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Townhouse vs Condo? Which is Right for You?

by Dusty Rhodes | Jul 14, 2021



There are so many choices when it comes to buying a home. From location and square footage to updated or fixer-upper, the options are endless. As you take the leap to home ownership, you will be forced to consider a number of factors. Among those, is which type of house you prefer to live in. If you aren’t interested in taking on all of the responsibilities that come with owning a single family home, you are probably going to be deciding between a townhouse and a condo. While these two types of homes share many similarities, they also have a few distinct differences. As you work to decide which is right for you, you are probably going to have to weigh the pros and cons of each. Let’s take a look at the basics.

What is a Townhome?

You may be wondering what exactly makes a townhome a townhome? While it’s true that it refers to a narrow, multi level residence attached to another residence, the real defining feature is ownership. Generally speaking, townhouse owners own the land on which the house is situated. This includes any front or backyard areas. In addition, they also own the home’s exterior.

What is a Condo?

Condos are part of a mini community, similar to an apartment. However, unlike apartments, each unit is individually owned. Unlike townhomes, condos come with no land ownership, which is one of the reasons they tend to be cheaper than townhomes. The entire exterior of the units, including all of the land around them, is considered a common area and is collectively owned by the condo community.

Homeowners Association Fees

Both townhome and condo owners should expect to pay HOA fees on a monthly basis. These fees typically average around $300/month, though they may be slightly less for townhomes. For condos, these fees cover things like ground maintenance, amenities, and exterior maintenance such as roof repair. In a townhome community, the HOA manages common areas, general grounds, and in some cases the exteriors of the structures.

 

Amenities

Both townhomes and condos can offer amenities, although you can expect more community amenities with a condo. In most cases, townhouse amenities don’t go much beyond a community pool, which explains the lower HOA fees. For condos, on the other hand, you can expect a variety of amenities including a pool, tennis courts, a gym, and even rooftop access.

Maintenance

The maintenance for both townhomes and condos is much lower than a single family detached home, which is one of the main reasons they are so desirable. Your HOA fees will cover landscaping and yard maintenance as well as most exterior maintenance. For condos, owners are solely responsible for interior issues such as appliances, but anything related to the building such as plumbing or HVAC is covered by the HOA. Townhome maintenance is slightly more than that of a condo, as owners are usually responsible for interior maintenance including plumbing, electrical, and HVAC.

Cost

Both townhomes and condos tend to be cheaper than single family homes, even when you add in the HOA fees. In terms of condo vs. townhouse purchase price, condos tend to be cheaper since you’re not investing in any land. That said, condo HOA fees tend to be higher, given that they offer more amenities. You also want to consider other costs such as property taxes, homeowners insurance, and mortgage interest rates, which can vary between condos and townhomes.

 

Figuring out whether to choose between a townhouse or a condo comes down to personal preferences as well as budget. It’s important to sit down and consider how well each would fit the needs of you and your family. Each has their own pros and cons so it's best to think about how well they would suit your individual needs and preferences.