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Townhouse vs Condo Living. Which is Right For You?

February 27, 2024 | Lifestyle

Do you find it challenging to keep up with the maintenance of your home, especially if you lead an active lifestyle or love to travel? If so, consider downsizing to low-maintenance living offered by condominiums and townhome communities. Depending on where you live, these two types of multifamily housing may have more similarities than differences.

For example, in large metropolitan areas like New York, Chicago, and Miami, you can find condominium towers offering bird-eye views. Sometimes, it is harder to differentiate between condominiums and townhomes in the suburbs because both are designed to fit into single-family neighborhoods. While there are pros and cons to each, they both offer a more carefree lifestyle when it comes to spending time on yard work and home maintenance on the weekends.

Here is a breakdown to help you determine if low-maintenance homes, like condominiums and townhomes that offer added amenities, could be the perfect choice for your dream lifestyle.

What are the Biggest Differences Between Townhomes and Condominiums?

The ownership structure is the first thing to understand about what sets condominiums (condos) and townhomes apart from each other. With a condo, you only own the interior of your unit. In other words, the space within the walls as well as a share of common areas, including hallways and elevators, along with other condo owners. You will pay homeowners association (HOA) fees to maintain the building and common areas.

Before buying a new condo, it is important to understand the role of the HomeOwners Association (HOA) board of directors. Is the community you’re considering operated by a professional property manager? If all the positions on the board are not filled, consider getting involved at this level wherever you purchase a condo. 

Equally important is to have a good grasp on the percentage of money collected from HOA dues allocated towards a “reserve account.” While HOA dues pay for monthly, ongoing upkeep and maintenance like pest control, painting, insurance, trash removal, and landscaping, the reserve account funds are saved for a rainy day when the roof needs replacing, or the building needs painting.

On the other hand, when you buy a townhome, you own the interior and exterior of the unit, including the land it sits on. This means owning a townhome is more like owning a single-family home. In contrast, condo ownership is more like renting an apartment (but with all the advantages of building equity as a homeowner). 

However, there will also be HOA fees in townhome communities that go towards common spaces like parking lots, boulevards with grass, landscaping, or recreational facilities. These fees are usually lower than condos but are still required for maintenance and upkeep.

How are Townhomes and Condominiums the Same?

Although townhomes and condos are different, they also share some similarities. Most importantly, they both offer a low-maintenance lifestyle ideal in many situations. Snowbirds retiring to Florida may choose a high-rise condo community with ocean views. Growing families with school-aged children can find townhomes in good school districts as a more affordable option when buying their first home. 

There are trade-offs, though, like less closet and storage spaces because these dwellings are typically smaller than average home sizes. Most townhomes include a garage, but few condos offer this feature. Metro Self Storage can help with our convenient neighborhood locations in these scenarios. While both townhomes and condos have shared walls with neighboring units, typically, townhomes only share one or maybe two walls. Often, townhomes are built in a neighborhood of single-family homes, which also helps them maintain their resale value.  

Condos share at least two walls and sometimes are sandwiched between units above and below. As you’ve probably figured out, a shared wall arrangement can lead to shared noise, such as hearing your neighbors’ TVs, conversations, or teens blasting their music. It can also lead to potential maintenance considerations, such as dealing with leaks or cracks that affect both units.

Both types of properties are governed by HOAs, which collect dues, create the bylaws, essentially a list of rules, and manage common areas. These restricted parameters can frustrate some when fined for leaving their trash cans out an extra day or when HOA fees go up unexpectedly. Townhomes offer more autonomy and lower HOAs because homeowners must frequently pay for their landscaping and maintenance costs.

Townhome and condo communities often share common areas and amenities such as swimming pools, fitness centers, and landscaped grounds, fostering a sense of community among residents. To briefly summarize, townhomes and condos are usually the most affordable home-buying options for first-time buyers and retirees. And even though HOA dues and regulations can irk some, the idea of a low-maintenance lifestyle wins the day. 

Your Friendly Neighborhood Storage Solution 

Whether you’re a first time homebuyer or downsizing, living in a townhome or condo can certainly simplify life. During your move or whenever you may need some extra storage space, Metro Self Storage is here to help. Since opening our first storage facility in 1973, we’ve become one of the nation’s most respected storage providers. 

Our secure and convenient neighborhood locations feature amenities and extended access hours to meet your busy schedule. a secure solution for families to keep cherished belongings safe when it’s time for seniors to downsize. Visit Metro Self Storage or contact us to learn more about temporary and long-term storage options near you.