Condominium vs. Townhouse: How Are They Different, and Which Is Right For You?


If you were raised in a traditional detached house with a front or back yard, you may not be fully aware of all of the other types of homes available to you. These days, an increasing number of homebuyers are migrating away from the detached, single-family home and opting for a more community-minded style of living that condominiums and townhouses offer.

While you’ve most likely heard these terms before, you may be unsure what differentiates them. 

Condominiums and townhouses both refer to a type of ownership, meaning you won’t be paying rent to a landlord. However, owning a condo and owning a townhouse offers different homeowner experiences, including what you own, how much you pay, and which parts of the property are up to you to maintain. Here, we’ll dive into what each type of property has to offer to help you determine which one is right for you.

What Is a Condominium?

A condominium may be not unlike apartment-style living, except you own the space within the walls of your apartment — although nothing outside of them. The building’s exterior, common areas, and land are owned by a separate entity yet enjoyed by the community at large.

Not all condominium units are reminiscent of apartments. Some are houses within larger residential complexes. No matter the type of unit, the principle is the same: you own and have exclusive rights to your unit, but nothing outside of it.

What Is a Townhouse?

Townhouses are much more similar to traditional houses; they are multileveled and typically have front yards and backyards. However, these types of homes are not detached properties. They are usually part of a row of narrower homes attached to one another through one or two walls. With a townhouse, you own the interior and exterior of the home and the property it sits on. As such, you’re responsible for all upkeep required for the property.

Condo vs. Townhouse: Top Differentiators to Consider

Let’s look at some of the most critical determining factors to help you decide whether to refine your search for condos or townhouses:

Homeowners Associations (HOAs)

If condominium owners are responsible only for the individual unit they own, who is in charge of maintaining its surroundings, including everything from hallways and elevators to the land right outside of the unit? Every condo comes with a homeowners association responsible for caring for the property. 

While townhomes are privately owned, they are still often a component of a larger condo community that has its own HOA. While they aren’t responsible for the maintenance of each townhouse individually, they oversee the preservation of the community — such as services like snow and trash removal. Some HOAs also have guidelines that homeowners must adhere to protect the look and feel of the neighborhood.


Both condos and townhouses skew more affordable than detached houses. However, condominiums tend to be less expensive, as the ownership is confined to the unit’s interior. While purchase price and property taxes for townhouses are usually more expensive, the HOA fees are often lower. 


Condos tend to be smaller in size and lack private outdoor space. However, they often come standard with a wealth of amenities, including things such as door personnel/security, fitness centers, event spaces, rooftop decks, and beyond. These kinds of features, along with boards that regulate HOAs, can create excellent opportunities for residents to bond with their neighbors.

Townhouses present owners with considerably more privacy than condo counterparts; however, the trade-off for this privacy is a lack of shared amenities and increased responsibilities.

Resale Value

If you’re considering purchasing a condo or townhouse, you’ll want to know your property will have held its value by the time you want to sell. If you move forward with a townhouse, you’ll be responsible for putting in the work needed to retain its value. If you buy a condo, you’ll only be responsible for keeping up the specific unit — but if buyers are turned off by the state of the building as a whole, it won’t matter how well you’ve cared for your unit.

Partner With a Local Real Estate Expert

We understand that when you’re looking to relocate, you’re presented with several types of residences. Whether you’re looking to buy a condominium or buy a townhouse, it’s imperative to turn to a real estate professional who will find you the property that will meet your needs — all in a timely manner! For more information about exclusive listings in Philadelphia, PA, or what to look for in a luxury real estate agent, reach out to our team today.

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