The process of buying a home is filled with decision-making, starting with the type of home you want to live in. If you eliminated buying a detached single family home, you will have to decide between a condo and a townhouse. While condos and townhouses share many similarities, there are distinct differences. Knowing what these differences are and weighing the pros and cons of each will help you make the right decision.
A condominium, “condo” for short, is a privately owned individual unit within a community of other units. Owners, in general, own the interior of their condo and the structural components of exterior walls; they jointly own shared common areas within the community, such as pools, garages, elevators, and outside hallways and gyms. Condos are typically on one-level and in high-rise buildings.
A townhouse is an attached home also owned by its resident. One or more walls are shared with an adjacent attached townhome. Townhouses tend to have more square footage and more spacious floor plans than condos, and you can expect a little bit more privacy than you would get in a condo. A townhome community can give homeowners a hybrid experience of living in their own house – some come with an attached private garage and have community amenities such as a pool.
According to a moving.com article (Condo vs. Townhouse: What’s the Difference?), “condo” and “townhouse” are terms of ownership more than they are terms of architecture. You can live in a structure that resembles a townhouse but is actually a condo in your ownership rights—for example, you own the structure but not the land it sits on. If you are searching primarily townhome-style properties, be sure to ask what the ownership rights are, especially if you would like to also own your front and/or backyard.
When you buy a condo or townhouse, you are required to pay monthly fees into a Homeowners’ Association (HOA). The HOA, which is run by tenants, takes care of the day-to-day maintenance of the shared spaces. In a condo, the HOA is managing the building, its grounds, and its interior common spaces. In a townhouse community, the HOA is managing common areas, including general grounds and, in some cases, roofs and exteriors of the structures. In addition, the HOA sets rules for all tenants that may include rules around renting out your home, noise, and what you can do with your land. When comparing a condo to a townhouse, ask about HOA rules and fees, since they can vary from property to property.
Despite monthly HOA fees, owning a condo or townhouse may be less expensive than owning a single family home, making them a good choice for buyers on a budget or first-time buyers. Other costs to consider are home insurance, property taxes and home inspection costs – these can vary depending on the type of property you are purchasing and its location. In addition, mortgage interest rates are usually the highest for condos.
Whether you own a condo, townhouse or detached single family home, its resale value depends on many factors. A well-managed HOA, however, will help to ensure that common areas and general landscaping make a good first impression; and, community amenities such a pool or gym can be additional selling points. The current real estate market shows condos surpassing family homes in their rate of appreciation.
Condos and townhouses in St. Petersburg, FL.
With over twenty-five years of experience in real estate sales, RE/MAX Metro realtor Estelia Mesimer can guide you to find the right property to fit your needs and budget.
As of today, there are over 100 condos listed in downtown St. Petersburg, including new construction such as The Nolen and Residences, as well established properties including Bayfront Tower, the Dali and The Madison.
Estelia Mesimer – RE/MAX Metro: St. Petersburg, FL: Pinellas County
Bottom Line: After weighing the pros and cons of buying a condo vs townhouse, it all boils down to finding which best fits your needs and budget.
The Condo Book: How to Not Get Burned When Buying and Living in a Home within a Community Association, by David T. Schwindt
Condominium, by John D. MacDonald
St. Petersburg Communities
If you’re interested in any of these of communities or live in one of them and are thinking of selling, call Estelia today at 727.686.2859
Greater Pinellas Point
Historic Old Northeast
Historic Roser Park
Isla del Sol