Condo or Townhouse: What’s the Difference?

Condo or townhouse: when it comes to choosing one or another in NYC, much of the final decision boils down to personal preference. Condo or co-op living is pretty different from living in a townhouse. Read on to find out how.

When it comes to deciding between a condo or townhouse in NYC, it’s not the same as comparing the two property types in other cities. Generally speaking, the Manhattan resident in the market for a condo or co-op in an apartment building has a different mindset from the Manhattan resident looking for a townhouse. People here can buy a co-op or a condo that’s situated within a brownstone, but for the purposes of what we’re talking about, let’s assume when we say condo or co-op, we’re talking about apartments in full-service apartment buildings. People unfamiliar with the housing market in NYC may be unclear as to how owning one type of property differs from owning the other type. The following info can shed some light on whether to buy a condo or townhouse.

Townhouses Feel Like “Real” Houses

Imagine that you could have a suburban-sized house without having to actually, you know, move to the suburbs. You could have a real house in the middle of the city; that’s one of the key reasons why people choose to buy townhouses in NYC. Townhouses offer all of the perks that come with living in a house, including yard space, multiple levels, and complete privacy — but you don’t have to leave the island to get them.

Townhouses Are Easier to Change

When you own a townhouse, you are pretty much free to make changes and fixes as you see fit, as long as those changes abide by city codes. If you’d like to make changes to a co-op or condo, you have to go through a board in order to find out if it will even allow you to make your changes. Many people bristle at the very thought of being told what they can and can’t do in their own homes. Those people are often drawn to townhomes.

Speaking of Owning …

When you buy a townhome in NYC, you’re buying the entire building as well as the land that it sits on. When you buy a co-op, you’re buying shares in a corporation that owns the building. When you buy a condo, you own the actual unit; it’s like buying your own house inside of an apartment building.

When you buy a townhome, you don’t have to undergo the financial scrutiny you go through when you buy a co-op. If you’ve got the cash, you’ve got the house, a situation that appeals to many buyers who prefer to keep the details of their financial lives private.

Condos Have Awesome Amenities

One of the key reasons that people buy condos is because of the fabulous amenities they offer. Once you get used to having doormen, concierges, high-end gyms, and superintendents at your beck and call, it’s really hard to go without those things. On top of all of the amenities that come standard, there are tons of other a la carte amenities available for purchase in co-ops and condos.

Townhouses Don’t Have Those Amenities.

What turns some people off of the idea of owning a townhome is that townhouse owners themselves are responsible for taking care of all maintenance and repairs connected to running the home. They take the garbage to the curb. They have to fix the leaky ceilings and all other repairs. For people paying millions of dollars for a home, this can be a bitter pill to swallow.

Image Source: Flickr/Kristin Wall


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