Whether it’s your first time buying or you just want to purchase something smaller, townhouses and condos are both great options. Check out the differences between the two to help aid you in your search!
Condominiums are similar to apartments in that you purchase an individual unit inside of a larger building, but not the property it sits on. This generally includes access to the building’s amenities, such as the clubhouse, pool, and gym. However, condo owners are not responsible for the upkeep and repair of these common areas. Because of the number of shared spaces, living in a condo often allows for meeting new people and building a strong sense of community. There is a fairly similar vetting process for loan approval as for a full-sized home; however, the lender will also look at the health of the condo association.
Townhouses are a type of architectural style and usually look like houses that are placed side by side or detached. Traditionally, these units are two- or three-stories tall and may also include common areas like pools and parks. Townhome owners pay a fee to a homeowners association every month and the loan process is the same as buying a full-sized home.
Those who purchase a townhome with “fee simple” ownership are generally purchasing the complete unit, both inside and out, including the land it sits on. This might also include the driveway, yard, or roof. Those who purchase a townhome with “condominium” ownership have the same ownership rights as condos. When you own a condo or townhouse with condominium ownership, you own the interior of the unit and the airspace. All other areas, including the building exterior, lawn and communal areas, are property of the Homeowners Association (HOA). Thus, you’re only responsible for the maintenance of the inside of your individual unit, and you’ll typically pay homeowners’ association dues to cover the maintenance of the building’s exterior, amenities, and common property.
Which is the best choice?
Both townhomes and condos offer less maintenance than a traditional home and generally offer great shared areas. Your decision ultimately comes down to you and your family’s needs and wants. Things you’ll want to take into consideration include location, lifestyle, family growth, and price.