Condos and Townhouses: Why They Are Different and Why You Should Care



There’s a lot to love about new construction condos and town homes.

Typically, these housing types are more affordable and located closer to urban enclaves where it’s easier to get to jobs and entertainment. Because of their structural layout, condos and townhouses also create more opportunities to socialize with neighbors.

Condos and townhouses, usually:

  • Are easier to maintain and clean
  • Have a homeowners’ association (HOA) to take care of chores like mowing lawns, trimming trees, planting flowers, cleaning rain gutters and shoveling snow
  • Include shared amenities, such as swimming pools, tennis courts, fitness centers, golf courses, dog parks and hiking trails 

New construction homes are also considered safer and more energy-efficient and they’re less expensive to heat and cool, says Evan Page, founder of Heron Property Inspections in Huntley, Ill. 

While they’re often mentioned together, condos and town homes aren’t identical. 

New construction condos 

Condos (known formally as condominiums) are individual homes within a building that has common areas owned collectively by all the residents. 

As a condo owner, there are a lot of things that you don’t, well, own. You don’t own your condo’s walls, roof, or the building’s exterior walkways. You don’t own the landscaping, parking area, or the land that the building is on. Don’t worry, this is a good thing! This means less maintenance for you, while still enjoying all the benefits of owning your home. These and other common areas are maintained and insured by your HOA. Individual owners pay monthly dues to the HOA to cover those costs. 

“Condominium ownership is appealing because it means you don’t have to worry about landscaping or exterior repairs and maintenance,” says Stephen Freudenberg, market lead for Georgia and North Carolina at home trade-in brokerage Knock

New construction town homes

A town home is a multi-story home that’s owned entirely by one owner. A town home may share one of both of its side walls with neighboring homes, but it usually has a separate entrance, interior staircase and parking garage.

An HOA might maintain and insure some common areas and recreational amenities in a town home community, but individual owners are responsible for their own town home’s structure and roof. 

“Some HOAs in town home communities cover exterior maintenance. Check out the neighborhood covenants to see what your HOA fees cover,” Freudenberg suggests.

Town homes (sometimes referred to as row houses) tend to be larger and more private than condos; rather than sharing walls, you’re sharing a lot. Town homes tend to be more spacious than condos because you’ll likely have multiple stories in one town home. This is a great option for young families who might not want to buy a home with a lot of land and upkeep, but need more room than a condo offers. 

Condos and town homes are a great living option if you’re looking to downsize or want to own a home, but aren’t quite sure you want to commit to the land and maintenance required with with a single family home. 

Now that you have a general understanding of these two specific types of new construction, you can find the perfect living situation for you.