What is the difference between a townhome and a condo?

Sammamish Mortgage
Post Date: February 11, 2021Updated: April 30, 2021

You’re considering buying a smaller, more stress-free option than a detached single family home. Should you go with a townhome or a condo? It helps to understand the difference between a townhouse and a condo before you go hunting for your next home.

Condominiums

When you buy a condominium, you buy what is basically an apartment in a larger building. You don’t own the land the building sits on, and you’re not responsible for upkeep and maintenance of the structure or exterior of the condo.

You’ll pay homeowners association (HOA) fees, which go towards things like landscaping and maintaining common areas. These can be somewhat expensive depending on the age of the building, the amenities, and the rules of the HOA.

A condo is usually a suite of rooms located on a single floor, and is laid out much like an apartment in blocks of several apartments per floor. The difference between apartments and condos is that apartments are primarily rented out of a commercial building, while condos are considered individual residential properties even though they are housed in a single structure.

Townhomes

Townhomes, also known as townhouses,are generally multi-level residents attached to other residences. Unlike condominiums, you own the entire unit including the interior, exterior, and land it sits on.

Most townhomes are two or three stories tall, and deeper than they are wide, meaning they occupy a skinny piece of frontage on the road. Thanks to their small footprint but generous square footage, townhomes are popular in crowded city centers where people may want a more traditional homeownership experience but land is at a premium.

You’ll still likely have an HOA if you buy a townhouse in a community, which will incur fees that cover maintenance of common areas, snow removal, trash pickup, and insurance. However, you’re still responsible for all upkeep and repair on the exterior of a townhouse, unlike a condo where you’d never have to worry about replacing the roof or mowing the lawn.

Whether you opt for a townhome or a condo, getting preapproved should be the first step in your house hunting experience. You can get started today.

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