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Barry Bates' Blog

By Barry Bates | Appraiser in Philadelphia, PA

A rowhouse is not a townhouse is not (necessarily) a condo...

If you search for condos in Philadelphia, you'll get some, but you'll also get thousands of standard rowhouses that will obscure your results.  This seems to be mostly a practice of brokers and agents who mistakenly classify rowhouses as condos because they're two-story homes that can also be called townhouses or townhomes under various land use scenaria.   A townhouse can be a condo (any land owned in common), an attached single family residence (small lot in fee simple) or a unit in a "planned (unit) development" (small lot in fee simple, but some project amenities owned in common).

A Philly rowhouse is (99% of the time) just an attached single family dwelling sitting on its own lot.  If you're the type that likes to complicate everything (like me), the "attached" part can be argued; just because two brick walls butt up against each other doesn't necessarily mean that they're attached.  Also, there are plenty of rowhouses that eventually find themselves next to vacant lots. 

Trulia's working on resolving these property type issues at the source; in the meantime, we'll just have to look at the pictures! 

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