You ask a real estate agent, the difference between condos and townhouses, and you might not get an answer that is based on facts. Condominiums and townhouses have similarities and differences, which is why many are confused about whether they are the same thing or different thing. Thus, this article will explain you how they are different and how they are same. The first thing that you need to clear up in your mind, is that condos are a real estate ownership. On the other hand, a townhouse qualifies as a style of building.
CondominiumCondominium is like owning a single unit of airspace, which contains multi-unit dwelling. Along with owning the single unit, the individual co-owns other amenities like a recreation center, pool or gym; the individual also owns other common area that come with the structure of a condominium, and this is shared by the other unit owners as well.
TownhousesUnlike the condominium, a townhouse has a structure, which has two or more stories, with common walls. The reason why townhouses are so popular is because they resemble Brownstones and Row Houses, which are old townhouses and on the east coast, they were very famous.
When the term townhouse ownership is used, it simply means that an individual owns the structure, including the land that is associated with that structure. To further simplify this, if there is a townhouse, and you own it, then it is absolute ownership. This concept is similar to that of owning a family home.
However, it is normal to have ownership of a townhouse, and call it condominium ownership. To further explain this, take it like you the structure that you see in front of you is of a townhouse, but the ownership is basically condominium. This can be very confusing, which is why understanding the difference between the two is important.
The Difference In OwnershipThe main two differences between condominium and townhouse is about ownership and the common areas. For example, if you are living in a condominium, then you own the air-space of that very particular unit, but when you are living in a townhouse, then you can have absolute ownership of it and the land associated with it, like a yard.
In a condominium development, every owner has an equal share of the General Common Elements. These elements are usually found in the outer space and include, but is not limited to, a wall, roof, hall, clubhouse, pool and gym.
The same elements in a townhouse community, comes under the ownership of Home Owners Association (HOA). Even though the owners of a townhouse are part of the HOA, but they don’t own any of the elements. In a townhome community, an individual can own the exterior of their home with the exception of communal areas.
As for the fees that are given to the Homeowners Association, it is higher in case of a condo, and lower in case of a townhouse. It is higher for condos because the condo owners have to pay to maintain the exterior facilities and for other things like trash removal. It is lower in townhouse, because the townhouse owners pay for maintaining their own facilities, but things like trash removal, still comes under HOA.
ArchitectureIf you are buying a condo, then you might get the option of multiple designs. It can be a cottage or even a cul-de-sac. On the other hand, in a townhouse, the homes are designed in rows and the tenants of those houses, share a wall. In a townhome, there can be more than two stories; this means that they don’t come in different styles.
Condos are smaller and townhouses can be large, because of the multiple stories that they sometimes exhibit. As for privacy, condos can be private if they are in the shape of an apartment, single unit or even an individual home. In townhomes, people share wall with their neighbor’s unit, but there is no unit above them or below them.
Limited Common ElementsA limited common element is a difference between townhomes and condos. When a person owns a condominium, they will surely witness a limited common element. These limited common elements can be defined as things, that comes under the use of individual unit owners and these include a parking space, garage, patios and balconies. Even though these elements are owners by the every unit owner, only limited and specific owners can benefit from them.
This means that if you are living in a townhouse, then the townhouse’s main owner has the ownership of a balcony or a garage. However, an exception can be applied here, if the condominium is how the townhouse style home is owned. Condominium is more community oriented, as compared to a townhouse, where you might get the same facilities as a condo, but it might feel more private.
To Sum It UpCommon Interest Communities is a term that can be used for condos and townhouses. When real estate maintains a community with the help of assessment and dues, then this type of community can be referred to as a common interest community. However, this very term is the cause of confusion in everyone’s mind.
In order to make sure that you remember the difference, here is a trick; the condominium is a type of real estate that you can claim ownership of, while on the other hand, a townhouse is just a style that differs due to its architect.