If you’re thinking of buying a townhouse or condominium, there are some important differences between the two that you should know about. To help you decide between a condo or townhouse, we’ve provided definitions and put together a comprehensive comparison to help you make an informed decision before you buy.
Let’s start with condo and townhouse definitions.
A condominium, or condo, is a building or community of buildings in which units are owned by individuals, rather than a landlord.
A townhome is defined as conjoined units that are owned by individual tenants. They are architecturally similar to row houses in that owners usually share at least one or more walls.
Now that we have the definitions of townhomes and condos, let’s look at some of the factors you should consider when picking between the two. Below is a side by side comparison to help you make an informed decision.
Townhouse vs. Condo
Condo owners only own the interior of their unit. All other areas, including the building exterior, lawn, and communal areas, are the property of the Homeowners Association (HOA).
In most townhome communities, owners own their unit’s interior and exterior, including the roof, lawn, and driveway, but not the communal areas.
Condos come in many different styles. They may be part of a large high rise, a cul-de-sac of cottages or anything in between.
Townhomes are designed in rows, so tenants usually share at least one wall. It’s common for townhomes to have two or more stories.
Condominiums often have a community focus with a clubhouse, pool, golf course and/or similar amenity.
Some townhouse communities offer the same types of amenities as condos, but others are more private.
Homeowners Association Fees
HOA fees for condos are typically higher than townhouses because they pay for exterior upkeep, such as lawn care, trash removal, and pest control.
Townhouse owners pay lower monthly HOA fees because they pay for much of their own upkeep. Certain types of maintenance and trash removal are still handled by the HOA.
Home Insurance Rates
Home insurance rates are usually lower for condos because owners have to insure only the interior of their unit.
Townhouses may have higher home insurance rates since most owners need insurance that covers both the exterior and interior.
Although condos come in many sizes and styles, they are generally smaller than townhomes.
Townhomes can be quite large and often feature multiple stories.
Condo owners often pay higher monthly maintenance fees, which go toward exterior and community space repairs.
As with HOA fees, townhome owners typically have lower monthly maintenance fees but pay more out of pocket for exterior and interior care.
Depending on the style, condos could be private, individual homes or apartment-style units.
Townhomes share one to two walls with neighboring units, but don’t have units above or below them.
John Castelli, Realtor