Is It a Condo and a Townhome?

Many of my blog posts are fun and conversational in tone. This is not one of them. The info is valuable, if a bit dry.

What is the difference between a Condo and a Townhome?

A condominium, condo for short, is a single unit that is usually attached to other units within a larger complex. Condo owners only own the inside of an individual unit. Collectively, all unit owners within a development own all the structures and land outside of the individual units. Condos usually share common walls with the units above, below, and to either side, and all owners share the costs of maintaining the structures and land external to the units. You might be interested to know that many buildings that look like apartment complexes are actually individually-owned condos. However, not all condominiums are attached units. In fact, more and more detached homes are now being sold as condominium ownership.

The terms townhome, row house, and townhouse are often used interchangeably. These terms describe a consecutive series of similar residential units that may or may not share common walls with the adjacent units. These properties usually have two or more levels, may or may not sit on individual lots, and may or may not have front or backyards. These types of properties could be sold Fee Simple, Condominium, or some other type of ownership method, so it’s important to know what you’re getting.

The confusion then lies in what term is being used in what way. A townhouse, townhome, row, single-family home could be either Fee Simple, Condominium, or something else. If a property is advertised as a condo, then the method of ownership is readily obvious–condominium ownership.

Each of the ownership methods and property types above have advantages and disadvantages. If you’re considering buying one, we’ll be sure to talk about the pros and cons of the different property types.