Question: What is the difference between a condo and a townhouse? Can one be both a condo and a townhouse?
Answer: The term “townhouse” is often used to describe side by side common wall units which may or may not be condominiums. The definition of a condominium is about how real estate is held: All condo owners own or lease an undivided interest in all real estate. In non-condo HOAs, owners share an undivided interest in common real estate plus an individual interest in real estate below their unit or home.
Since the essence of a condominium is related to real estate and not the structure, a condo can be a single or multi-level unit, a house, commercial space or even an airplane hangar. The key legal difference between a townhouse and a condo is whether the owner owns land separately from commonly held land. You can’t tell just by looking at it. You need to read the governing documents. This is extremely important when buying because it often affects maintenance and insurance responsibilities. Don’t count on your real estate agent to know the difference.
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Condo Metropolis Editor’s Note: We get this question a lot in Orlando so I thought this was a great one to post. Most townhomes are in fact condos in Orlando. The most important result of this is with respect to loans: Since loans on condos are virtually impossible to get at the time of writing, especially for investors, that means that in most cases, the same is true of townhomes – which is a shame and very frustrating. An exception is FHA approved homes. For more information on buying or selling Orlando real estate, call Condo Metropolis on 407-290-3408.