Condo vs. Townhouse: What’s the Difference?

September 21, 2017
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If you’re thinking of buying or renting a townhouse or condominium, there are some important differences that you should know about. To help you decide before you buy, check out this comparison breaking out what the differences are between the two including ownership, homeowners insurance rates, sizes and more.

But before we get started, let’s begin by defining what a condo and a townhouse actually are:

What is a condo?

A condominium, or condo, is a building or community of buildings in which units are owned by individuals, rather than a landlord.

What is a townhouse?

A townhouse is defined as conjoined units that are owned by individual tenants. They are architecturally similar to row houses in that owners usually share at least one or more walls.

If you’re thinking of buying or renting a townhouse or condominium, there are some important differences between the two that you should know about. We’ve put together a comprehensive comparison to help you make an informed decision before you buy.

Townhouse vs. Condo

Condo Townhouse
Ownership Condo owners only own the interior of their unit. All other areas, including the building exterior, lawn and communal areas, are property of the Homeowners Association (HOA). In most townhouse communities, owners own their unit’s interior and exterior, including the roof, lawn and driveway, but not the communal areas.


Architecture Condos come in many different styles. They may be part of a large high rise, a cul-de-sac of cottages or anything in between. Townhouses are designed in rows, so tenants usually share at least one wall. It’s common for townhouses to have two or more stories.


Community Condominiums often have a community focus with a club house, pool, golf course and/or similar amenity.


Some townhouse communities offer the same types of amenities as condos, but others are more private.


Homeowners Association Fees HOA fees for condos are typically higher than townhouses because they pay for exterior upkeep, such as lawn care, trash removal and pest control.


Townhouse owners pay lower monthly HOA fees because they pay for much of their own upkeep. Certain types of maintenance and trash removal are still handled by the HOA.
Home Insurance Rates Home insurance rates are usually lower for condos because owners have to insure only the interior of their unit.


Townhouses may have higher home insurance rates, since most owners need insurance that covers both the exterior and interior.


Size Although condos come in many sizes and styles, they are generally smaller than townhouses.


Townhouses can be quite large and often feature multiple stories.


Maintenance Fees Condo owners often pay higher monthly maintenance fees, which go toward exterior and community space repairs. As with HOA fees, townhouse owners typically have lower monthly maintenance fees, but pay more out of pocket for exterior and interior care.


Privacy Depending on the style, condos could be private, individual homes or apartment-style units.


Townhouses share one to two walls with neighboring units, but don’t have units above or below them.



Remember, whether you choose a condo or a townhouse, Nationwide has you covered. Learn more about insurance options for condos and townhouses today.

Additional condo vs. townhouse resources

  • Buying / Selling