Need something smaller and more stress-free than a detached single family home? A townhome or condo could be a good choice, but what’s the difference?
What is a Condominium?
A condominium is like an apartment in an apartment building, except instead of renting it, you buy it. You don’t own the real estate, and you don’t have to do any maintenance to the exterior of the building or the grounds. The structural integrity and upkeep of the building falls on the corporation that owns the condo.
Usually, your condo will be a suite of rooms on a single floor. Although some condos are designed with a two floor layout, usually with an open plan that includes a loft. There will likely be several condo units on each floor.
You will be responsible for HOA fees to help defray the cost of maintaining the building, grounds, and amenities. This can be expensive if the condo is relatively new, in a desirable location, and has a lot of extras like dry cleaning, a gym, and a pool.
Townhomes (or townhouses) are usually two or three story buildings built side by side in a row. These are usually set with the skinny side facing the road frontage, and then extend deep into the lot. You own the lot, the exterior, and the interior of your building. You may have your walls connected with the units on either side.
Townhomes with their multi-level approach and postage stamp sized yards (if any) are perfect in expensive city centers where real estate is at a premium. You might buy a townhome in a community, in which case you’ll have an HOA to help cover things like trash pickup and snow removal. You’ll still be responsible for maintaining your property, like replacing the roof, which is different from a condo.
Whether you choose the condo life or townhome living, getting preapproved is the first step. Once you know how much you can afford, you can shop high rises or brownstones with confidence.
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