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Rentals Compared: Condo vs Townhouse vs Single-Family House

Whether you are a tenant or a homeowner, renting a place or looking to buy, there are certain things you should know. One of the topics in Real Estate 101 is the difference between the main types of properties. Each of them has its own pros and cons and specific characteristics.

In this post, we’ll cover three types of estates: the condo, the townhouse, and the house. Read on below to know the main differences between them so you can decide for sure which one is most suitable for you!

Condo vs Townhouse vs House in a Nutshell

Condos 

It is easy to think of condominiums, simply known as condos, in comparison to apartments. While they both share the same physical appearance, there is an enormous difference when it comes to ownership. An apartment complex usually has one overall owner, usually a large corporation or private business. However, in the case of condos, each of the particular units is owned and rented individually, and the owners become members of the homeowners’ association, or HOA. 

Townhouses

A regular townhouse is somewhat of a hybrid of a condo and a single-family home. Looking like adjoining houses, they have a limited amount of usable land, usually only a front and back yard. What makes them similar to condos is the fact that, usually, townhouses are also a part of a bigger community, and you’d have to pay HOA fees, although lower ones. 

Houses (Single-Family)

In contrast to a condo and a townhouse, a house is a stand-alone structure owned by a single homeowner, often a family or a newly married couple, for instance. Many houses also have additional land, so the owner can set up a garden or a backyard for the kids. Houses come in different sizes and shapes, so they may or may not have a basement, attic, and a few stories. They might even be duplexes, two single-family homes joined by being in the same building!

difference between condo townhouse and house

Townhouse vs Condo vs House: Pros and Cons

Condos 

The HOA is one of the deciding factors when it comes to speaking about the pros and cons of condos.

Pros: If you search for a place where you don’t want to think much about exterior maintenance, a condo would be a perfect choice. However, you should be aware that it comes at a price (literally!), and you would have to pay HOA fees every month. 

Cons: You should also consider some other options if you seek autonomy, as living in condos always means living in a community, and some HOA rules might be very strict (e.g., no guests after 11pm, no moving furniture on weekdays). 

Townhouses

Pros: As you could see from the definition, townhouses stand in between condos and houses, so it will be a perfect choice for someone searching for a place similar to a single-family home but who doesn’t want to invest much time and energy into maintenance. You can also expect a higher level of privacy than in condos. What’s more, the HOA fees are usually lower than for a condo because there are less common areas to take care of.

Cons: When considering buying a townhouse, you should still remember that there will be some rules you have to follow and that fees might grow annually. 

Houses

The owner’s freedom might be listed as the biggest pro and the biggest con of having a house at the same time.

Pros: On the one hand, the owner of the house is free to manage it in any way they want (of course, according to local and community regulations, if any), from changing the color of the walls to completely restructuring the whole building. And, of course, one of the main advantages of a house in comparison to both a condo and a townhouse is the privacy it gives! You would not have to share common walls with any of your neighbors (unless we consider that duplex, of course). 

Cons: At the same time, if you own a single-family home, you are responsible for any work and costs associated with the maintenance of a house and the land it occupies, as well as any and all real estate taxes.  In some places, a homeowners’ association comes to the rescue, and for a certain fee, they will take care of your lawn, security, and landscaping services. 

Well, that’s our post on the differences between a condo vs townhouse vs single-family home, as well as some of their main features, pros, and cons. Hopefully, this article will help you feel like an expert in the world of real estate! Let us know in the comments if you have any questions, thoughts, or remarks!

Author Bio: Mariia Kislitsyna serves as an editor and writer for the Rentberry and Landlord Tips Blogs, dedicating the majority of her time to finding great new cities and interesting real estate information to write about. As a polyglot and literature fanatic, she also enjoys writing about culture, travel, and career, and she’s been featured in and written for a variety of publications across the web.

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