Condo vs. Townhouse: What's the Difference?

by Ellen Johnson 07/20/2020

Photo by Pixabay via Pexels

When it comes to home ownership, you have many options beyond buying a single-family home. A condominium and a townhouse are two such options. Before you consider making one of these your permanent home, it's important to understand the differences between them.

Condo Ownership

When you purchase a condo, you own the entire inside of the structure. The condo association owns the exterior, all common areas, and the land where the condo sits. Condo owners are not responsible for exterior maintenance. However, you need to budget for condominium association fees apart from your monthly mortgage payment. This covers the cost of repairs and maintenance in common areas. Most condos are in multi-story buildings.

Townhouse Ownership

When buying a townhouse in a traditional manner, you must pay dues to its homeowner's association. This fee goes toward outdoor maintenance, such as mowing the lawn and shoveling snow. Your fee may also include landscaping services. Townhomes typically appear as conjoined single-family homes.

If you choose to purchase a townhouse in a non-traditional manner, you own the land it sits on as well as the physical structure of the home. This means you are responsible for repairs and maintenance both inside and outside of your townhome. The association that owns a townhouse complex is only responsible for communal repairs such as potholes on the street.

Financial Considerations

You can't deduct homeowner's dues if either type of property is your primary or secondary home. The only exception to this is if you rent it to others. If you occupy the condo or townhouse, you can deduct real estate taxes and mortgage interest if you itemize deductions on your tax return. If you plan to use the condo as a second home and rent it the remainder of the time, make sure that you occupy it less than 10 percent of the time that you rent it. If you don't, the IRS considers it personal property.

The non-mortgage fees for a condo are almost always higher than they are for a townhouse. This is due to more shared areas and additional amenities that most townhomes don't have. These may include a swimming pool, a recreation room, or an area on the roof to suntan or host a barbeque for your neighbors. These amenities all carry an additional risk, which necessitates the need for additional insurance coverage.

The property taxes and initial down payment are typically higher for condos as well. Even so, some people prefer a condo over a townhouse because they feel that not being at street level offers them better security.

If you’re in the market for a non-traditional home, feel free to schedule a consultation. We'll go over your options and find the best home to suit your needs.

About the Author
Author

Ellen Johnson

 

I am a longtime time resident of Plymouth, I started my love of the area as a summer resident who was lucky enough to spend summers at the beautiful Priscilla Beach. I am a successful business owner who owned the first salon and day spa in Plymouth. I sold that business and started a highly successful women's clothing and accessory store also located in Plymouth.  My love of the area and real estate brought me to a new chapter in my life full time real estate sales.

Leveraging my experience as a business owner known for outstanding client service, high tech marketing and a personal touch that is needed in a real estate transaction I have guided my sellers and buyers through the complicates process of a real estate transaction. I am proud to say my first full year in real estate I received the International Diamond Society designation, awarded to the top 11% of all Coldwell Banker Affiliated Sale Associates. 

I am grateful for my wonderful husband and 3 beautiful children. Also, to live on the South Shore of Massachusetts. I can truly say there is NO PLACE LIKE HOME!