Some friends of mine recently decided to purchase a townhouse in the middle of a rapidly growing city. They looked at condos and townhouses because they wanted something that would put them in the middle of what was “happening in the area.”
Whatever your reasons might be for thinking about purchasing a condo or townhouse, it’s important to keep in mind the differences and why they matter.
Let’s Talk About Condos First.
When it comes to a condo, you are effectively purchasing an apartment. I think about it like this. When my wife and I go to the beach for a vacation, we typically rent a condo that overlooks the beach. It offers great views and we can get anywhere from the first floor to the 20th floor if we want.
The owners of the condo are responsible for what is inside the walls. They pay fees for maintaining common areas, sprinkler systems, and other amenities. Those fees also cover painting the outside, landscaping, and parking areas. Those fees get pretty large, pretty quick.
Condos are usually one story or one unit. Rarely do they have stairs and the owner does not own the roof or the ground under the condo. They strictly own the little box and nothing more. They just share in the expense of caring for the rest of the complex with the other owners.
Let’s Talk About Townhouses Next.
With a townhouse, you actually own the land under your particular unit. Townhouses share two main things. They share the roof and the foundation. Townhouses are usually built with several units attached to each other and many times, there is extra insulation and separation between the units to keep noise from going from one unit to the other – unlike apartments that share a common wall with little insulation between them.
Townhouses are usually 2-3 stories. Occasionally, you may find a townhouse that is one story but they are not as common. Some higher-end townhouses may even include an elevator inside the unit. There is also a trend where you pay HOA fees and the HOA will care for the outside maintenance, much like with a condo but not always. The fees for being part of a townhouse community rival those of condos.
There you have it. Multi-story or one-story. Own the land or not. Either way, there will be pretty large HOA fees to cover the extras.
Something to think about.
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Patrick O’Connor, Ebby Halliday, Realtors, Plano, TX
My first priority is to help you understand the real estate process.
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