Condos vs. Townhomes: What’s the Difference?

If you’re considering buying a condo or townhome, there are a few things you should know.

At Beverly-Hanks, we believe that every home buyer has the right to Live the Life You Choose. For many, that may mean a traditional detached home in the suburbs on a couple acres of carefully manicured lawn. But for many others, the ideal home—and its setting—may look very different. 

If you’re considering buying a condo or townhome, there are a few things you should know. First, it’s important to know the difference, not just in form but in terms of finances. It’s also crucial that you understand the legal and lifestyle pros and cons of condos versus townhomes. Keep reading for an introduction to these increasingly popular types of homes.


What is a Condominium?

A condominium, also called a condo, is a unit within a larger structure that is privately owned by the homeowner. You can think of it as an apartment that you own outright. In condo buildings, connecting areas of the complex are owned communally. This includes the building exterior and lawn areas, if any. Condo communities can consist of a single high rise with dozens of units or a neighborhood of multiple buildings with several units in each one.

How do community fees work in condos?

In condo communities, shared spaces are maintained by a condo association. Condo associations may govern exterior repairs, lawn maintenance, shared spaces, and day-to-day maintenance, as needed. Fees can be paid monthly, quarterly, or annually, depending on the way the association is set up.

What are safety and privacy like in condos?

Especially in large urban condo high-rises, safety of condo living is fairly high. Proximity of neighbors, added door security, shared spaces, and the compact size of the community add to a condo’s safety. However, these measures also work against many needs for privacy. Condos can also be purchased for short term rentals, or bought and resold, making it difficult to know the neighbors with whom you share walls.


What is a Townhome?

Townhomes, similar to row houses or duplexes, are structures that are placed side by side so that they share at least one wall. Individual tenants own their respective townhome, including the exterior of the home, the lawn, the driveway, and the land it all sits on. Because townhomes typically share one or two walls, it is common that each individual home is two (or more) stories.

How do community fees work in townhomes?

Townhome communities are typically governed by a Homeowners Association (HOA). Depending on the amenities of the community, the HOA may care for everything from the maintenance of home exteriors to playground upkeep to trash collection. Fees can be paid monthly, quarterly, or annually, depending on the way the HOA is set up.

What are safety and privacy like in townhomes?

While townhomes are by no means inherently unsafe, they are far less regulated than condo buildings. Townhomes are typically spread out over a larger area, and neighbors share less space as a whole. This does add some additional measures of privacy, though, as compared to condos. When constructed well, day-to-day sounds should not be heard through townhome walls.


Should I Buy a Condo or a Townhome?

There are many pros and cons to buying a condo or a townhome. Both condos and townhomes are good choices for first-time homeowners or retirees who do not have the skills or the interest in lawncare and exterior home maintenance. City condos are also a great choice for people who value an urban lifestyle and living in a close community. However, either option can be restrictive for homeowners with growing families, those who enjoy entertaining outdoors, or people who find HOA rules too restrictive.

Though they are generally higher for condo owners, HOA fees and what they cover can vary dramatically depending on the community and the amenities available. As you consider various properties for sale, it’s important to weigh the value of HOA services compared to your needs and interests. For instance, would you prefer to live somewhere that offers assistance with self maintenance and minor repairs, or would you be more confident handling those chores yourself? Don’t forget to factor your HOA fees into your financial planning, as well.

Even once HOA fees are factored in, owning a condo or a townhome is often more affordable than purchasing a detached single-family home. Ultimately, your choice should be made based on the community and lifestyle in which you want to live.


Do You Still Have Questions about Buying Condos or Townhomes?

All real estate is local.

If you would like more information about buying condos or townhomes, our experts at Beverly-Hanks are here to help. Contact us today to speak with a Beverly-Hanks real estate agent about buying your next home in Western North Carolina.

Search condos and townhomes for sale in WNC at beverly-hanks.com.

Properties pictured above:

5 Farleigh Street #301 in Asheville | $419,000 | MLS# 3502080 | Learn more.

310 Piney Mountain Drive #L1 in Asheville | $419,000 | MLS# 3536221 | Learn more.

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