When you’re looking for a new place to call home, it can be tough to decide what type of property is right for you. One potential popular option is a condo, while another is a townhouse. Both condos and townhouses have their pros and cons, so it’s essential to understand the difference between them before you make a decision.
However, what is the difference between a condo and a townhouse? In this article, we will take a look at the key differences between them so that you can make the best choice about the style of property that suits your lifestyle and financial needs.
Owning a Condo vs. Townhouse
A townhouse is a semi-attached home where walls separate one or more units. On the other hand, condo units are part of a larger building complex, similar to apartments. Owning a condo and a townhouse offers two distinct homeowner experiences, including what you’ll own, how much it will cost you, and which parts of the property you’ll have to maintain.
If you need a real estate agent committed to helping you find the right condo or townhouse, get in touch with Homes by Ardor today!
What is a Condominium?
A condominium is a real estate investment characterized by individual units or apartment-like spaces owned and rented for short periods. Condo owners acquire the interior space or living area within their property and have shared access to common facilities like pools, fitness centers, and grounds.
What is a Townhouse?
Townhouses are typically attached units with two or more stories comprising shared walls. While condominiums and townhouses are the primary distinctions, townhouse owners also own the lot their building is on, which isn’t true with condo complexes.
Comparing the Condo Community and Townhouse Residents
A big part of the condo vs townhouse debate comes down to the advantages! Let’s take a closer look at what may influence your decision as a buyer.
Ongoing costs is where we enter a divide. For a start, both condo and townhouse owners can expect to pay monthly homeowners association fees. These dues go towards the cost of maintaining common areas, like the roof or shared pool facilities.
When it comes to financing, condo buyers only need to qualify for the mortgage on their unit. This means that condo owners may secure financing more easily than townhouse owners since townhouse buyers need to be eligible for a mortgage on the entire property.
If you need help getting pre-qualified for your mortgage, contact Homes by Ardor for assistance. That way we can help you find the perfect home within your price range. This also gives you an upper hand when dealing with competing offers from other buyers who are not pre-qualified.
Maintenance and Other Responsibilities
One thing most condo owners love is not having to deal with exterior maintenance. Condo owners are primarily responsible for interior and private attached spaces. HOAs take care of exterior maintenance such as lawn care, snow removal, and cleaning common areas.
On the other hand, townhouse owners must maintain their unit’s interior and immediate exterior. Their HOAs tend to go towards keeping walkways in good repair and performing some landscaping.
Both can be subject to independent rules and regulations set by their HOA. These can range from restrictions on pet size to how many people can be over at once.
Condominiums are often part of other structures, such as apartment complexes. They have at least one, if not many, walls in common. Condo towers are likely to share similar neighbors both above and below. From an architectural standpoint, think of a condominium as a self-contained apartment.
A townhouse is a two-story, single-family home that may share walls with other houses. Townhouses are more about aesthetics than condos are. Townhouses, on the whole, have a more conventional appearance. They’re generally two stories tall and side by side like an eastern brownstone or row house. In some cases, you can find one-level townhouses. These are often referred to as “Patio Homes.”
Pricing is perhaps the most significant difference when choosing between a townhouse or a condo. Condos tend to be less expensive because you only own the condo’s interior, which helps with property taxes and insurance costs but increases HOA fees to maintain the land.
On the other hand, buying a townhouse includes the land it is on, which can lead to higher property taxes but often leads to lower HOA fees because you will need to maintain the property yourself.
Townhouses are typically found in more suburban areas, while developers generally create condos in metropolitan areas. Furthermore, townhouses often appeal to families, while condos are often more popular with young professionals.
The primary advantage for both condo buildings’ residents and townhouse dwellers is convenience and accessibility. Many buyers also take into account the shared facilities provided to unit owners. Think about it, why go to the gym when everything you need is just outside your front door?
There are some key differences between the two property types when it comes to privacy. Condominium units are less private than townhouses because they have shared walls, amenities, and common areas. Whereas townhomes have fewer common walls and separate entrances, they also offer a private outdoor space.
For those that enjoy social interactions, you’ll find a stronger sense of community in these properties than what is offered by a detached single-family home. Nowadays, developers include clubhouses and neighborhood activities in new communities. So if you’re the type of person who enjoys socializing, a condo or townhome development may be just what you’ve been searching for!
