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Difference Between a Condo and a Townhouse

The condo vs townhouse discrepancy is one that is prevalent in the real estate industry.  The names of these two property types are believed to be interchangeable, when in fact, they have several important differences.  Understanding this difference  between a condo and a townhouse is very important for buyers, sellers, and their agents!

Condo characteristics:

  • The owner owns only the interiors of the unit
  • The other common areas and exterior of the units are owned as a whole by the condo association



  • There are Condo Association Dues (COA dues) which usually include insurances, exterior maintenance, amenities
  • The owner of the condo does not own the land individually under or around the condo unit
  • Condos are governed by specific statutes in the US
  • To obtain a mortgage on a condo, the condo association must be approved for the type of mortgage the buyer is obtaining such as FHA, VA, Fannie Mae, etc
  • Click here to search for VA approved condos
  • Click here to search for FHA approved condos

Townhome characteristics:

  • The owner owns the land as well as the interiors plus any yard or deck
  • Usually, townhomes are attached to others but may be separate from each other
  • A townhome may look like a condo and vice versa but you must check the other characteristics to determine the classification
  • There are usually Homeowner’s Association Dues (HOA dues) to cover insurance (not always), common areas, amenities and are usually cheaper dues than a condo’s dues
  • Townhomes are governed by the same laws that apply to single family homes
  • The townhome maybe covered by a master insurance policy or it may have to be insured by owner individually. Check with the association

So make sure you review diligently which type of property you are considering buying or listing.  It will save a lot of issues later and make it easier to sell.

~Courtesy of OVM Financial~

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