The Difference Between A Condo and Townhouse
You may be ready to move on from an apartment but not quite ready for an entire house. That’s where a condo or a townhouse would come in! Before you decide to buy or rent a townhouse or a condo, make sure you understand the difference between the two and how that affects your decision.
First, let’s define what a condo is. A condominium, or a condo, is a unit in a building or community of buildings. It’s similar to an apartment in that it’s in a complex with amenities, but condos are owned by individuals rather than a landlord.
And what’s a townhouse? A townhouse is defined as conjoined units that are owned by individual tenants. They are similar to row houses and owners usually share at least one wall. It’s more similar to a house, often with a garage or backyard.
The largest difference between a townhouse and a condo is what you own when you purchase one or the other. When you buy a condo, you personally own your individual unit, but you share the community amenities, such as the gym or pool, with the other tenants in your condo building. You don’t own the land that it sits on and often, condos are in higher-rise buildings, with different tenants owning the unit below or above you.
When you buy a townhouse, you own the structure and the land that it sits on. In other words, you own the interior and the exterior of your unit, including the roof, lawn, and driveway. You may still be sharing community amenities, depending on what the community you live in offers to tenants.
A condominium is essentially an apartment complex with individual owners instead of one overarching landlord. This means condos often come with similar amenities to apartments, such as an on-site gym, pool, roof access, and package services.
A townhouse normally follows the architecture of a condensed single-family home and will often have similar amenities to a home. This can include a front and back yard, personal garage and personal mailbox or front door package delivery. Amenities such as a community pool can be a part of a townhome community but are less common.
Unlike apartments, condo owners are bonded by ownership within the same building. There are normally homeowner association fees that condo owners are expected to pay. Since condos have more shared spaces and amenities, their maintenance fees are generally higher than the HOA fees for townhouses. Their fees include maintenance such as landscaping, common space maintenance and home maintenance (air conditioning, leaking roof, etc.).
Townhouse owners also pay HOA fees, but they are less expensive than condos because townhouse communities often require less maintenance because they offer fewer amenities. The catch to the lower HOA fees is that you are responsible for other maintenance fees such as plumbing repairs.
There is a difference between the way you finance a condo and a townhouse because of the ownership. When buying a condo, you’re not purchasing the land it sits on, just the space between the walls. So, when you’re financing your condo purchase, underwriters will take into account the financial health and stability of the condominium building as a whole. There is a special condo loan that you can apply for, which is different than a single-family home loan.
Financing a townhouse is easier because it is a separate unit and you own the land that the unit sits on. When you’re looking to finance a townhouse, you’ll likely be able to use a conventional mortgage product just like you would use for a single-family house.
The world of financing and homeownership can be confusing, but Galaxy Lending Group is here to help. Contact us today to speak with one of our loan advisors and determine the best loan for your needs.