There are too many housing options on the market and this is good news. But sometimes it can be so hard to decide! Many first-home buyers are wondering what to choose. Condominium vs townhouse? Or maybe your own home?
Let’s see how these types of housing differ, what are their advantages and disadvantages, and what is life like in these types of real estate.
Condominium vs townhouse: what’s the difference?
The most important difference is that condominium owners have separate apartments in a large complex. Although the owners of townhouses share a wall with neighbors, they own the house and the plot of land that is adjacent to it.
To better understand the differences between townhouses and condominiums, let’s break down both of these terms. Condominium vs townhouse — let the battle begin!
What is a townhouse?
Townhouses are much more like traditional houses in that they tend to have multiple floors and usually have front and back yards. Usually, the purchase of such real estate is called a compromise between an apartment and a large house.
And all because townhouses are not separate real estate objects. They are usually part of a series of narrower houses that are connected by one or two walls.
Usually, they are a complex of low-rise buildings (2-3 floors) — these are buildings attached to each other.
A distinctive feature of the townhouse is the property. Residents usually own the land on which the house is located, including the front and back yards, regardless of its size. They also own the exterior of the house.
Townhouse communities often have homeowner associations, all of which pay monthly fees to cover insurance and maintenance of the common parts of the community, as well as garbage collection and cleaning. Some associations also enforce rules for the overall aesthetics of the townhouse area, such as the permitted exterior paint colors or the types of fencing residents can install.
The owners are also financially responsible for the appearance of the houses as well as their repairs. So, a townhouse is definitely for people who like to participate in the upkeep of their home and the life of the local community, but do not want to take responsibility for the upkeep of too much land.
Pros of owning a townhouse:
- A townhouse is cheaper than a house, but it also has land and a garden.
- Possibility to choose the size of the area. This type of ownership involves completely different formats.
- A more presentable architectural appearance of the townhouse area.
- Availability of a parking space.
- Best for owners who want more space than in flat, but don’t want all the responsibilities of a big house
- Impossibility of changes and large-scale repairs.
- Proximity to neighbors — the presence of noise, small space.
- Responsible for the maintenance and repair of the exterior of their townhouses.
What is a condominium?
A condominium is the most relaxed approach to homeownership, it is often even compared to living in rented apartments. Although, there are options when condos look like multi-level townhouses.
Such a property is usually cheaper than a townhouse because there is no land of its own — the exterior of the buildings and the plots are considered common parts. On the other hand, the monthly fee to the homeowners association will be much higher.
Condo owners pay for a number of the following things:
- cost of external maintenance
- insurance to cover expensive items: roofs, elevators, parking lots
- garbage and snow removal
Pros of owning a condo:
- Most often, condos are modern apartment buildings.
- The apartment is completely owned by the owner.
- The presence of an apartment in such a house guarantees security: a closed territory, the presence of a concierge, and an alarm system.
- Banks are more likely to issue loans and mortgages for the purchase of condos.
- Best for first-home buyers
Cons of a condo:
- High maintenance costs
- It is necessary to join the committee of the house and participate in/attend general house meetings
- For pet lovers, a condo may not be suitable, as the home association may not allow pets to be kept in the apartment.
- In a condominium, various sounds and smells coming from neighbors can be a problem.
- Redevelopment in the apartment can be done only upon receipt of approval from the local authorities.
- The limited area does not allow gardening in front of the house, it is impossible to leave things in public places.
Living in a house
A private house is about maximum freedom. You can choose a different area — from small houses to huge mansions, and you will also not have neighbors with whom you share walls. Less noise, more privacy, and no violation of personal boundaries.
Residential associations are also formed for some detached houses, but fees are minimal and cover no more than snow and garbage removal; road maintenance. And if the mansion is located in a rural area, most likely there will be no residents’ association at all. So, living in your own home provides maximum independence and freedom to choose.
Separate houses will appeal to people who value closeness to nature, love being outdoors, and want their children to be able to play in the yard. The determining factor is the large area — you can make guest bedrooms, a large living room, and a studio to practice your favorite hobby.
On the other hand, the house is not part of an organized community of residents. Therefore, the amenities of townhouses or condos will not be available to you: swimming pools, fitness clubs, or tennis courts. Also, you will have to solve any problems with real estate, repair, and maintenance of the local area on your own.
Pros of owning a home:
- The ability to independently change the design: from a small repair to a complete restoration.
- Plenty of space: get a home garden or a pet. You are your boss!
- Low mortgage rates and the possibility of a small down payment
- Best for couples, families
- Annual property tax. Its value depends on the novelty of the house (the newer the house, the more expensive it is), and on the area (the better the area, the more expensive).
- The landscaping of the site is your direct responsibility: mow the lawn, clean the snow, rake the leaves, and so on. You will always have something to do!
Condominium vs Townhouse or House
If we compare a house with a townhouse, then here again we will talk about responsibility. Although we have already decided that a townhouse is like a house, it is still not so strong. You live in a community and share some of the problems with other homeowners. But, on the other hand, you are constantly in contact with them — so absolute privacy is out of the question.
Owning a home is never easy, with new real estate comes to a lot of obligations, but for those who live in a condo, most of them are not relevant. Residents are only responsible for the maintenance of their apartments. Everything else is the responsibility of the condominium homeowners association. So if the roof leaks, it will be replaced. If there is a problem with the plumbing, it will be fixed. As you can see, there are not that many obligations, but, again, condo owners are responsible for following the rules of the community.
So what to choose?
The final decision of what to buy usually comes down to several parameters:
- ease of maintenance
- lifestyle — whether you want to be close to other people or not
Millennial buyers with little home ownership experience and no home maintenance experience can get the most out of living in a townhouse or condominium. Perhaps, after a few years of living here, they will be able to psychologically prepare for the purchase and maintenance of their home.
Buyers who are thinking about starting a large family and do not want to conform to the rules of the community of residents will have more fun in their own home.
And for owners who want to spend a little and not carry a lot of responsibility, condominiums are great.
In general, we again came to the conclusion that everything is individual. So, in a battle of condominium vs townhouse or condo versus home, no one wins! Except your personal opinion.
Therefore, at LBC Mortgage we pay a lot of attention to each of our clients — to find the best financing for the best home in which they see their future life.
Contact us for advice so that real estate lending issues become as simple as possible for you!