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What are the differences between Townhouses, Condos, and Houses?

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Think Form of Ownership -

Condos – The only thing you own is airspace!  Well, you own a little more than that (such as the interior finishes and wall space).  Everything else is owned by the association.  The association owns the elevators, and common areas.

                Things to consider when buying:

                                Association dues



                                Pending projects



Fun fact:  On the east coast no one refers to them as condos.  They are called apartments.  Why?  Well you own an apartment rather than rent.


Townhomes – You own land! In respect to townhomes you actually own land.   Townhomes are usually a series of connected homes that share walls with your neighbors.  You still are likely have an association and this varies from project to project.  Some townhomes have event centers and pools.  The association is responsible for lawn care, snow removal, exterior maintenance such as driveways, trash removal, and landscaping.  You pay property taxes on land. 


Fun fact:  Townhome associations have strict rules on what you can and can’t have in the yard, driveway, and even where you put your trash can.


Houses- The ultimate form of homeownership.  You own the land, the structure, and the airspace.  No restrictions unless it is a city or county ordinance.  Property taxes, insurance, and the weekend trips to Home Depot are all on you for repairs and maintenance.


Fun fact: You actually own the airspace all the way up to the stars however the FAA has a say.  Think you can tear down your house and build a 150 story building?  Not if it’s close to an airport.  FAA has its say in the United States.  


Valuation in declining markets vs hot markets.  There are differences in value appreciation and deprecation.