In general, townhouses owners are typically older than condo owners since they were originally designed for suburban families, while developers designed condos for young urbanites. The lack of responsibility for exterior maintenance makes the condo much more appealing for young professionals as first-time home buyers. Young adults may also not need the extra square footage of a townhouse compared to a family.
For condos, the development’s Condo Association will insure the building. To protect their belongings against loss, homeowners who live in condominiums should obtain condo insurance as well.
Depending on the townhome development, the owner might need a homeowners insurance policy or a renters insurance policy for their belongings if the association provides insurance for the buildings.
The assessed value of your home and the local mill levy are the two elements that determine how much property taxes you’ll pay each year. The assessor calculates the assessed value based on several factors, including lot size, square footage, number of bedrooms or bathrooms, and comparable homes nearby.
The number of amenities and services in your community affects the mill levy. Public schools, libraries, police stations, fire departments, parks, trails, and open spaces are all examples of local amenities and services. Therefore, you may have a higher mill assessed based on the number and quality of your area’s amenities and services.
Because both condos and townhomes are generally smaller than single-family houses, their costs are typically lower. In addition, because the shared areas and amenities are available to everyone in a condo complex or townhouse cooperative, property taxes are reduced, which is great for young professionals and small families.
Considerations for Condos and Townhomes
While they each have their perks, certain individuals may find aspects of living in condo and townhouse communities challenging, based on their lifestyle needs:
For one thing, condo and townhome life provides considerably less seclusion than a single-family house. In addition, the shared walls may mean that you hear other people in their units, and that your neighbors might hear you.
Living in a condo or townhome complex entails following rules, regulations, covenants, and restrictions. These rules make the community more alluring to a larger audience. While limitations might appear draconian to some, others view them as a perk.
It’s critical to get a firm grasp of any neighborhood restrictions and limitations before moving in, condominiums and townhome complexes, and single-family homes with an HOA.
You agree to adhere to the community’s rules, covenants, and customs when you buy a home in an area governed by one. If you don’t follow these regulations, you may get warnings, fines, or even have a lien filed against your property. Therefore, if you feel that adhering to these standards will be difficult for you, or you feel they are too restrictive, this may be an important consideration.
For animal lovers, a disadvantage of living in a condo or townhome development is that pet restrictions can apply. Homeowner associations can implement breed and weight limits, usually focusing on so-called “trouble” breeds. So, if you have or plan to acquire a “dangerous breed” or big dog weighing more than 45 pounds, it may pay to check pet policies as you explore your options.
Condo and townhome living may have limited parking spaces. Most condominiums have restricted parking choices such as carports or assigned spaces for outside parking. Some condos do have garages, albeit they are uncommon.
Townhomes are similar in this regard, although townhomes are more likely to include a garage that will accommodate only one vehicle. If you have more than one car, you may want to think about this before buying.
Another factor to consider when purchasing a condo or townhouse is storage, which is somewhat related to the previous one. While both condos and townhomes will most likely have storage, they may be limited in size as the units are not as large as a single-family home.
If you require more than a small closet’s worth of storage space, you can always opt for offsite storage. However, if you must pay for that storage, your savings from buying a condo or townhome could diminish.
Another financial factor to consider while researching any HOA-incorporated community is the costs. Condominium and townhome communities often have HOAs, which charge fees. These charges help to cover the maintenance of the community and the amenities available to residents.
It’s critical to grasp what association fees you’ll be responsible for before closing on a home located in a Common Interest Community. In many situations, high costs may negate the savings you get from paying less.
Another possibility is “special assessments,” fees levied to make repairs and conduct essential maintenance. Owners typically pay these expenses when the cost of improvements outweighs the reserve fund balance. However, special assessments tend to be highly divisive because they usually stem from poor planning and a lack of insight into the property’s condition and reserve funds.
So, Condo vs Townhouse: Which Is Right For You?
Now that you know the key differences between condos and townhouses, it’s time to decide which one is right for you. Both have their benefits and drawbacks, so it’s essential to weigh your options carefully before deciding.
If you want an easy-to-maintain property with little exterior maintenance, then a townhouse may be right for you. However, if you’re looking for more flexibility with your living space or want to be part of a larger community, becoming a condo owner may be a better fit.
Homes by Ardor is the quickest way to find, purchase and sell the right property at the best price. We work with top real estate professionals from all over the country, so we have plenty of properties in diverse locations! If you want to avoid the hassle of house hunting and ensure a smooth process, contact Homes by Ardor today. We are always on hand to make purchasing and selling a property fast, simple, and pleasant, so you can focus on what matters in life.