Not everyone wants or can afford to purchase a free standing single family residence. For many, even if financial concerns are not the issue the responsibilities of home ownership such as property maintenance, yard work and more can be too onerous a challenge to embrace. But that doesn’t mean the dream of home ownership is beyond their reach. For many potential homeowners the answer could be a townhome or condominium.

Essentially a property that is owned by an individual, but one that is incorporated within a specific community or development, a condominium or townhome provide the benefits of owning a home, without the responsibilities for repairs and upkeep. For many it provides the best of both worlds. But what are the differences between these two types of residences?

In its simplest form a condominium is much more like an apartment than it is a separate house. Located within a complex of similar properties, condos are privately owned but the communal parts of the development such as parking, playgrounds, entryways, recreational facilities and more are owned collectively by all of the owners of the project. Typically a strata corporation serves as the owner of the entire development, with the individual condo owners being part owners of the corporation.

A strata council made up of elected condominium owners act on the entire group’s behalf in operating the corporation, looking after its books, filing its taxes as well as attending to the care and maintenance of the entire project. To have that burden lifted from their shoulders the condominium owners pay a monthly fee, called a strata fee, to offset the costs of ongoing repairs and any future maintenance.

Townhomes on the other hand are much more like detached single family houses. Typically larger than a condominium (which often exist within a tower or other building) a townhome can either be one of a group of individual homes placed side by side, or in clusters such as in duplex, fourplex or even in a row house style configuration. Like a condo a townhome is individually owned but makes up part of a strata community as outlined above. Townhomes are usually more compact than a traditional detached house.

Both forms of these self-administered properties are more frequently found in urban settings than they are in rural locations. In a townhome development there is often a uniform architectural style or appearance, with the living areas on a lower floor and bedrooms on an upper floor. Condominiums are in many cases restricted to one floor, but exceptions to this guideline are frequently found.

Depending on the rules of the strata corporation it is possible for the owner of a townhome or condominium to rent out their property as a revenue generator if they choose to. But confirmation of this policy must be determined prior to any purchase if that is the goal of the potential owner.

Are condominiums or townhomes the right choice for you? That’s a decision only you can make. If owning property that can be enjoyed and passed down to subsequent generations, without the hassle of mowing the lawn or painting the place has an appeal, then they could be the ideal residence. If you’d like to learn more call your Realty Executives Mid Island REALTOR® today to find out what choices are available.