Townhouses vs Condos? If you’re in the market to buy a home in the Phoenix area, but for various reasons a single-family home isn’t right for you, then a condo or townhouse might fit the bill. But what is the difference, and which one is right for you?
The condo vs. townhouse topic can be confusing if you don’t know the key differences. While condos and townhouses have some similarities, there are also important distinctions. It’s important to understand the differences to determine which one works best for you.
Townhouses vs Condos
What is a Townhouse?
A townhouse, also known as a townhome, is a property that shares one or more walls with neighboring units. They’re most often built in rows of identical houses and have multiple levels. A townhouse often has more space than a condo and more privacy. They are typically built in communities with shared amenities such as pools, clubhouses and barbecue areas, etc.
What is a Condo?
Condos are usually single units owned by residents that make up a more extensive development. They share walls with neighboring units and can be similar to an apartment with multiple condo units within a single building. They are typically smaller than townhouses and are less expensive to buy. As with townhouses, there are shared amenities but these are usually more extensive than in townhouse communities. Condos can be located nearer to a city’s center.
The Main Differences Between a Condo and a Townhouse
The main difference between a condo and a townhouse is 1) ownership, and 2) responsibility.
1) Differences in Ownership
In a townhouse, you actually own the land that the townhouse sits on. You will typically have a small backyard. In a condo, you do not own the land nor do you own the building. You own the space inside your unit. You do, however own a fractional interest in the development’s common areas.
2) Differences in Owner Responsibilities
The main difference between a condo and a townhouse will be what you, as the owner, must do. Living in these homes gives owners different levels of responsibility for the property.
Townhouse Owner Responsibilities – Owning a townhouse means that you are responsible for the exterior of the home and any land that comes with it. This includes landscaping, air conditioning, etc. The HOA will take responsibility for the communal areas. Townhome owner’s maintenance costs will be similar to that of single-family homes. This may seem like you would have more freedom as a homeowner but that’s not necessarily the case. The HOA will still have rules that you’ll need to follow that govern the exterior decoration of the home.
Condo Owner Responsibilities – You have less to worry about when you own a condo. Since you only own the space within your individual unit, you won’t be responsible for any outside maintenance. The HOA will have more to do with maintenance of the larger communal areas and you won’t be involved in the cost or decision making. However that could mean that if something needs to be done, it may take longer than you might like.
Pros and Cons of a Condo vs. a Townhouse
Pros of a Condo
- More affordable
- Less maintenance
- More centrally located
Cons of a Condo
- Less privacy
- Paying for amenities you may not use
- Tighter rules and restrictions
Pros of a Townhouse
- More similar to single-family home living
- More space
- More likely to have a yard
Cons of a Townhouse
- More maintenance than a condo
- Neighbors. You’ll still share a wall or perhaps two with neighbors
- Less centrally located
If you don’t have a problem living close to other people, condo living could be a better choice. You’ll pay less than you would for a townhouse and you’ll have a lot fewer maintenance costs.
If you want an experience similar to a single-family home, a townhouse is closer to that type of living. You’ll have more privacy and space while still being part of a community with access to amenities.
Contact the Donnelly Group
If you are new to the Phoenix housing market or are just considering a move within our beautiful region, the Donnelly Group has the expertise to help you. Whether you’re considering a single-family home, or weighing up the idea of townhouses vs condos…or if you’re not even sure, don’t hesitate to contact our team at 480-792-9700 or by email, we’d love to help you.