If you are buying a new home on a tight budget, one of the options that will come to your attention is purchasing a condominium or townhome instead of a standard single family home. Because most of them share walls, condos and townhomes are more affordable. But before you consider moving into a multi-family complex, consider both the down and the up sides to such a purchase.
The Difference Between A Condo And A Townhome
New buyers may be confused as to the difference between a condo and a townhome. Both are attached homes, where at least one wall is shared between two units. One difference between them is that a townhome does not have any units above or below, only on the sides. Townhomes are usually at least two stories, sometimes three stories. Condos on the other hand are often single story—although not always—and may have units both above and below as in an apartment building.
But the truly important distinction between the two is in the ownership rights of the buyer. Condo owners have rights that extend only to the walls of the unit, while townhomes usually have rights to the land as well. This can become a little complicated in the legal aspects, but that is the basic difference.
Condos usually have an association, run by the owners in the complex, that helps to take care of the shared areas of the complex and also maintain the standards set out in the rules. The condo association usually handles such things as lawn and garden care, painting of the outside of the building, and roof repair.
Some townhomes may have a similar association as well, called a homeowner’s association. It handles things in much the same manner. Associations require monthly fees, and all owners can take part in the decisions made by the board.
Things To Consider
Condos and townhomes have some potential downsides you should consider. There are often rules about pets, so you may not be able to take your dog or cat with you. You will also find that most such homes lack any sort of real yard, although some townhomes have a small yard. Shared green space is often available, but you will not have the same privacy.
There are also some things about this type of home you might appreciate, such as not having to do the maintenance on the exterior of the house or the yard.
Condo and townhome living is very well suited to some people, and less so to others. Consider all of the aspects when you are thinking of buying this type of home.