Townhomes or a Condo?There are a variety of different Orlando real estate options for those shopping for a single-family home. While manypeople assume that buying a house is their primary option, townhomes and condos also provide viable alternatives.While there are some similarities between townhomes and condos, there are also some fundamental differences thatevery prospective homebuyer should understand before making a final decision.Basic DefinitionsIn many ways, a condo resembles an apartment. It is one unit that is connected to a variety of other units, typically aspart of a high-rise or a series of connected buildings. In many cases, a condo owner may share all four walls with othercondo owners in the building. A townhome, on the other hand, is typically one in a cluster of similar or identical homes,in which fewer walls are shared. Townhomes are more likely to have multiple floors and often include lawn or yardspace, while most condos do not.OwnershipOne of the central differences between owning an Orlando real estate condo versus a townhome is the actual space ofownership. Specifically, the owner of a condo can lay claim to the space within the interior of a unit, while someone whopurchases a townhome will often legally own some yard or deck space outside of their designated unit as well. A personliving in a townhome is also the legal owner of the plot of land directly beneath their house, whereas a condo ownermay not own any of the land, or he or she may collectively own the land under the building with fellow condo tenants.Privacy and IndependenceOne reason some people prefer Orlando real estate townhomes over condos is the added level of independenceassociated with the former. As mentioned above, townhomes generally come with at least a small yard or deck spacethat belongs solely to the owner. Additionally, the entire structure of a townhome more closely resembles that of asingle-family home, with private front and back entrances and personal garages. Condos, by contrast, usually have onlyshared underground parking and a communal front entrance.Work LoadWhile the privacy and independence of a townhome can be a perk in some ways, it can be a drawback in other cases.That is, because townhomes are “fee simple” (meaning that they are subject to sole proprietorship by the owner), theowners of Orlando real estate townhomes are also responsible for maintaining the exterior of their homes. While thearea surrounding condos is maintained by maintenance staff hired by the condo association, the area around atownhome must be maintained by individual owners. Thus, those who opt to purchase a townhome should be preparedto take care of their lawns, repair their decks and shovel snow in the immediate vicinity of their home.FeesAnother notable difference between townhouses and condos pertains to the fees associated with each purchase.Whether a person opts for an Orlando real estate townhome or condo, he or she will be responsible for paying dues totheir respective building associations. These fees cover upkeep such as exterior maintenance, trash removal and buildinginsurance or security. Condo fees, however, are often more expensive than townhome fees, typically because they cover
more services. In some cases, it is even possible to find townhomes that do not charge extra fees on top of monthly rentor mortgage, although these are somewhat rare.Shared AmenitiesIn many cases, condos also require higher fees than townhomes, in order to cover the variety of shared amenitiesavailable. It is more common, for instance, for a high-rise consisting of condos to also include swimming pools, gyms,conference rooms or tennis courts that are available for use by all members of the condo association. Townhomes, onthe other hand, are often not connected within one single building and are more likely to lack these amenities. Thus,those looking for Orlando real estate boasting a number of additional amenities that are not typically found in atraditional home will likely want to opt for a condo.SafetyOrlando real estate townhomes and condos are both protected by various security systems; however, condosthemselves are generally known to be a bit safer than townhomes. This is primarily because it is more difficult forvandals or burglars to break into a condo, as there is only one front door entrance (often only accessibly via keycard orkey code) and each of the individual units within is also locked. Townhomes, however, have multiple ground levelentrances and windows, which many believe provides more opportunities for break-ins.RestrictionsThe owner of either an Orlando real estate townhome or condo will have to abide by the specific rules and restrictionsof their respective associations, which are typically more stringent than city-wide ordinances for traditionalhomeowners. There are some differences between the rules for living in a townhome and those for a condo, whichlargely arise from the fact that condo owners live in closer quarters with their neighbors. Condos, for instance, may bemore likely to restrict pets and impose noise curfews.Energy and ElectricityWhen it comes down to certain monthly bills, owning a townhome might seem more like owning a regular house. Inother words, townhome owners are generally responsible for setting up their energy, electricity and cable accounts, andpaying those bills separately from their mortgage or rent. A condo association, by contrast, will typically have specificproviders for these services that are used throughout the building and covered by condo fees. This might mean thatcondo owners pay more for energy and electricity than they would if they chose the provider themselves, but it alsotakes some of the hassle out of the move-in process.Prospective buyers will have to weigh the pros and cons for both townhomes and condos to determine what is best forthem. Though there are a number of differences between the two, selecting either one of these Orlando real estateoptions over a traditional house can save individuals a significant amount of money. Condo expenses, for instance, mayadd up to as much as a monthly mortgage payment, but they also include maintenance costs—which mortgages do not.