Townhouses and condominiums are both considered a type of shared housing. Townhouses are a type or style of construction, where in contrast, a condominium is a type of ownership. Condominiums are commonly associated with multi-story buildings similar to an apartment community but can also exist in a collective of conjoined structures, such as townhouses. Ownership of both offers the convenience of no exterior maintenance and access to amenities combined with the tax benefits of homeownership.
A townhouse is one part of a row of identical houses built at ground level in succession with an adjoining wall to the neighboring home. Most townhouses have multiple floors. A townhome often has a patio and a small yard space.
A condominium is one part of a building and may be similar or different from its neighbors. A condo may be situated on the ground floor or a higher floor. A condominium may have outdoor space such as a veranda or patio.
All condominium owners belong to the homeowners association. The association elects a board of directors responsible for the management of the property. Owners pay a monthly fee to the condominium association for property management and maintenance of common areas. Typically, townhouse communities have a similar arrangement but may or may not personally participate in the association.
The word condominium comes from the Latin language and means "common control." When a person owns a condominium, he owns the rights to his residence as well as a designated percentage of common area property which includes land and amenities.
The master deed of a condominium outlines each unit's percentage of ownership, which the association uses to determine each owner's portion of monthly condominium association dues.
When a buyer purchases a townhome he purchases both the ground underneath his unit and the townhome itself, inclusive of its roof. Generally townhome owners maintain their own adjoining yard areas.
The common areas of a condominium or townhouse development often include community recreation areas, fitness rooms, parking areas, park space and sidewalks. While condominium owners share common area ownership jointly, a townhouse development's common areas are typically owned by a homeowners association and maintained for the use and benefit of residents.
The owners of a condominium or townhome development must record a legal document with the local county auditor deeds registry department called a condominium declaration or a declaration of restrictive covenants. In it, the developers detail the property specifications, nature of the project and any deed restrictions. Deed restrictions typically involve an owner's use of the property and its respective common areas.
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