With today's fast-paced lifestyles and the lack of time for yard upkeep and maintenance, lots of folks are considering condos or townhouses - also called patio homes, garden homes, or simply, townhomes. Most people think they are all the same thing, but there is a big difference between a townhouse and a condo. There are also subtle differences between the other terms, usually related to the style. What are the differences? We'll be glad to explain.
The average condominium complex consists of two types - one being a tall high-rise building with many "apartment units" included in it. These are your typical downtown type...or perhaps along the oceanfront at the beach. They usually have a private balcony, or even a screened porch. But what a buyer actually owns is the INTERIOR of the unit. A Homeowner's Association (or HOA) is formed and dues are paid to maintain the exterior of the building, any amenities such as pools or clubhouses, and the common areas such as hallway entrances or courtyards. Strict rules are usually enforced to keep unit exteriors uniform and decoration-free.
Another type of condo can be in a more sprawled-out "village" setting, with groups of low-rise buildings, perhaps only 2-3 floors, with six or eight units in each building. You usually find these in areas where land is not at such a premium. The owner has more of a feeling of home in these types of complexes, and there are often landscaped courtyards and walkways to enjoy. You might find nature trails, picnic areas, and even private ponds and lakes for the residents to use. This type of condominium might also be on a golf course and include a clubhouse, pool, tennis courts, and even golfing privileges with ownership.
The fact remains that your deed is for the interior of the unit only, and you do not own any part of the building structure or land outside of the apartment itself. Apart from your HOA dues, you don't pay to maintain the building either, although when big maintenance project arise, owners will usually be responsible to pay "assessments", sometimes large ones, to make up the difference in the HOA budget. Your HOA fees most often include insurance on the buildings and grounds with a condo. It's alway advised to purchase inexpensive "HO6" policies to protect your personal possessions and interiors.
Although there is usually still an Homeowner's Association involved to maintain the pool, clubhouse, or common areas, a townhome, patio home, or townhouse is a different type of residence. Your deed and ownership will usually include the land that the building sits on, and often a small enclosed yard or "patio" in the back. Each building belongs to the owner. There are no units above or below you. There may be several buildings attached to each other or with a small walkway between them. The owner will be responsible for the external upkeep of his building - roof, windows, paint or stucco if used, or other outside parts of the building.
The HOA will usually (but not always) still include upkeep on the yards, driveways, and all common areas and amenities. Insurance on common areas and amenities is usually carried by the Association. Each owner is responsible for insuring his own building with a townhome.
And this brings us to a major difference in buying one or the other - FINANCING. Most of the time, a townhome or townhouse is treated the same as a single family home when it comes to the mortgage and qualifying for purchase. You will own the land as well as the unit itself, and unless it is a vacation property, it will fall under the same guidelines as financing a home anywhere. Condominiums are more difficult to find financing for now, and the banks pay particular attention to the percentage of "resident owners" versus "rental units"...often refusing to finance a complex with a higher percentage of the latter... or at least charging a higher interest rate plus PMI coverage on those that fall into the investment or vacation categories.
Still, a purchaser may be able to pay cash for the condo or have a relationship with a bank that will allow the purchase of such a property. There are plenty of Charlotte condos from luxury high-rise units to affordable apartment style and golf course condominium complexes. Some of our recommended favorites include: The Metropolitan, St Serrant, and The Royal Court condos.
If you are interested in buying a townhouse in Charlotte, there are some wonderful communities available that are maintenance-free and include every amenity for the perfect family lifestyle.
Our favorites include: The Mayfair, Burning Tree, and Royal Crest.
We'll be happy to take you on a tour of the condominium or townhome communities in south Charlotte, NC. Browse some of the properties below or use our Charlotte MLS search to find some that grab your attention - and give us a call!
Nestled in gated all-brick community, this exceptional end unit townhome boasts high ceilings, primary suite on main & private enclosed courtyard patio. As you enter, you...
Listing courtesy of Dickens Mitchener & Associates Inc
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