Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Difference between a Condo & Townhome

The difference between a condo and a townhome is how the property was set up, legally, by the developer. Basically, in a condo, you own only the inside of the Unit...usually from the drywall in (that can vary according to your documents, though.) The owners, collectively, own the rest of the building, the land and any recreational ammenities such as a pool or whatever.

A "townhouse" isn't really a legal term, but it generally refers to a row of one story, or multiple story units, where owners share common walls, but no one lives above or below you. In what is typically called a "townhome" community, you own a piece of land, and the structure built on it. The HOA owns the common areas and any amenities. Even though you "own" the building in a townhome complex, the homeowners association usually has the responsibility to maintain the outside of the building, such as the roof, siding, etc.

It shouldn't make much difference to a buyer. You will want to look at what the HOA maintains, and what they charge in assessments. Also, check to see if they have reserves. A good HOA will reserve money for big projects, like replacing the roofs. If they have not done this, you could get stuck with a huge special assessment at some point. Good Luck

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