What is the Difference Between a Townhouse and Condo?

Many individuals use the term condo and townhouse interchangeably. However, there are some differences between the two types of housing, a topic we will explore further below after we define them individually:

What is a Condo?

A condo, also called a condominium, is a single residential unit that is located within a large building. The layouts of various condos will vary within the building. There are often several units per floor.

What is a Townhouse?

A townhouse differs from a condo in that it is a housing best categorized somewhat between a standard single-family home and a condo. Townhouses are usually designed with multiple floors and are often either two or three stories high. They share walls with other properties next door, but there are no units stacked either above or below them.

Main Differences Between Condos and Townhouse

Now that we have looked at the definition of both a condo and townhouse, let’s consider the main differences between the two:

Ownership Responsibilities

One significant difference between the two living options is the maintenance responsibilities entrusted to the owner. With a condo, the owner is usually only responsible for the upkeep of the inside of their individual unit. The outside of the building is usually not up to one owner. Instead, each condo owner pays a homeowners’ association fee and the exterior maintenance is covered out of those pooled funds. With a townhouse, owners can either choose a fee simple ownership or a type of ownership similar to that of a condo, which is shared maintenance costs and responsibilities among the entire building. If a townhouse owner opts for fee simple ownership, they are responsible for all the maintenance of their townhouse, including the exterior and the front and backyard. However, there are no HOA fees to pay.

Luxurious Amenities

Condos usually offer great amenities, such as gyms, pools, playgrounds and the like that can be enjoyed by all the residents within a building. Townhouses generally have fewer amenities to enjoy, although newly constructed homes might offer even more than a condo and provide resort-style amenities like tennis courts or even fitness classes. Traditionally, condos offer more amenities, though.

Privacy

Another important difference between condos and townhouses is the privacy aspect of each living situation. Obviously, when compared with private single-family homes, townhouse or condo owners will have less privacy. However, when comparing them head-to-head, townhouses usually provide more privacy than condos. This is because condos have units above, below and beside each other. Whereas a townhouse will likely only have neighbors to the side and might even have a private yard.

Regulations

As outlined above, condos usually come along with homeowners associations and subsequent fees that ensure the building and all amenities are properly maintained. As a result, the regulations for condos are often stricter when compared with those of townhouses. These regulations could include anything from parking restrictions/rules to stylistic preferences for landscaping and more.

Admittedly, townhouses and condos are similar in terms of the type of living situation they provide. However, they are not identical and each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages to a would-be owner.

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