||||||| UPDATE: June 5, 2011
You'll find sometimes wide differences between the two when comparing home vs. townhome, particularly when it comes to HOA fees. Homeowners purchase their own insurance for the structure. But, if you share a roof with several other owners, it doesn't make sense for all of you to pay on separate policies to cover the same roof. That's why some associations charge more for dues than many associations for homeowners. Homes and condos can have the same amenities. There is a good deal of variety, so you might have to take extensive notes while shopping.
These days the more important question might be whether the HOA is sound financially. You can request information from the HOA to help assist you in making your decision. You can ask, too, how often fees have been raised. You might find, too, that newer neighborhoods that have had a lot of foreclosures have HOAs that have struggled.
If you're absent from home a good deal, a condo with fewer maintenance chores may make sense. Consider, however, this is a minor issue. Many homeowners have friends look after their homes or pay a neighbor to care for a pet and a few favorite plants while they are away. A third option is to offer a live-in, rent-free arrangement with someone who will look after things for a few months.
Hope that is helpful for you and all the additional eyes that will see this post.
PML of Longmont