As you step out into the market in search of a new home, there are many questions you have to answer before you can start searching for the perfect house. One of the most difficult decisions buyers face is the choice between condominium and townhouse. While there are many similarities between these two styles, there are also plenty of key differences that you need to know about.
Property and Maintenance
For many people, one of the biggest perks of condo ownership is avoidance of the responsibilities related to lawn and exterior maintenance. Most condo associations take care of upkeep tasks around the home, including plumbing issues, ceiling repair, and landscaping. While there may be mandatory fees associated with these services, condo owners rarely need to deal with these problems themselves.
On the other hand, townhouse owners usually shoulder a much bigger maintenance burden. Unless the community association specifically covers these needs, the owner must keep the lawn and home exterior in good condition on their own. Possession of a town-home also includes ownership of the land it sits on while condo owners don’t have any ownership of the property beneath. Despite this difference, both condos and townhouse owners are required to pay property taxes.
Layout and Communal Spaces
While both types of homes connect to other dwellings, there are some distinct disparities between the way this impacts the residents. Most condo units don’t connect directly to the outside. Instead, residents must use common hallways and rooms to exit the building. The majority of townhouses have their own entrance that opens directly to the outdoors.
Many condominium owners have free use of communal spaces, which may include fitness centers, pools and reading rooms. This creates opportunities to socialize with people in the same building, as well as the ability to exercise without leaving the building. In contrast, townhouse developments often have no communal amenities. If they do, they are usually found in a separate building in a central location.
Making the Decision
Ultimately, the choice between townhouse and condo comes down to personal taste and expectations. Both styles of housing are often governed by a set of regulations by the local association, which you should consider carefully before purchasing a home. These rules may prohibit certain types of pets, activities or exterior decorations. Consideration of the neighbors, particularly late at night, is also a factor for both styles.
If you don’t mind shouldering more responsibility in exchange for a bit more privacy, then a townhouse may be the best pick for you. However, even those shy of living in close quarters with other people may find that condos have a lot to offer. They can also save a lot of time and money in the long run by circumventing common maintenance costs associated with home ownership.