There are many options out there for first time home buyers to consider when choosing the perfect type of home. Square footage, maintenance and up-keep, outdoor space, HOA restrictions and HOA fees are all on the list of considerations when looking for a new home. For first-time home buyers, we always recommend comparing your options and considering a townhouse vs. a condo. In this article, we'll explain the basic differences between the two so you can make the right choice to fit your needs!
What's The Difference Between a Condo and a Townhouse?
Condos: What You Should Know
A condo is housing that is located within a part of a larger property, similar to an apartment complex. Although you are a private owner of your condo, you are living in a building with other condos and owners. Condos typically have higher HOA fees and smaller square footage than townhouses. However, these HOA fees help keep common areas clean and in good condition within the condo complex. Some of the benefits of owning a condo for a first time home buyer is the lack of yard and maintenance work such as gardening, roof replacement or landscaping. Some people feel frustrated when owning a condo because of HOA restrictions, so it's important to have a clear understanding of the rules before choosing. With condos, you also have to consider your neighbors, as you would in an apartment complex.
Townhouses: What You Should Know
A townhouse or townhome is an individual house placed side by side with another. The walls are shared between adjacent homes but you are a private owner of your home space. Townhouses do not have common areas like condos, very little is considered "joint". There may be neighborhood playgrounds, pools or parks but those are most of the time separated from the townhouse development. If you are looking for a more urban living experience and do not want to deal with large yard work, a townhouse may be right the choice for you. Townhomes typically have small yards or sitting areas. They also have the same safety and security measures you can expect with a traditionally detached home. One drawback of a townhome is that you will have to deal with maintenance issues yourself and hire private contractors, as you would with a detached single family home. Your townhouse may or may not have an HOA at all. Townhomes that do have HOAs may also fail to cover upkeep of landscaping or roof replacement.
Understanding Condo vs. Townhouse Association Types
Condo association fees are typically higher than townhouse fees. With condos, the building has to cover costs and they will split the costs between all of the owners within the complex. However, when owning a townhouse the fees collected will generally go towards the common grounds work but isn't normally specific to your unit. With townhouses, they do not normally raise fees as much or as often as condos. You can expect your association to cover the cost of insurance for the exterior of the home and any common areas shared by the grounds. Learn more about HOA basics here.
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