So you are looking at townhomes and condos for your next move, but some townhouses may actually be condos and both housing types could come with rules and restrictions that can cramp your style. We turned to real estate expert Eileen Nelis of Savvy + Co. Real Estate to learn more about townhomes and condos and how they might fit into homeownership goals. Let’s start with the basics. “Condos are units stacked on top of each other in a building. You own the unit, but not the building or the land around it,” she explains. “With a townhouse, owners own their respective unit and the land it is on.” And that is just the beginning of what you need to know.
Home Owner Associations (HOAs)
HOA dues for condos tend to be higher than those of a townhome. Condos have more amenities such as elevators, security and interior common areas to maintain and these things add up. An important point to consider when looking at your budget.
We know a home isn’t a home without your furry friend, but townhomes and condos often have rules about what four legged pals are welcome to join you. Although there may be rules about specific pet breeds in a townhome community, condos can sometimes have tougher regulations such as the size of the animal or whether you can have pets at all.
Getting a loan for a townhouse is similar to getting a loan on a single family house. However, obtaining a loan on a condominium can be more challenging. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (primary mortgage backers) have tons of rules on whether certain condo buildings qualify for their loans. To stay in the know be sure to talk to your mortgage lender. Your helpful real estate agent can connect you with the right lender for the type of purchase you want to make.
To help narrow down what is right for you, examine what you like about your current living situation, says Eileen. Many apartment dwellers are attracted to condo living because it is similar in structure and social opportunities. For those who enjoy living in a single family home, a townhome offers the same feel, but on a smaller scale. A townhome is perfect for someone who doesn’t want neighbors living above or below them and you can often find one with a garage or enclosed patio.
Eileen suggests asking yourself these questions to help narrow down your best options.
Do you want a yard? What amenities are important? Do you travel often? What part of town or which neighborhood do you want to live in? The answers will help you decide if a townhome or a condo is the better fit.
What is out there?
Condo and townhome living offer lots of options. How about a three bedroom, two bathroom townhouse for as low as $70,000 off Central Ave. near hot Windsor Park? Or a two bedroom condo in walkable Dilworth for under $140,000. If uptown living is your style, you can still find units for under $225,000. Travel to to Highland Creek for $160,000 or come home to a lake front community in Cornelius for $168,000. So many great choices, you can’t go wrong.
Whether you lean more towards a condo or a townhome, the best first step is finding an experienced real estate agent who knows the ins and outs of of the market. The right agent can help you figure out the best fit for your budget and lifestyle. Want to know more? Contact Eileen Nelis, she’s ready to help show you the way home.