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Condominium V/S Townhouse

Condominium V/S Townhouse
by Tamara Rein - October 20, 2021

The real estate market offers a variety of residential options, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Independent chalets, semi-detached houses, and townhouses, for example, are the most popular single-family housing. When it comes to multi-family structures, the classification is difficult because we can find everything from flats and apartments to penthouses, ground floors with gardens, flats, and duplexes.

Many first-time home buyers are concerned about what type of houses to buy because housing options are plentiful, especially in urban regions & they should have to consider various house hunting tips before home buying. There are pros and cons to every lifestyle: condo, townhouse, and single-family home. Buyers should consider their lifestyles and budgets, as well as the desired level of involvement in home maintenance, when deciding which home style works best for them.

Structure

The most common configuration of a condominium is that of an apartment within a complex. The fact that someone can possess the internal space of an apartment while also jointly owning the outer spaces is what distinguishes it as a condominium (for example, hallways, exercise rooms, parking lots or garages, swimming pools, the roof of the building). A condo is also referred to as a separate office within a multi-unit complex, however this is less common.

A townhouse is not an apartment, but a house built within a row of connecting houses. Townhouses are typically two or three stories high and built narrower than standard single-family dwellings. Depending on where you are in the row, a row house shares a wall or two with the other houses. Most have a small backyard and front yard. Townhouses are similar to duplexes and triplexes in that they have connected walls.

Land ownership

No land is owned by a condominium. Instead, it is the space within the apartment that is owned. Those who own a townhouse, on the other hand, own the land on which their home was built. Both condo owners and townhome owners must pay property taxes.

HOA fees

Condos almost always have higher HOA rates than townhomes. This is due to the fact that condos include more shared rooms and, in certain cases, unique features such as a fitness facility or a rooftop grill, which cost more money. The monthly HOA fees for a condo may include water, cable, or DSL Internet service, some insurance coverage, and other services or utilities. Townhomes often have HOA rates as well, but they are generally much lower and often only cover a small set of services, such as valet trash and lawn care.

Maintenance under an HOA

Condo associations generally cover many more maintenance topics than townhome HOAs. While much depends on the HOA's rate structure and size, good condo HOAs handle maintenance in much the same way that major rental apartment management companies do: repairing problems within the condominium (such as a broken faucet) and maintaining the common and outdoor areas. For example, gardeners maintain the grounds and professionals replace roofs as needed, all paid for with money received and retained by the Homeowners Association.

Townhomes often require much more housekeeping or private hiring of professionals to fix problems that eventually arise. An HOA may or may not cover ground maintenance or even significant maintenance needs such as roof repair in a townhome. There are exceptions, so it's important to understand what a townhome HOA covers.

Security and privacy

The structure of a condo or townhouse determines its security and privacy. Some condos are very safe and offer advanced security features, such as electronic lock systems and video surveillance in common areas; other condos are not developed with maximum security in mind. A traditional detached home has many of the same security features (and drawbacks) as a townhome. Of course, most of the security depends on the location.

Condos have a safety concern that townhomes don't, at least not to the same extent. Condos, like any other home, can be purchased, rented, or resold, which means that both good and bad neighbours can move in and out. Having bad neighbors is a concern that exists in any apartment that lives in confined spaces; the difference is that a condominium is a more serious investment that is more difficult to get out of if the quality of the neighbors decreases.

In terms of privacy, condos and townhomes may or may not seem private. Before buying a condo or townhome, individuals who are easily troubled by noise should inquire about the thickness of the shared walls and even speak with neighbours. Some infrequent noise (for example, an occasional party) is to be expected in a well-built condo or townhome, but daily movement should not be audible.

Pros and cons

For those who enjoy city life, a condo or townhome can be a good option, especially for first-time home buyers. Some people choose condos because they don't have to worry about outdoor chores like gardening or landscaping, or roof replacement, and having access to specific amenities is a benefit for others. Similarly, having a small patio to sit in or garden in is a townhome selling point for those who want some features of a traditional freestanding home but still want a more urban living experience.

However, there are potential downsides to living in condos and townhomes. Condos and townhomes can be expensive to own, especially condos, and depending on how an individual HOA works, they may or may not feel worth the money spent. Some also find the restrictive nature of an HOA frustrating and instead wish they could do more than they would like without consulting the neighbors (in which case, a freestanding home that is not connected to an HOA is the best solution ).

Cost

As with all real estate costs, location determines most of the value of a condo or townhome, but there are many expenses to consider. HOA fees and what they cover, as well as property taxes, any and all insurance costs, and (particularly in the case of a townhome) home inspection charges, must all be considered. Mortgage interest rates for a condo are also often higher than for a townhome or single-family home; making a 25% down payment, instead of 20%, can help mitigate this, but it is a high upfront cost.

Evaluating homeowners associations takes effort. It is very important not to assume anything about a particular HOA until all its documents have been read, as this is an area where a homeowner can save a lot of money. Rates, whether high or low, are not a clear and consistent indicator of whether or not an HOA is good. Some condos and townhomes may have cheap HOA costs, which indicates that little or no services are provided, or that the services provided are inadequate, making monthly or annual payments a waste of money. Other condominiums and townhomes may have high rates that include a wide range of services and amenities and, as a result, are more expensive.

Resale value

If HOA rates are significantly higher than those found in similar locations nearby, or if a condo complex has more tenants than owners, reselling a condo can be difficult. Condos also appreciate more slowly than townhouses or detached homes, which are better suited for families, so it may take several years, if ever, for a condo to provide a fair return on investment. Before buying a condo or townhouse to rent or resell, do your homework on the local housing market.

Conclusion

For the right person, either a condo or a townhouse complex can be a great place to live. Finding the perfect suitability, like anything else in real estate, necessitates a little research and knowledge. If you think you'd be a good fit for this type of living scenario, utilise the information below to set your own priorities, and have fun choosing between a condo and a townhouse and looking for your new home.

Author

  • Tamara has worked with multiple start-ups as well as e-commerce websites, focusing mainly on welcoming and helping nurture new businesses in the market.

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