families that are just starting to step into the world of real estate.

A Comparison: Which Should You Buy?

When you compare both of them in terms of affordability, condos are less expensive than townhouses because they come with no land. However, condo owners will have to pay monthly homeowners’ associations (HOA) fees that tend to be set at a higher rate than townhome fees to cover maintenance costs of the property. In addition, both housing types are structured differently and look very different, so it will depend on personal preference. A condo lacks both a front yard and a backyard, while a townhouse may have a very small backyard and little to no front yard.

Ownership as a Defining Feature

When you decide to take a step to purchase a condo, you own your unit while sharing the rest of the property with other condo owners. On the other hand, owning a townhouse leans more toward owning a detached single-family home. Once the mortgage on the townhouse is paid off, you will own the structure and the land under it. The main difference is the townhouse will share some walls with other neighboring townhomes. For more information on condos and townhouses, you can click here and see how a real estate agent can offer their guidance so you can make the best-educated decision for your next place of residence.