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Difference Between Condo and Townhouse

Difference Between Condo and Townhouse

There is a lot of difference between a condo and a townhouse. If you are new to the real estate terminology, then you should read the following article to understand the basic difference between a condo and a townhouse.
Rutuja Jathar
Owning a house is a proud feeling that every person dreams about. Every person tries to buy their own house, as per their requirements and budget. However, real estate is a pretty complicated sector. With the legal terminology and housing specifications of different types of houses, a layman is surely in for a great surprise and confusion. It is the reason why understanding the differences and similarities between housing structures and their legal meanings is extremely important for anyone wishing to buy a dream house. In our today's discussion, we will try to find out the difference, but not many of us know the exact differences and similarities between the two. If you are one of those, then keep reading and find out more.


Before learning more about the differences and similarities between condos and townhouses, let's get to know both these terms separately. A townhouse or a townhome is a diverse concept. In the historic UK and Ireland, a townhouse was described as houses of aristocrats or peers that were located in the capital city. These people used townhouses only during social functions and when they had to attend parliament sessions. Apart from the same usage, modern-day townhouse plans are more of the terraced houses or row houses that are set in almost similar size and shape. Most of the time, row houses share common walls. Townhouses are single family residences, hence each of them has a separate opening. When you purchase a townhouse, you purchase a special unit from a long chain of similar properties.


A condo or a condominium is basically a type of housing tenure, which also means common ownership. In this housing tenure, a specific part of an estate is given away on lease or sale to a tenant by owner of the entire estate. Today, however, the term is used as a substitute for apartment (or special unit), which is rented or purchased by the new owner. As a result, a layman can assume a condo as an apartment, which is owned by its resident. While in condo plans, people own everything inside the interior walls, but things outside the exterior walls, like hallways, heating system, elevators, garage, swimming pool, etc., belong to the owner of that entire estate. Now that we are clear about the basic concept of a condo and a townhouse, let's find out other things that completely separate these housing structures from each other.

Major Differences

Major difference between townhouse and condo is the ownership specifications. When a person owns a condo, he is the legal owner of everything which is inside the interior walls of the housing structure. It means that if he/she wants to enjoy/use the rest of the amenities and facilities, then he/she is needed to pay a specific amount of monthly fee to the condominium association. The condominium association is formed by all the members of that estate who own a condo. On the other hand, a townhouse resident is the owner of his/her own living unit, as well as the ground area surrounding that unit. It means that if a person purchases a townhouse, then he/she also has to pay for the outdoor areas like backyards, garage, and everything that comes in the specifications of that housing structure.

There is also a major difference when it comes to paying the property taxes. Along with paying maintenance and usage charges to the homeowners' association, a condo owner has to pay property tax for only the individual unit. On the other hand, a townhouse owner has to pay property tax for his/her individual unit, as well as the ground area on which the house is set. It also means that the cost of a townhouse might be higher than a condo. However, it is also needed to be understood that a townhouse owner needs to pay a particular sum to the homeowners' association for overall maintenance of that complex.

Another basic difference between a condo and a townhouse is the structure of the house. No matter what the size is, a townhouse is located on ground level and there are no more floors on top of it, except for a terrace, or it is built in some different architectural style, like Cape Cod or Victorian. A condo, on the other hand, is located in a general two or three-floor complex or a high-end, luxurious, and multistory building with exotic views to go with. If we discuss the safety and privacy levels of both these housing types, then one may have to admit that since they are surrounded by a close neighborhood, condos are safer. Townhouses offer better privacy than the condos, as you are not always surrounded by many neighbors. As a parting note, I would like to state that a condo is always a cheaper option than an exquisite and expensive townhouse.
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