Condo, Townhome, Patio Home – What’s The Difference?
Have you started the beginning stages of researching the housing real estate options? The
descriptions for condos, townhomes and patio homes can sometimes be confusing. In fact,
many people don’t know the difference between these property types. As you start to weigh the
different housing options, you will discover that many homes offer exterior home maintenance.
In the interest of helping the real estate investor, let’s take a look at what each of these terms
mean legally and what they mean in a real estate listing.
A condominium, frequently referred to as a condo, is a building or complex of buildings
containing a number of individually owned apartments or houses. Condominiums are much like
apartments, where other units may be above you, below you, or to either side. A condo owner
is legally considered to own the property consisting of the walls within. Condo ownership comes
with no land rights and no airspace rights above. Parking is typically not attached to the
property (although in some cases it is), but assigned to the unit and a part of the legal
A townhome is usually a multi-story house; two or more stories in a modern housing
development which is attached to one or more similar houses by shared walls. However, in
some cases, a property may legally be considered a townhome even if it is a single-story
property. Townhomes typically share common walls to either side with other units but never
above or below. Parking may be attached to the unit or it may be assigned somewhere on the
There’s not usually a legal definition of a patio home. Some houses called patio homes may
alternatively be marketed as townhomes as they are very much like townhomes except they
often do not share common walls with other units, or sometimes only one wall. Most taxing
jurisdictions do not have a separate classification for patio homes. Patio homes are constructed
much like free-standing homes, but typically very close together or connected in a limited
manner. Parking is usually a part of the unit itself, not common on the property.
Although each term is different, all three words are used to mean the same structure. Each
home offers a Homeowners Association (HOA) that will manage and be responsible for the care
of external maintenance for a fee. Most buyers looking for a condo, townhome, or patio home
are looking to alleviate some type of maintenance from their current house. Thus, having the
option for maintenance included with your home is a fee many are willing to pay for. This allows
the owners to free up more of their time and also eliminates the need to store large home