Shopping for a new home generally involves viewing a plethora of property options followed by crucial decisions revolving around the type of home. Should you choose a ranch style, two story, corner lot, backyard? Oftentimes the thought of purchasing an entire property to include a front and backyard can be overwhelming for a new homeowner, especially the maintenance associated with properties. What options are available for those who are deterred by larger properties and substantial maintenance?
A solution to these concerns lies in purchasing either a condominium or townhome. However, these two terminologies are often interchanged as synonyms but in fact are quite different. Below is a brief overview highlighting the differences between these two types of properties to eventually assist you in determining the best solution for your needs.
Differences in a homebuyer’s ownership
The primary difference between a condominium and a townhome lies in the type of ownership awarded to the homebuyer. In the case of a condominium, the interior property itself is purchased by the buyer but the exterior is considered “common use” in the purchasing agreement and ownership is split amongst all residences. What is considered exterior? Well, in most cases this generally includes the outer walls, roofs, gutters, outdoor air conditioners, and so forth. This even applies to any purchased garage space in the event that entire space is shared.
Additionally these types of properties require shared costs among all residences for continued management of the entire collection of condominiums. When purchasing a townhome the entire property, to include the land that it resides on, is sold to the homebuyer. However, most townhome residence still employ a homeowners association organization to coordinate and provide common tasks – repairs, trash removal, swimming pool maintenance.
Cookie cutter versus flexible layouts
When deciding between a condo or townhouse, you’ll find that the general floor layout is the main point of difference. Most condominiums resemble standard apartments in that the living space is commonly consolidated to one floor or a portion of a floor depending on the format of the building. Sometimes these spaces can even belong to skyscraper style buildings.
On the other hand, townhomes usually have multiple floors—sometimes as many as three or four in one unit for one common family. Some townhomes are attached to twin units, but each owner still has exclusive access to all the floors in his own home. Owners of townhomes may also have the benefit of more convenient amenities, such as a private garage or driveway and a personal lawn where they can grow a garden. Condo owners must share just about everything with the others who own the unit.
Rules of engagement
Condo associations are generally associated to very strict bylaws when it comes to the rules of the property, especially when it comes to topics visible to the outside community. Since many households share a common condo property, they all play a role in keeping its market value strong. Conversely, while townhouses may also have homeowner associations, those associations tend to give residents more freedom in decorating their living spaces. Some people look at these associations as a bother, but many others prefer to the governance of a homeowner’s association to help keep the property clean, well-maintained, and valuable.