Buying a home often involves changing the square footage of your living space in some way. Maybe you’re moving up from apartment living or downsizing your empty nest. Whichever way you’re going, there are three main types of homes to choose from. Single family home, condo and townhouse.
But what’s the difference between them? In this blog, we’ll look at the similarities and differences. There is a lot of information available about these differences. However, many of the differentiating factors are technical and legal, and aren’t addressed very often.
Single Family Home vs Condo vs Townhouse
A single-family home is a house that is not attached to anything else. Also known as a detached house, this type of home is owned fully by the homeowner.
Townhouses are attached homes. They can be big or small, but they are always attached. This is an architectural style. Ownership can vary from full ownership to shared ownership.
Technically speaking, a condominium (or condo) is defined by the legalities of ownership. Condo owners legally own a portion of a larger property, a fraction of everything in the development (except for personal effects). When it comes to property taxes, condo owners have an advantage.
One misconception many people have is that condos are a large building – but in fact condos can be townhomes, or in some locations, detached homes. The takeaway is that condominiums are a form of ownership. Townhomes and single family homes are a style of building.
Comparing types of homes
When we talk about single-family home versus townhouse, we’re talking about detached versus attached homes, respectively. A townhouse is a style of home where you’ll share a wall (or two) with a neighboring property.
But when you look at single-family home versus condominium, now we’re talking about ownership type. People often think of condos as apartments, but they can also be townhouses or detached housing.
No matter the style or ownership type, you may find that associations are part of properties that you look at during a home search. All three property types may have an association. Homeowner’s associations (HOA) typically include membership, community services and some property maintenance. What is offered can vary greatly from community to community.
Each type of home has its advantages and disadvantages, but what’s most important is understanding the differences in style and ownership.