Condo vs Townhouse vs Duplex: Industry Expert Tips

by Tara Caruso

Updated

When it comes to moving into a new home, many people find themselves asking the question, what is best for me: condo vs townhouse vs duplex? 

They all have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it can be difficult to decide which is the best option for you. 

In this blog post, we will discuss the pros and cons whether you are buying or renting duplex vs condo vs townhome.

What is a duplex?

A duplex is a type of attached housing that consists of two units, typically with separate entrances. 

Duplexes are often owner-occupied, with the owner living in one unit and renting out the other. 

Duplexes offer a great way to invest in real estate and make money as a landlord without the hassle and expense of maintaining a large property. 

Benefits of living in a duplex as a renter include cheaper rent, making it a more feasible option if you think renting is throwing away money, and the opportunity to live in a more spacious unit than you would find in an apartment. 

The downside is you share a wall with your neighbor so noise can be an issue and you will want to be considerate with your noise level as well.

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When it comes to deciding between buying a condo or townhouse or duplex, a duplex is a great option because you have a built-in rental income and the potential to build equity more quickly than with a condo or townhouse as someone else is helping to pay off your mortgage.

Trend on the Rise

Multi-generational living. In recent years, there has been a trend towards multi-generational living. As the cost of housing and childcare continues to rise, more and more families are choosing to live together in duplexes. This arrangement allows grandparents to help care for their grandchildren while still maintaining their independence. It also gives adults the opportunity to share expenses and responsibilities.

living-in-a-duplex-pros-and-cons

What is a condo?

A condo, short for condominium, is a type of housing where each owner owns the space within the walls of their unit and the common areas jointly owned with the other unit owners in the building. 

Condos are a great option for those who want to own their own home but don’t want the hassle of maintaining a house and yard. 

You can search for condos on Zillow or Redfin, just as you would with traditional homes, and you can also follow many of the same tips in our guide to buying a home in today’s market.

condos-outdoors

Another advantage of condo living is that many complexes offer amenities such as swimming pools, fitness centers, and clubhouses. 

One downside is that condos can be quite noisy due to the close proximity of neighbors and some people find it difficult to live so close to others. 

Another potential drawback is that you may be subject to the rules and regulations of the condo association, which can be quite strict in some cases. 

Also in a condo you could be living several floors above the ground, depending on your preference this could be a pro or a con.

What Does a HOA Typically Cover in a Condo:

  • Maintenance and repairs of common areas – Landscaping, snow removal, exterior painting , elevators, cleaning
  • Building utilities – Water, trash, sewer
  • Security systems – Gates, security guards, cameras
  • Required Insurances – Building insurance, liability insurance 
  • Reserve funds – for future major repairs and replacements i.e. a new roof
  • Amenities and services – Swimming pools, tennis courts, gyms, etc.
  • Management fees – Condo management, property management

What is a townhouse?

A townhouse is a type of attached housing that shares one or more walls with another unit. 

Townhouses are usually part of a row of similar houses, and they often have identical exteriors. 

Unlike an apartment, a townhouse typically has its own front door and yard, and it may also have a garage. 

Townhouses are a great option for those who want more space than an apartment but don’t want the maintenance of a single-family home. 

One downside to townhouses is that they can be quite noisy due to the close proximity of neighbors and your home will be sharing one or more walls so both sound and temperature transfer can be an issue. 

Another potential drawback is like a condo you may be subject to the rules and regulations of the homeowner’s association, which can often be strict.

Depending on HOA rules, you may or may not be able to use this investment to start a property management company.

Townhouses are available in a wide range of styles and sizes, and they can be an excellent option for those who want the benefits of attached housing without the maintenance responsibilities of a single-family home.

Tactic for Success

Try to get an end unit. If you’re set on a townhouse, try to find an end unit if possible. End units usually have more windows and natural light, and they often have larger yards. They also tend to be more private and quiet than other units in the complex.

What appreciates more condo or townhouse?

Real estate is a solid investment that has historically appreciated over time. But, if you’re looking to maximize your return, you may be wondering whether a condo or townhouse is the better option. 

In general, townhouses appreciate more than condos. This is because townhouses offer more privacy and space than condos, and they are often located in desirable neighborhoods. 

However this is a generalization and it is important to keep in mind that the appreciation of any property is determined by a number of factors, including location, condition, and market conditions. 

As a result, it’s always wise to consult with a real estate professional before making any final decisions.

Trend on the Rise

Timeshare condos. You purchase a certain amount of time per year that you can stay in the condo, but don’t technically own it. These have been on the rise in recent years as people are looking for more affordable ways to vacation. You get access to larger and more luxurious units and are usually located in prime vacation destinations.

Townhouse vs Single-family Home Resale Value

When it comes to resale value, townhouses and single-family homes both have their pros and cons. 

Townhouses tend to be more affordable than single-family homes, making them a popular choice for first-time homebuyers. 

However, single-family homes typically have a higher resale value than townhouses. 

This is because single-family homes offer more privacy and space than townhouses, and if there are no deed restrictions, yards and outside areas can be customized to the owners liking. 

So, which is the better investment? It really depends on your individual needs and preferences. 

If you’re looking for a property that you can afford now with the potential to make money in the future, a townhouse is a good option. 

If you’re more interested in immediate resale value, a single-family home could be the way to go. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what’s best for your needs.

Tactic for Success

Work with a professional. When it comes to making such a big decision, it’s always best to consult with a professional. A real estate agent or broker can help you assess your needs and wants, and they can provide you with information on a variety of properties that fit your criteria.

Condo vs House Investment

If you’re looking to invest in property, you may be wondering whether a condo or a house is the better option. There are pros and cons to both types of investment. 

For example, houses typically appreciate in value at a higher rate than condos, but they also come with higher maintenance costs since anything that goes wrong with the property is your responsibility. 

So, what is the best option for you? It really depends on your individual needs and preferences. 

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance property that offers amenities such as a swimming pool or gym, then a condo might be the right choice. 

If you’re solely looking to make money in a long-term investment that will appreciate in value, a house is probably your best bet. 

Whichever type of property you choose to invest in, be sure to do your research before making any decisions.

benefits-of-living-in-a-condo

Benefits of Living in a Condo:

  • Low-maintenance lifestyle – When you live in a condo, you don’t have to worry about maintaining the exterior of the property or landscaping.
  • Additional amenities – Many condos offer additional amenities such as swimming pools, gyms, and doorman service that you wouldn’t have access to if you lived in a house.
  • Offers a community setting – For some people, the community setting that condos offer is preferable to living in a house.
  • Can be more affordable – Condos are often more affordable than houses, especially in big cities.
  • Security features – Since condos are often located in buildings with multiple units, they usually have security features such as gated entrances, call boxes and security guards.

Wrapping Up

When it comes to deciding whether a condo, townhouse, or duplex is the best option for you, there are many things to consider. 

Each type of housing has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to weigh all of the options before making a decision.

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About the Author

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Tara is a licensed real estate agent in Southwest, FL. She helps buyers and investors find their dream home by educating them about real estate and how they can use it as an investment.