Whenever you’re in the market for a new home, seeing all of these different words can be confusing. Did you think a condo was just an apartment? Are you confused by duplexes and townhouses? Well, you’re not alone. The names of different types of houses and housing units can be confusing. The easiest way to make things clear is to break down each one and compare the differences.
What Is A Condo?
A condo, or condominium, is a building that has many different living areas in it. Each area has its own entrance, even if to a hallway, and its own amenities, such as bathroom and kitchen. It is very similar to an apartment. The difference is that in a condo, you own the area that you live in. While you can rent a condo, in most cases, you will buy it instead. When you do rent a condo, you’re renting the area that one person owns rather than renting from the building owner. Condos aren’t owned by one person, they are owned by the community. They are owned by the tenants collectively. While one person may have purchased it to begin with, contracts ensure equal rights within the community.
What Is A Townhouse?
A townhouse is simply a house that is sandwiched by two other houses. There may be a backyard, but there is no access to the exterior sides of the house. A townhouse can be rented or owned and can even be turned into a duplex. It is simply a style of house instead of a type of housing. However, townhouses and condos can look very similar upon first glancing at them. But townhouses always have two walls covered by other buildings. Whereas condos aren’t about what they look like but rather how they are used. Condos are like apartments while townhouses aren’t associated with apartments.
Differences Between A Condo And A Townhouse
When it comes to a condo, you have full ownership of the unit you live in yet share joint ownership of the building. The joint ownership is shared with the other tenants rather than a landlord. But the ownership doesn’t end with the building. You also own part of the gym, pool, and any other amenities involved. You even own part of the hallway, yard, and airspace. This is your property, similar to the way that a married couple may share a property. When it comes to townhouse ownership though, it is usually just one family involved. Whoever bought the townhouse owns it. The ownership works just like any other type of home, you even own the small piece of land it sits on.
HOA, the homeowners’ association, will become an everyday name if you live in a condo. Both of these options have an HOA. The rules of the condo and townhouse are often set by the HOA. But the terms are different. In a condo, the people of the HOA own part of the building. They take care of the common areas and maintenance. They can collect fees among other things. In a way, the HOA is more strict in a condo. In a townhouse, there is a line. You own the property. There may be an HOA that makes rules since the walls of your home are attached to other homes but they don’t have as much power.
Cost is always a factor, whether you’re building a house or buying. Both condos and townhouses tend to be cheaper than houses that are detached. But when it comes to a condo vs. a townhouse, there is a smaller difference. A condo is usually a bit cheaper because you don’t have to buy any land. Property payments are shared with the other tenants and distributed by HOA. Townhouses on the other hand are handled by you, the homeowner. Contact a realtor to find out the range of condos and townhouses in your area. They can give you an accurate range of what you are looking for to help you compare the two in your area.
If having your own yard is important, then don’t even consider a condo. You can have a courtyard but it will be shared with other tenants. If you choose a condo, you won’t have any personal outdoor space. When it comes to townhouses, you can have your own backyard and occasionally a small front yard. You may have to follow rules but they shouldn’t be too strict.