Home Buying in 22150>Question Details

Rj2835a, Renter in Arlington, VA

Why are so many properties listed as townhomes actually condos?

Asked by Rj2835a, Arlington, VA Wed Mar 30, 2011

The prices seem reasonable until I click on the details and realize that I'll have to add in condo fees. I always thought condos were more like apts.

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The fundamental difference between a townhouse and a condo is ownership and how they are set up legally. With Townhouses, you own the inside, outside, the yard and the airspace overhead individually (in most cases). The common areas are owned collectively. Reserves collected are for the repairs that the association is required to make like roof, painting, management, trash collection, yard maintenance, etc.. (Taxes and Insurance are usually paid by the mortgaor through escrow or the owner directly) WIth Condos, you only own the inside of your unit individually and everything else is owned collectively. Reserves are collected not only for the maintenance of the exterior of the units as a whole, but also for things like water, cable tv, taxes, insurance, telephone, electricity, and management fees, trash etc..

The reason that townhouses and condos are listed under the same classification is simply that our MLS does not distinguiish between the two. They both have mandatory fees. The difference between condo fees and townhouse fees is usually that the townhouse fees are less, because they cover less.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 30, 2011
A townhouse is a style of a residence, as is a villa. A condominium is a type of ownership. If you have selected a community where you are interested in a property, check with a licensed real estate agent for help with the local multi list system. Remember: everything in real estate is local market and local custom.

Looking for a condo on Longboat Key? Or a Villa? Townhouse? Single family home? Estate? Condo-tel?

Let me open the doors for you?

Diana Kryszak
Michael Saunders & Company
St Armands Circle
Sarasota Florida
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 6, 2011
You will see that sometimes. There are some that are "piggyback" units, and some that are attached to larger buildings.
One way to look into an MLS and eliminate the condos is to only search for what is known as
"Fee Simple".
This is when you own the house and the land.
Condos own the house, but share the land.

Hope this helps.


0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 29, 2011

As you found out, not all condos are apartment styled, some are laid out like THs. Many THs communities have an HOA fee, some can be similar in price to a condo. It depends on what kind of amenities, location that looking for as well as what you can afford, maybe the TH styled condo would work, otherwise have your buyers agent just send you properties that are THs or single family homes.

Good luck!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 30, 2011
Hi, A townhouse can be a type of condo. The condo term refers to a board of managing directors that govern the development. When it comes to marketing some search sites group coops/condos/townhomes together in one category for some reason.

Christopher Pagli
Licensed Associate Broker
Accredited Buyer Representative
GREEN Designated Agent
William Raveis Legends Realty Group
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 30, 2011
Condominium is a way of platting property. It's typically used where one property owner is on top of another - think of how homes are on land, and ownership goes from the center of the earth up through the top of the universe. But if you want to sell parcels above (or below) the land, you need to either have an elaborate system of easements, or you can just divvy up the air space and call it good.

Because it's easy, some developers do the same with townhomes, and even stand-alone homes in a development. Generally, there'll be some common area - for townhomes, the roofs may be common property, for example. But it could be a common driveway, garden area, whatever.

Hope that helps,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 30, 2011
Condos Always have Associations and fees
Town Homes have 2 or more levels but may be condos with Associations or may NOT be, just having A common wall agreement

Ask a Realtor to send you listings of Town Homes that are NOT condos
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 30, 2011
It is my experience that condos and town homes both belong to associations therefore they both have fees to pay. To me a townhouse is a 2, or more, level multifamily unit in a building. The fact it is a condo is something totally different and deals with who owns what.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 30, 2011
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