Condo vs. Townhouse: What’s the Difference?
So many options exist for great rentals. When looking for the perfect location, you’ll want to make sure you know the differences between townhouses and condos so that you can choose the best accommodation for your lifestyle. From rules to amenities and beyond, here’s what to expect from condos versus townhouses so you can find the solution that suits your personal preferences.
What is a condo?
The term “condo” is a common shorthand for condominium, which is a single resident unit located in a larger building. Although the layout of the condos can vary widely by building, most properties have multiple units per floor. This means you will likely have neighbors next to, above, or below you (or most likely all three). You can find condos in luxury high-rise buildings in urban centers as well as in suburban residential buildings.
A key aspect of condos is the Home Owner Association, or HOA, which is always associated with this type of housing. HOAs are made up of owners of condos in a building. The association meets to discuss the rules and maintenance of the condominium community.
What is a townhouse?
You can understand a townhouse if you imagine a combination of a condo and your typical single family home. Row houses usually have two or three stories. While townhouses are part of multiple housing complexes and therefore share walls with adjacent properties, townhouses do not have units below or above them. A common townhouse layout includes living areas such as the living room, dining room and kitchen on the ground floor and bedrooms on the upper floors.
Condo vs.Townhouse: Key differences
It’s important to understand how living in a condo versus a townhouse will affect your lifestyle (and your wallet!) When deciding what type of accommodation to rent. The two types of accommodation differ in several ways.
Condo or townhouse: The possession
Ownership of a condo or townhouse comes into play when it comes to maintenance. Condo owners are only responsible for the maintenance inside their individual units. Homeowners then typically pay HOA dues to cover maintenance of common property, the building exterior, and shared amenities. These charges can then be passed on to the tenant in certain cases.
There are two main types of townhouse ownership:
- Co-ownership property: This type of townhouse ownership means owning only the interior of the townhouse. Maintenance of the exterior of the house and yards is covered by HOA fees.
- Simple cost ownership: This type of property requires the owner to maintain the house as well as the yard, including the front, side and back yards.
As a tenant, you may or may not be responsible for maintaining different parts of the property depending on whether you are renting a townhouse or a condo. It’s always a good idea to carefully check the terms of your lease so you know what is expected of you.
Condo or townhouse: equipment
You will have access to the common areas and amenities of the property where you are renting, which can have a big effect on your lifestyle.
The condos are known to have excellent amenities available to residents. While the specific amenities will depend on the building and the community, if you are looking to live in a location with easy access to perks like a gym or swimming pool, you might find exactly that if you opt for a condo. . Townhouses generally have fewer amenities than their condominium counterparts. That said, many new townhouse communities are being built with an eye on amenities, so it is possible to find townhouses with features like pools, playgrounds, clubs, and more.
Condo or townhouse: Privacy
How much privacy you want and expect will play a big role in the type of accommodation you choose. Condos and townhouses generally mean less privacy than in a single family home. The balance here is that you will be living in a property that is easier to maintain.
If you are looking for more privacy, townhouses tend to provide a better fit than condos. You will have neighbors only next to you (as opposed to above and below that you like in a condo). Many townhouses also include yards that are separate from other common amenities. It’s a huge bonus if you need a place where kids or pets can play.
Condo or townhouse: Rules
The rules and regulations that HOA sets for your community will also have a big impact on your lifestyle, so make sure you understand the culture of the place you are looking for before signing this lease. Generally speaking, condos will have stricter rules than townhouses, as condo HOAs play a bigger role.
Your personal preferences will determine how much outside regulation you want to live with. You may have to face limitations in how you decorate your property, for example. On the other hand, more regulations often mean that you won’t have to think about other aspects of your living environment, such as maintenance or allocated parking spaces.
Condo or townhouse: HOA fees
Townhouses generally have fewer amenities and require less maintenance, so they will generally have lower HOA costs. However, this does mean that townhouse owners have to pay out of pocket for the required maintenance.
So, will you have to worry about HOA fees if you are renting? It depends. Your best bet is always to check your lease, which should state who pays the HOA fees. Consider this before signing a lease as well.
Typically, landlords pay HOA fees because the HOA could foreclose on the property if the tenant doesn’t pay. A landlord can therefore pay the HOA fees on your behalf, but set a rent amount that takes the HOA fees into account. In other cases, the rental agreement will state that you are responsible for paying HOA dues directly to the association. If your lease says the tenant is responsible for paying the HOA fees, you will need to pay.
Townhouses and condos share many similarities, but there are also key differences that distinguish these two housing choices. Understanding what each type of accommodation means will help you on your journey to find the best accommodation possible for your unique situation.
Ready to find the condo or townhouse of your dreams? Search thousands of rentals on Zumper and choose the one that’s right for you.