What is the difference between a condo and a townhouse?

Asked by Tony Troitino, 12065 Mon Nov 1, 2010

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Kevin Olson, Jessica Laude’s answer
Kevin Olson,…, Agent, Colorado Springs, CO
Mon Nov 1, 2010
The easiest way to explain it is that while they are much alike, in a condo you own the space between the walls, whereas with a townhome you own the walls in addition the space between them. Townhomes have land included (most of the time), and condos do not (most of the time).
2 votes
Patrick Thies, Agent, Anytown, IL
Mon Nov 1, 2010

A townhouse is like a house in that the owner owns both the structure and the land on which it sits; but it is not free standing, so "the land on which it sits" is limited to the front and back yards. Townhouses are connected to one another in a row, and are usually two or three stories tall. They share many of the characteristics of condominiums.


Like townhouses, condominiums are attached to one another. If you own a condo, you do not own the land surrounding your living space. A condo owner owns only the unit itself, which is taxed as an individual entity, and sometimes a percentage of the common areas of the community. Condo communities may provide such shared facilities as a pool, gym, tennis courts and clubhouse, all maintained by the condo association, which takes care of all day-to-day management tasks. This is one of the key advantages of condo living...all the joy of using the amenities, none of the hassles of maintaining them. Condominium owners pay a monthly fee to the condo association, which also sets the rules for the community.
1 vote
Robert Spino…, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Mill Valley, CA
Mon Nov 1, 2010

Very good question. Both properties fall under the general heading of common interest developments (CID's). Outside of that, it has been my experience that the classification is more subjective than technical and can come down to how the appraiser appraises the dwelling.

And your inquiry is important when you get to the financing level. A townhome can be viewed quite differently from a condo when it comes to getting a loan.

There are a couple of good ways to check to see if there is a consensus on how the home will likely be classified and if you'd like to go over these get in touch any time.

Thank you,

Rob Spinosa
1 vote
Rene Moya, Agent, Camillus, NY
Thu May 16, 2013
Hi Tony,
As an appraisr and real estate salesperson, I understand many may use the name of townhome and condo as the same. But its important to know that its not the same an markets have no difference, especially when it comes to financing it. The condominium style can vary from: attached ranch style, to apartment like units. A condominum is basically a form of ownership. A condominium means that you own the space inside the walls within a particular structure and nothing else, everyting else is a common element and the ownership is shared with all others.(ei. walkways, ammenities, parking...) on these properties you will have to pay a HOA or maintenance fee. A townhome is basically an attached single family property on which you share a wall of with another unit. on a townhome you actually purchase the land with all of its rights, and some will have a HOA fee and others won't. The ones with HOA fees typically will have ammenites within the project that are supported by the fees. I hope this clarifies your question! If you have further questions feel free to contact me. Thanks.
Rene Moya
FL & NY State Certifed Residential Appraiser
NY license sales person
0 votes
Dennis Evans, Agent, Clifton Park, NY
Thu May 16, 2013

All these answers are very good and are text book correct.... However, I realize that it might be easier to comprehend exactly what you are getting into with each scenario.... So, If you would actually like to see examples of each or are in the market to possibly purchase a nice Condo or townhouse... Please give me a call and I would be more than happy to help you in this area!
Here is my cell if you would like to see any properties in the area.....
Dennis Evans
0 votes
Victoria Rom…, Agent, Clifton Park, NY
Thu May 9, 2013
Typically, a townhouse is considered the same as a single-family home. You own the roof, the exterior, in between the walls, and usually a bit of land surrounding the home. You just have some shared exterior space and walls. In a condo, you own what's under the roof and between the walls. In both you will usually pay a Home Owner's Association to contribute to the common spaces. Financing can be a bit more complicated for a condo as well.
0 votes
Catherine De…, Agent, Latham, NY
Fri Feb 1, 2013
As a Clifton Park real estate expert, I can completely understand your question. There are many communities in Clifton Park that have homes that look similar. The only difference between a town house and a condo is ownership. If you purchase a condo you only own the interior of your living space and it almost always comes with a monthly home owner's association (HOA) fee. Some of the condos in Clifton Park are the town home style and that can get confusing. There are some town homes in 12065 that are not condominiums which means that you own the entire structure and the land associated with it. These may or may not have an HOA fee, that depends on the community. If you are still in the market for a home we can sit down and I can explain this to you further in person.
0 votes
Rene Moya, Agent, Camillus, NY
Mon Jan 7, 2013
A Townhome or Townhouse is basically a single family attached property on which you own the real property and the land. Many get confused and look at a condo as type of property and its not. A condominium is a type of ownership you cannot own the entire building there for you own the space confided within a unit. The actual real property and common elements are owned and controlled by the homeowners association.
0 votes
Jenet Levy, Agent, New York, NY
Tue Nov 2, 2010
"Real estate is local," the NAR catch-phrase is so true. Everyone is answering about their own markets that may or may not apply to you and your market. Here in NYC a townhouse is a rowhouse: a private home which can be a brownstone, limestone or brick and is probably 100 years old. A condo is usually an apartment, one of two types of apt. ownership here (co-op and condo). But in New Jersey, for example, a condo can be in an apt. building or in small attached low-rise units which they may sometimes call townhouses. SInce these terms are relative, and particularly used differently in urban areas vs. suburban, I suggest you address your question to a local real estate agent. They can also assist you in your purchase.
0 votes
James Wehner, Agent, Scottsdale, AZ
Tue Nov 2, 2010
A way I usually describe a condo vs. a townhome is that a condo you usually have someone either living above, below or on the sides of you as well as share a percentage in the common interest of the community property. A townhome, you typically own the land as well as no one is ever above you, but you may have common walls.
Web Reference:  http://www.jameswehner.com
0 votes
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Tue Nov 2, 2010
Generally in a condo, the purchaser owns his/her unit, plus a percentage of the property including land and any amenities on the property--wheras a purchaser of a townhouse, owns his/her unit as well as the ground underneath the unit--as with condos, townhouse residents can also belong to a home owners' association, and pay monthly fees for maintenance on common outdoor areas.
0 votes
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