You can't tell if a house is a condo or not simply by looking at it. In Seattle almost all attached townhomes are not condominiums and on the Eastside almost all attached townhomes are condominiums. It's all about whether or not the lots underneath are subdivided and separately owned.
I think the answer is yes, and no - and maybe some, though they're not referred to as such, technically could be considered one! Confused? Me too! Let me see if I can shed some light...
You see, to understand the definition of a condominium I'll start with the definition of a single family residence (SFR). With a SFR you own the two dementional space located within the parameters of the property lines and any structure on attached to that property. But you also, in theory, own to the center of the Earth and "through the sky". Now, with that said someone else may have the mineral rights under your property and good luck stopping a plane from 'tresspassing'! :)
Now, a condo is a different beast in that you own only the space within your walls and a proportionate share of the land. Therefore in theory if there are 20 condo owners, with units the same size, on a one acre parcel, then each owns a 1/20 share of the acre as well as a 1/20 share of the exterior of the building(s).
So, with that I'll get back to your question. Another type of property is the Townhome. For example, my father lives in a townhome in Redmond and what he owns is: The interior space, the land that his home actually sits on (including a small backyard that he is responsible for) and a share in the overall property. He is assessed, just as a condominium owner, by the home owners association when there is exterior maintenance to be done. Generally the home owners association also handles the landscaping of the common area. Now let me be clear - these nuances all depend on the individual home owners association.
Now a patio home, according to one definition, is basically considered a detached townhome. Therfore, I would say that is the closest to a form to a "detached condo" would be a townhome. Now, we'll let the others debate my answer and hopefully improve upon it!
Say hello to the Northwest for me!
If the legal description states something like:
Lot XX Tract XXXX or something of the sort, and then it adds a whatever interest in the common area then it is a PUD (Planned Unit Development)
If the legal description says say 1/100th interest in say Lot 1 Unit B Tract XXX, then it is legally a condominum.
Ardell said it best! Yet, when in question ask for the legal description!!!!
I've seen the opposite in this area. I sold a home in a community of attached quads, that was governed by a standard Home Owner's Association. Therefore, each home owner was responsible for their own roofs, painting, interior and exterior insurance and maintenance, etc. It left a lot of questions that needed to be answered before we could close.
That's the great thing about this business. We're constantly learning something new. And it's great to share experiences from other agents around the country.
Condo's serve as that great first home in which an owner can build equity and move up the ladder to the SFR. Conversely, the condo serves great as a "downsized" home for those who have had the SFR and need a little less space to maintain.