Condos and townhomes are trendy choices for homeowners. This is very true in most urban areas, where local restaurants, coffee shops, and shopping malls are only a walk away! You may be wondering, “Are they worth the investment?” Is one valuable than the other? What are the main differences between a townhouse vs. a condo?
Condominiums and townhouses have lots of similarities, as well as differences. It is a matter of weighing the pros and cons of each and balancing them with the other decisions you’ve made about your ideal home. These decisions will help you determine which one is best for you. In this post, we will take you through the difference between owning a townhouse vs. a condo.
What is a Condo?
A condo is a type of home where you only own the interior of that space. Condominiums usually have similar units side by side, with different owners. All homeowners share the entire building and contribute a fee to a homeowner’s association (HOA). The fee caters to the necessary insurance and upkeep of your condo community.
What is a Townhouse?
A townhouse or townhome is, in most cases, a multi-level home that shares at least one wall with other homes. Townhome owners own the exterior, interior, and the land on which the home sits. In townhouses, multiple identical and independent houses are built in a row. This makes townhouses the perfect single-family home. Most townhouses have a front and rear yard, giving homeowners plenty of private outdoor space and independent freedom to remodel their front and backyards. HOA fees typically apply in townhome communities as well.
Why is Living in a Condo or Townhome Important?
Each type of home comes with its pros in lifestyle. Let’s start with condos.
- Maintenance – Maintenance is minimal for condominiums. Residents only need to look after their houses, not open spaces. The HOA maintains all the common areas within the building.
- Neighborhood benefits – Living in a condo is great for social circles. In emergencies, having good neighbors can be beneficial.
- Facilities – The number of amenities a resident gets while in a condo is unrivaled. Shared facilities include gyms, party rooms, open and green terraces, BBQ rooftops, meeting rooms, and yoga rooms.
- Cost – Living in condos can be more affordable compared to other properties. Usually, maintenance fees are split between residents and owners. Hence, living in a condo is more affordable for most people.
- Safety – Condos are safer for residents as units are close together. Residents can also pay for additional security and gadgets.
- Greater autonomy – Residents have complete freedom to make modifications to their townhouses. They can change the interiors and sometimes even the exteriors. One of the primary reasons why home buyers prefer townhouses is because of this. They are free to decorate and customize their townhouses as they see fit.
- Resale value – Due to increased demand, townhouses have relatively high resale values. Residents of townhouses have more freedom and independence. People are willing to pay extra for the lifestyle.
- Selective servicing charges – Residents living in townhouses pay maintenance fees based on their needs.
Townhouse vs. Condo
So what are the differences between the two? Here are five examples of how townhomes and condos differ.
With condos, you only own your unit’s interior and share joint ownership of the rest of the building with your neighbors. This joint ownership includes the external structure, the gym, pool, grounds, and airspace.
On the other hand, townhouse ownership is similar to owning a single-family home. The homeowner owns the structure and the entire land it sits on. The only difference is that townhouses have common walls that may need upgrades or renovations.
Both home types have homeowners’ associations (HOAs). Owning a condo or townhouse requires you to pay monthly fees to an HOA. The HOA handles any maintenance-related activity in the shared spaces. In condos, HOAs manage buildings, the surrounding environs, and all the common interior spaces. In townhouses, HOAs typically only manage common areas. These include general grounds and shared exteriors of the structures.
In terms of purchase prices, condos cost less than townhouses because you’re not investing in land. On the flip side, condo HOA fees can be much higher than townhouses due to more jointly-owned spaces. Other costs to consider are home insurance, property taxes, and home inspection costs, which may vary depending on the property you’re purchasing.
A condo homeowner’s insurance only covers the interior of your home. This makes it more affordable compared to a townhouse insurance policy. Most homeowner’s insurance provides the same coverage, with the home’s exterior and land as additional items. As a result, homeowner’s insurance for townhomes costs more than homeowner’s insurance for condos in the same area.
Space and storage
The main difference between condos and townhouses is space and storage. Townhouses can have more space in terms of square footage and even a garage. In contrast, condominiums of the same size would be costly and may only own parking space.
Tips and Reminders for Purchasing a Condo or Townhouse
You’ve read the pros and cons and difference of a townhouse vs. a condo. Now let’s look at some tips that will help you in your buying decision.
- Hire a real estate agent. When it comes to buying a home, a real estate agent can serve as both a guide and an advocate. A real estate agent can provide information on buying a condo or townhouse in your area. They can also negotiate on your behalf and complete all the forms and disclosures required for a successful home purchase.
- Research the prices of condos or townhomes in your area. Knowing the median price of a condo or townhouse in your area can give you a better idea of whether you’re getting a fair price for your home.
- Understand the HOA fees and what they cover. Before paying for a condo or townhome, look into the homeowner’s association, the fees they charge, and what is covered.
- Be prepared for a bidding war. Because condos and townhomes are becoming more popular among first-time homeowners, you may find yourself in a bidding war. If this happens, it’s best to set a limit for how much you’re willing and able to pay from the beginning and stick to it.
- Determine whether pets are permitted. Townhomes and condos may impose restrictions on pets. There may be weight or breed restrictions, and pets may even be forbidden entirely. If you want to keep a pet, make sure to check the limits on the home before you fall in love.
Now that you’re familiar with a townhouse vs. a condo, it’s time to decide which fits your lifestyle the best. When deciding whether owning a condo or townhouse is best for your situation, it often comes down to your priorities. Are you looking for value, convenience, or privacy?
Condos may be an excellent choice for first-time homebuyers who want convenience but are not yet prepared for homeownership obligations. However, townhouses have a lot more to offer growing families who value outdoor space as well as the safe environment provided by a close-knit community.
Are you thinking of buying a condo or townhouse? Contact a Bello Real Estate expert! If you consider purchasing a home, contact a reputable and knowledgeable real estate agent who will guide you through the process. We will ensure that you find the perfect home at the ideal price. Our real estate experts excel at serving our customers. They will help you weigh the benefits and drawbacks of a townhouse vs. condos and how each suits your specific situation.