A condo or townhouse might be better if a single-family home isn’t right for you. But it can be difficult to decide if you are weighing up the choice of condo vs. townhouse.
We will examine the differences between condos and townhouses to make your choice easier. You may find that either housing choice works.
What is a condo?
A condo or condominium can be a unit in a larger building or a smaller cluster of homes. There will normally be a common entrance when in a complex, and there might also be a shared garage.
They might offer shared amenities, like a pool, gym, clubhouse, and more. They are often similar to apartments, with everything on the same level.
A condominium association always runs condos.
What is a townhouse?
Townhouses are homes with multiple levels that share exterior walls with neighboring properties. However, they aren’t row houses, which you might find in urban areas.
A townhouse will benefit from more space than a condo, but at the same time, it might offer shared community amenities. It might have a pool, a park, and sometimes even stores, restaurants, and other amenities in larger developments.
While a townhouse might appear similar to a single-family home, it offers more for owners. Townhouses almost always have a homeowners association.
Townhouse vs. condo
When ignoring the size and structural differences, it might seem like townhouses and condos offer similar experiences. In general, it is more likely that the condo association will have more restrictive rules compared to living in a townhouse.
While the townhouse will also have a homeowners association, they tend to allow owners to do more with their property. This might mean more scope to renovate and make changes, as well as alter the exterior or yard of the townhouse.
It’s always vital to research the neighborhood rules and restrictions before buying.
These are just some of the differences; other things to consider are:
Usually, condos are smaller and so less expensive. Though it is normal for the condo association fees to be higher than the townhouse equivalent.
Location is important with any home; typically, condos are more likely to be available if you want to live near the center of a city.
Townhouses occupy more room, so they are usually less walkable and convenient to the center. They are more likely to be found in suburban vs. urban locations.
Townhouses and condo communities can offer a range of different amenities. The amenities that are most important to you should be part of your decision.
There are likely to be fewer things to go wrong in a condo, so less maintenance is required. When you own a townhouse, you must maintain the exterior and interior. The townhouse could have a small yard that will require maintenance.
You are likely to spend more on homeowners insurance when owning a townhouse. There is more to cover with a townhouse, and not only the size but the outside of the home needs to be insured. With condos, owners are only responsible for the interior, so there are fewer things to insure.
Whether buying a condo or townhome, asking many questions is essential as part of the due diligence process.
The pros and cons of condo living
- Affordable. The cost of buying the home is going to be lower, making it easier for first-time buyers.
- Less maintenance. You will only be responsible for the interior of the home.
- Central location. If you want to live in the city’s center, choosing a condo is more likely to offer this.
- Less privacy. You will be nearer to your neighbors, which might not be as quiet as you want.
- Rules. The restrictions when living in this type of home can be quite strict.
Pros and cons of owning a townhouse
- Space. You will have more room in your townhouse compared to a condo.
- Less of a compromise. A townhouse offers a similar experience to living in a single-family home while still providing the community and amenities you would have when choosing a condo.
- Neighbors. While you won’t have neighbors above and below as you might when living in a condo, you will still be sharing walls on possibly both sides. You won’t have as much privacy as in a single-family home.
- Maintenance. There are more responsibilities and costs to maintaining your home when compared to a condo.
- Less convenient. The townhouse is less likely to be in the center of things.
If you don’t have a problem living close to other people, condo living could be a better choice. It also means your home could be on the same floor, which might be better for seniors.
If you want an experience similar to a single-family home, a townhouse is closer to that type of living. You will have more privacy and space while still being part of a community with access to amenities.