Townhouses vs. condos...what's the difference??

    Townhouses vs. condos...what's the difference??

    Jun 06, 2018

    For buyers that don't want the extra maintenance of a "residential detached" (as realtors refer to it in OUR world!) home, they may want to consider "sharing walls" in a townhouse or condo. Even though some of them are hard to tell apart...with exceptions like beach condos, etc...there ARE differences!

    Townhouses, which may be one or two stories, are referred to in the realtor world as "residential attached" but are considered basically in the same category as residential detached homes, particularly for lending purposes. They will have an HOA (another realtor term meaning Homeowners Association) with annual dues that pay for certain aspects of the townhouse community. Most times, these communities will qualify for various types of mortgage loans with no problem. Usually, each owner is responsible for maintaining their own roofs, HVAC (heat & air) systems and everything INSIDE their unit. The dues usually cover maintenance of common property such as entrance areas, park, pool, or other facilities on the premises. They may also cover lawn maintenance in the front of each unit. Some will cover exterior pest treatment, garbage pick up and other major projects like painting all the units outside.

    Condos are a very different animal! First of all, only certain condominiums are on the "approved list" for lenders to provide mortgages. Generally, your lender can check that out and tell you. Other factors that can cause a problem are the number of owners vs. renters in the community, the amount of funds the association has on reserve in case they are needed, and even things like whether there are investor owners that own too high a percentage of units in the community. Lenders need to see the Condominium docs but include, among other things...the Condo rules, financials, and even something called a FAQ or Q&A sheet...before they can approve a condo for a loan. VA loans are particularly difficult to obtain but not necessarily impossible. Also, with condos, the roofs & exteriors are usually paid by the HOA although HVAC units may not be.

    Finally, if condos & townhouses don't seem to be the perfect fit for you but you still don't want much yard maintenance, call a realtor (preferably ME!) and see if we can find you a patio home. Those are residential detached homes that are on very small lots (typically around .10 acre) but you don't share walls with anyone and you're responsible for everything on your own home. You can also sometimes find homes on "zero lot lines" which means that the wall of one house is basically the fence for your back yard on the side. You have privacy and minimal lawn space but keep on good terms with your neighbors in case you need to work on that side of your house; you will have to get access to their back yard to do that! Cordova Villas off Scenic Highway in Pensacola is a great example of these type homes.

    More questions? Whether related to this blog or just general real estate questions, please call or text me at 850/418-2145 or email me at CONDO-ING & TOWNHOUSE-ING!!