What’s the difference between a condo and a townhome?

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A condo (short for condominium) and a townhome are both types of residential properties, but they have distinct differences in terms of ownership structure, architectural style, and community features. Here’s a breakdown of their key characteristics:


Ownership: When you buy a condo, you own the individual unit and have shared ownership of common areas and amenities with other condo owners. The common areas, such as lobbies, hallways, elevators, and recreational facilities, are jointly owned and managed by a homeowners association (HOA). You pay monthly HOA fees for the maintenance and management of these shared areas.

Architectural style: Condos are typically part of a larger building or complex, where individual units are stacked vertically. They can range from low-rise buildings to high-rise towers. Condo units may be located on different floors and may have shared walls with neighboring units.

Maintenance responsibilities: As a condo owner, you are responsible for the maintenance and repairs within your individual unit. The HOA takes care of the maintenance and upkeep of the common areas, exterior of the building, and shared amenities. You may need to follow certain rules and regulations set by the HOA.

Amenities and services: Condo communities often offer various amenities and services, such as swimming pools, fitness centers, concierge services, security, and common gathering areas. The availability and quality of amenities can vary depending on the specific condo complex.


Ownership: When you buy a townhome, you own the individual unit and the land it sits on, including the exterior walls, roof, and the ground beneath it. Townhome ownership typically includes a small yard or patio area. However, there may still be some shared areas, such as driveways or common walkways, which are jointly owned and maintained by the residents or an HOA.

Architectural style: Townhomes are characterized by their connected, multi-level design, often resembling a row of houses. Each unit shares at least one wall with a neighboring unit. Townhomes can be part of larger developments or standalone communities.

Maintenance responsibilities: As a townhome owner, you are typically responsible for the maintenance and repairs of both the interior and exterior of your unit, including the yard or patio area. If there is an HOA, it may handle certain exterior maintenance tasks, such as landscaping, roof repairs, or shared areas.

Shared expenses and rules: Townhome communities may have an HOA that collects fees to cover shared expenses, such as exterior maintenance, insurance, and community amenities. The HOA may also establish rules and regulations regarding property maintenance, architectural modifications, and community living.

It’s worth noting that the specific characteristics and features of condos and townhomes can vary depending on the location and the development. It’s important to review the governing documents, such as the CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions) and HOA agreements, to understand the specific rights, responsibilities, and rules associated with the property type you are considering.

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