What is the difference between a condo and a townhouse

What Is the Difference Between a Condo and a Townhouse?

Be wary of what you find on Google and depend on your Active Adults Realty agent to teach you the real definition of a Condo.

Today’s Ask the Broker question is, “What’s the difference between a condo and a townhouse?”

This question comes in many different forms but it usually starts with, “I am interested in looking at condominiums in Delaware”. When I ask, “What style condo?” I may get a blank stare – the look on their face is like a huge question mark! Or they might say “I don’t want a condo, I want a detached single-family home,” and I explain “some single-family homes are also part of a condominium”. Now, they are really confused.

Before I became a REALTOR®, I too thought a condo was an apartment style unit in a multi-floor building, just like many of you perhaps. That’s how it was in New York City, and in many other cities and major metropolitan areas, condos are mostly apartment style.

But what I learned is that a condo is a form of ownership, not a style of home. I decided to Google the definition of condominium and found a lot of bad or misleading information. If it says so online, it must be correct, right? Not true.

Some communities have mixed housing types – apartment style condos, townhouses, single-family homes. All belong to a homeowners association or HOA and some may also be part of a Condo association within the HOA. Examples in the Lewes area – The Village of Five Points, Paynter’s Mill and The Peninsula.

In some communities there are identical looking groups of townhouses – some are part of a condo association; others are not. Bay Forest in Ocean View comes to mind.

Can you learn that in your online search? Not really.

The best definition of condominium: A building or a complex of buildings containing a number of individually owned apartments or houses.

A Condo is refers to a type of ownership

Remember, I am only licensed in Delaware so you need to check with a local real estate professional about properties in your area, but basically, a condo is a form of ownership. The style home may be –

  • An apartment style housing unit in a multi-unit building
  • A townhouse or rowhouse
  • A detached villa
  • A single family home

Looking at a property tells you very little about whether it is a condo or not, whether it is Fee Simple or not, whether there is a land lease or not.

My best advice is to assume nothing because there is no one simple answer. You have to go deeper to get the rest of the story.

There is so much information online that it becomes disinformation. If you really want to be an informed buyer, reach out to your Active Adults Realty agent. If you have questions, we have the answers.

Is a Townhome your preferred style? Or a perhaps you want a single family in an Active Adult community? Whatever your preferred home type, Active Adults Realty is here to help you find a place to call home. Call us at 302-424-1890 for a consultation and also download our free Buyer’s Guide here.