TOWNHOUSE VS. CONDO: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
It’s easy to understand why people often get confused with the difference between a townhouse and a condo. Whether it’s your first time buying or maybe you’re tired of all the yard work and maintenance that comes with a single family home, townhouses and condos can be a great option. Let’s look at the differences between the two to help you in your search!
Condominiums are similar to apartments in that you purchase an individual unit inside of a larger building, but not the property it sits on. A simplified way to think of this is that your are buying “air” within the complex and not the land underneath it, thus condos do not have a Lot & Block legal description. Why does this matter? If you are using a FHA loan, lenders will look to see if it is in a FHA approved complex. If not, you may need to look at a different type of mortgage. To check if a condo is FHA eligible, click on this link to the HUD page: https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/condlook.cfm.
Most condos have a monthly HOA fee. This can include access to the building’s amenities, such as the clubhouse, pool, and gym. However, condo owners are not responsible for the upkeep and repair of these common areas. Because of the number of shared spaces, living in a condo often allows for meeting new people and building a strong sense of community.
Those buying a townhouse are generally purchasing the complete unit, both inside and out, including the land it sits on. This might also include the driveway, yard, or roof. Traditionally, these units are two- or three-stories tall and may also include common areas like pools and parks. Townhouse owners also pay a monthly homeowners association fee which can include the amenities, water and trash. It is easier to get FHA financing with a townhouse. The loan process is similar as buying a single family home.
Which is the best choice?
Both townhouses and condos offer less maintenance than a single family home and generally offer nice shared areas. Your decision ultimately comes down to you and your family’s needs and wants. Things you’ll want to consider include location, lifestyle, family growth, and price.