Condo vs. Townhome
As one of the largest new homebuilders in Virginia and North Carolina, we’ve received a lot of questions from potential homebuyers. One question that has popped up recently has been: “What are the differences between a condo and a townhome?” We wanted to take this opportunity to answer some of the frequently asked questions we get on this topic.
What is the Ownership Difference between a Condo vs. Townhome?
If you own a townhome, you own the interior, exterior and land on which the home sits. In other words, you own the sky above and the land below. Townhomes may also be called townhouses, townes, rowhouses or brownstones. If you own a condominium, also called a condo, you own the walls from within. The official definition of a condo is “individual ownership of a unit in a multi-unit structure.” This means that condos are multiple units owned by different parties with common ownership of land.
What are the Differences in the Management of a Condo vs. a Townhome?
There is actually some similarity in management when it comes to condos and townhomes. When condos are stand-alone buildings, owners of individual condo units establish what is known as a Common Interest Community Board or a Condo Board. Members of the Board are responsible for the condo’s management and operations including maintenance of common spaces. The members are elected by a vote from condo owners and serve without compensation. However, if the condo is located within a master-planned community, the Homeowners Association (HOA) is usually responsible for the management and operations of common spaces. Townhome communities are usually managed by an HOA and the responsibilities of those HOAs vary by community.
Who is Responsible for Exterior and Common Space Maintenance in a Condo vs. Townhome Community?
If you own a condo, all the exteriors and common spaces are covered and maintained by the Condo Board or HOA. Exterior spaces must be uniform and are determined by the Condo Board because owners do not have any ownership of exterior spaces. With a townhome, exterior maintenance, except for major structural components such as roof or siding replacement, are maintained by the owner. Some townhome HOAs do maintain yards, gardens and fences but that depends on the community. HOAs also maintain common spaces in the community.
What is the Difference in Management Fees for a Condo vs. Townhome?
Monthly condo fees tend to be higher because of the uniform design that the Condo Board maintains with all exterior spaces. There can also be special assessments levied on owners when major exterior or common space improvements need to be made such as the replacement of common air conditioning units or amenity enhancements. In some condo communities, utilities such as water, sewer, and gas are split evenly between units rather than a per use measurement. Townhome HOA fees are considerably lower because owners are responsible for more maintenance.
What are the Differences in Privacy between a Condo and a Townhome?
Condos are sometimes built on top of one another which means owners do not have any individual outdoor spaces aside from a balcony or front porch. With a townhome, owners own their front and backyards. Townhomes can usually also have a fence, but you will need check with your homeowner’s association first. There may be paperwork to complete and design standards to follow, but it is usually an easy process. Before too long your four-legged buddy will have his own private yard!
What is the Difference in Lending and Insurance between a Condo and Townhome?
Securing a loan and insurance when purchasing a condo or a townhome varies greatly. When purchasing a condo, lenders are going to want proof that you will be able to pay the monthly condo fee. They will also want to make sure that you can afford any possible special assessments. As a result, you will need to supply your lender with financial documents from the Condo Board or HOA from the past two years. When securing a loan for a townhome, lenders will only be looking at your ability to afford the monthly mortgage payments.
When it comes to insurance on a condo, premiums are usually less than a townhome because you are only covering the contents inside the unit. However, you are paying premiums for insurance on the exterior through your monthly condo fees. Townhomes have a more traditional premium requirement.
Ready for more time for you?
The best part about living in a low-maintenance condo or townhome is that you have more time to enjoy the things you love! Enjoy quality time with friends and family or just relax - you’ve earned it. Exterior maintenance is a thing of the past, so enjoy life while focusing on the things that matter most to you.
Discover the lock-and-go lifestyle!
We’re sure you will enjoy the lock-and-go lifestyle these homes offer. There are great benefits to purchasing a low-maintenance condo or townhome, and we’re here to help!
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