Difference Between Condos vs. Townhouses vs. Detached Homes

One of the first choices you have to make when deciding to buy a home is what type of home you want to purchase. Do you want to buy a condo or co-op, a townhome, a detached home? This is one of the first choices you’re going to have to make as a buyer.
I personally cannot make that decision for you, but I can help with explaining the differences between these types of homes, so that you can make a choice that works best for you.

Let’s start off with the two most uncommon home types: condos and townhomes.
A condo is essentially an apartment. You mainly own the air space between the walls as you do not technically own the roof or the building exterior. You pay a higher HOA fee which can be around three to four hundred dollars on a $150,000 condo.
However, there is a benefit to high HOA fees; presuming that management is doing a good job with the funds, you will not have to ever pay for garbage disposal. Moreover, the water bill is usually included in the HOA fee, as well as landscaping and swimming pool upkeep.
Another thing worth noting is that some HOAs fix the majority of problems that you and the other owners are not responsible for. For example, if there is an accidental leak coming from the condo above you, the HOA will likely cover the costs. If, for example, the owner of Sears flooded the bathtub or the toilet, or if they never conducted regular maintenance, then that would a separate homeowners issue.

Town houses tend to be more expensive than condos but HOA fees for town houses are usually cheaper. This is mainly due to the fact that townhouses have less shared spaces than condos.
Detached homes are simply houses without neighbors sharing walls. They are almost always the most expensive of the three property types. With detached homes, the homeowner is responsible for all repairs and maintenance. If the roof needs to be repaired, you will have to pay for it. If there is a leak or the deck needs repaired, you have to pay for it.
The owner must pay for their own landscaping, garbage and water bills instead of the HOA. However, in some newer developments, there is a small HOA fee which is usually paid by the neighbourhood to maintain local parks and greenery near roadways, but this does not include your front lawn.
There are also other versions of the three primary property types of housing. Co-ops are effectively condos which you can buy a percentage of. Co-ops are commonly seen in area like downtown San Francisco, and especially New York City. Then there are homes which share a wall with the neighbor – these are usually called duets. There are also other property types that are less common nationally, but they may be more widespread in certain local market areas.

When it comes down to it, it is all a matter of personal preference. If you do not like the thought of having to save up for larger repairs but you like the idea of a closed community or apartment style living and don’t mind the privacy of your own yard, then a condo may be the way to go. On the other hand, if you prefer to take care of everything yourself and you like the idea of having full control over your bills and repairs in a place of your own, then you may be more inclined to go for a detached home. If you are somewhere in-between, in that you would like to have a small yard and are not bothered by sharing expenses, a townhouse may be for you. Either way, it’s up to you as a buyer to make the choice that suits yourself and your needs.

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