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Frank Codispoti's Blog

By Frank Codispoti | Agent in Huntington Beach, CA

What is a PUD and should I be concerned?

Like agents and brokers, not all real estate is created equal. If you are not purchasing a traditional detached home that is classified as a single family residence, then the rights granted to you the buyer will vary legally and architecturally. Unfortunately, some of these real estate options “look” the same, so it is important to know what the differences are.


These are very popular in many areas. A buyer of a condominium owns his or her individual unit, plus a percentage of the surrounding property, including land and any amenities on the property. Residents become members of a homeowners' association and pay a monthly fee to the association in exchange for maintenance of the common property areas used by residents. Each condominium complex has a master deed which outlines the percentage of ownership each unit in the development has invested in the entire complex. That percentage determines residents' monthly dues to the association. Condominiums come in a wide variety of architectural styles, from two- and three-story buildings arranged apartment-complex style with carports to luxurious high-rise properties with sweeping views of the surrounding city or natural landscape.


A buyer of a townhome purchases his or her individual unit, as well as the ground underneath that unit. Each townhome has its own roof, in contrast to condominiums. Townhome residents also typically belong to a homeowners' association and pay monthly fees in exchange for the general maintenance of common outdoor areas. Townhomes occasionally come with such single-family home amenities as garages and backyards (albeit small backyards), for which owners generally are responsible for maintaining.

How can you tell if a unit is a townhome or a condo?

There are two major differences between townhomes and condominiums. One difference is the style of the units; the other is type of ownership:

·         Townhomes always have their front door located on the ground level. Whether one-story or two-story, if the front door is on ground level of all units in the complex, it is a townhome.

·         Condominiums - If you have to climb stairs to get to the front door of any unit in the complex, it is a condo.

·         Townhome ownership owns land.

·         Condominium ownership owns an interest in land and amenities.

Do townhomes and condos have homeowner's fees?

Yes; both have homeowners' fees that you pay monthly over and above your regular mortgage payment. Every homeowner is assessed the same fee. These fees help cover liability insurance for common areas, costs to maintain parking lots, the entrance sign, outside lighting, pools, tennis courts, clubhouses, the exterior of the building including roof, etc.

PUDs - Planned Unit Developments

Here is the tricky one that can often be confused with a Condo. The difference between condominiums and planned developments is strictly a legal difference and not necessarily architectural design. It is important to ask this question because you won’t know by just looking at the structure’s design.

A condominium project consists of an ownership in a "unit" which must be coupled with an appurtenant (def. A right, privilege, or property that is considered incident to the principal property for purposes such as passage of title, conveyance, or inheritance) undivided interest in common in a portion of the project other than the units.  That is, the common areas of the complex.

A planned development consists of ownership of a "lot", with the common area either owned by an owners' association or in common by all the owners. Ownership of a lot in a planned development usually consists of all the land within the property boundary lines as denoted on the subdivision map as well as all structures thereon. In a condo project, a portion of the sky over all the units or a space below the ground could serve as the required appurtenant interest.

Viewing a project's design features alone will usually not provide a determination of whether the sub-division is a condominium or planned development. 

Let me know how I can help you with your move.

Kindest regards,

Frank Codispoti

ReMax TerraSol
Huntington Beach, CA

(714) 584-5509 Direct

Visit my website http://www.frankcodispoti.com for FREE Real Estate information:

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By Timothy M. Garrity,  Tue Apr 30 2013, 13:03
Great explanation, Frank.

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