There are copious factors to consider when you’re purchasing a home. You need to factor in location when it comes to residential moving, but you also need to consider the type of property you’re buying. Not everyone is ready to move into a detached single-family home. While they offer many benefits, they also require a lot of upkeep and can be incredibly expensive and time-consuming to upkeep.
If this rings true for you, you’re likely considering a townhouse and a condo. Navigating whether a townhouse or condo is right for you can be challenging, but our professional team can give you a good jumping-off point.
Condo vs Townhouse: What Are They?
Condominiums are often referred to as a condo and they are single-residential units within a larger building of residences. The specific number of units and the layout of each depends on the building, but it’s common for condo buildings to have many units on the same floor. Condos are located in high-rise luxury buildings and suburban areas alike.
Townhomes are a mixture between single-family homes and condos. It’s standard for a townhouse to be two or three stories tall and share walls with surrounding townhomes. The key difference is that there aren’t any units above or below townhomes. Townhomes are common for first-time homebuyers in addition to age-restricted yet active adult communities.
How Are Townhomes and Condos Similar?
When it comes to a townhouse vs. a condo, there are many similarities to consider. The most glaring similarity is sharing walls with a neighbor in some way. In a townhouse, it’s typical to share one or two walls with neighbors on either side of your unit. Units located on the end of a townhome strip only share a wall with one unit. Condos may share walls, ceilings, or floors based on the layout of the building.
Another similarity between townhomes and condos is common interest communities. Owners may share parks, pools, fitness centers, or other common areas that are funded through fees or dues. All of these common interests are managed through a homeowners association (HOA).
Key Differences Between Townhouse and Condo
Despite the similarities, there are also differences between townhouses and condos. One key difference is what you own; for condos, you own an interest in the property as a whole. This can be a difficult concept for homeowners to grasp as there is technically nothing tangible that they own. Think of it as owning the airspace inside of your unit in addition to a fraction of the building’s common elements.
Townhomes, on the other hand, refer to a type or style of property. In addition to owning the land on which your townhouse was built, you also may own the structure itself. In townhouse developments, the owner may not share common amenities but instead, they pay the dues to access and maintain the amenities.
#1. Different Types of Ownerships
As we mentioned above, a key differentiator between townhomes and condos is ownership and maintenance. Condo owners are only responsible for maintaining the interior of their units and are responsible for paying a fee to the homeowners’ association. This is usually paid monthly and it helps to cover any maintenance that the building requires such as lawn care, snow removal, etc.
There are two types of townhouse ownership options: condominium and fee simple. With condominium ownership, the party owns the inside of the townhouse. This means that the upkeep of the exterior and yard are covered through HOA fees. For fee simple townhouse owners, they’re responsible for not only maintaining their home but as well as the front, back, or side yards.
#2. Amenities Included
Another important difference to consider is the offered amenities or common spaces to which you’ll have access. While the specific amenities vary by the community or building, it’s standard for condos to offer appealing amenities such as pools and gyms. Some buildings even have laundry or valet services for their guests.
Townhouses usually offer fewer amenities than condos but take this with a grain of salt. As townhouse communities become more popular, they are starting to offer more amenities such as a pool, clubhouse, playground, and more. Some even offer tennis courts or private gyms for their residents.
#3. Privacy Options
The level of privacy is often a huge determining factor when choosing to buy a condo or townhouse. Be mindful that a single-family home is where you’ll get the most privacy, so if it is a driving factor for you, you might want to opt for a home. On the downside, living in a single-family home means you’ll be responsible for upkeeping the yard and you won’t have access to the communal benefits that you would in a townhouse or condo.
If you’re hoping to avoid nosey neighbors or you want a private yard, a townhouse may be a better fit for you over a condo. Condos usually offer less privacy than townhomes as there is only one neighbor on either side of you. Townhomes often offer yards that allow for pets or kids to play which is always a bonus.
#4. Regulations Applied
Regulations are different for townhomes and condos as well. Generally speaking, condos have stricter regulations versus townhomes due to the larger role of the HOAs. Having more rules comes with both pros and cons depending on your specific preferences.
Some homeowners want more freedom of expression when it comes to their landscaping and exterior while others gravitate toward a more uniform facade. These rules are often helpful in cases such as assigning a parking spot or keeping up with maintenance, but they may have an impact on your freedom of expression.
#5. Difference in Costs
Condos versus townhouses will also differ in cost. Despite the monthly HOA fees, it’s usually more affordable to own a townhouse or a condo versus owning a single-family home. If you’re a first-time homeowner trying to stick to a tight budget, a condo or a townhouse could be an excellent option for you.
Factoring in purchase price alone, condos are usually cheaper than townhomes as you are not technically investing in any land. Keep in mind that condo HOA fees could be higher as they are jointly-owned spaces.
You’ll also want to consider other costs such as homeowners insurance, property taxes, and inspection costs, all of which vary depending on the property type. Always factor in these expenses ahead of time before moving forward with your purchase.
The Decision Is Yours!
Both condos and townhomes are suitable living options for those looking to invest. They are both great places to live and offer pros and cons depending on the situation. Like anything when it comes to real estate, always take your time and do your research so that you can feel confident in your investment.
Regardless of which option you pick, our team at Alliance Moving & Storage can help! Our seasoned movers are proud to offer our trustworthy moving services throughout the Chicagoland area. For a free quote for movers services, get in touch with our family-owned business today!