October 6, 2020
Ready to Move? Use This Guide for Selling Your Condo
What to Buy? A Condo vs. Townhouse in Chicago
By Lindsay Smith

Stuck on whether to buy a condo or a townhouse in Chicago? We’ve broken down everything you need to know about condos vs. townhomes to help you better decide which route to go with when you’re ready to purchase.

Condo vs. Townhouse

There are a handful of similarities and differences in both condos and townhomes, so it’s important to understand the difference as one may suit your needs a bit more.

A condo is a privately owned individual unit within a building of other units, while a townhouse is a multi-level home that is attached to other townhomes. 

Both are managed by a homeowners’ association (HOA). The HOAs set the rules for the community about standards that need to be met for some or all of the exterior and the shared property. Every resident is a member of the HOA, meaning you will be required to pay monthly or annual fees to assist in funding the maintenance and upkeep of the property. 

HOA fees for condos tend to be higher, anywhere from $300-$1,000 a month depending on what services and amenities are offered at the building. Townhome fees are less expensive because the HOA is less involved in the property maintenance and townhomes normally require less maintenance in general. But, townhome owners may incur more out-of-pocket expenses because residents are responsible for both the interior and exterior space of their units, as opposed to just the interior space for condo-owners.

Both townhomes and condos are also very close in proximity to neighbors and have a bit less privacy than single-family homes. Townhomes usually have more privacy than condos because you will only have neighbors on either side of you instead of above and below you as well. But don’t worry, the proximity to neighbors doesn’t mean you’ll be able to hear everything your neighbors are saying. Thanks to party walls, which divide buildings and units into separate spaces using quality soundproofing, you won’t be disturbed.

Socializing with neighbors is easy in both condos and townhomes with the shared amenities that may include pools, parks, gyms, and communal gathering spaces. Although both usually offer a plethora of amenities, condos typically come with more than townhomes do. In condos, you will also typically share hallways, stairs, lobbies, elevators, parking lots, and other common building entries and exits with other condo-owners.

Financing a Condo vs. a Townhome

When it comes to financing, there is a bit of a difference between condos and townhomes. 

Townhomes tend to be more straightforward to finance, but harder to obtain. This is because they run a lot like single-family homes that own both the land and the interior space.

Meanwhile if you own a condo, you do not own the land it sits on, but instead just a part of the interior space, making it a lot easier to finance. Typically though both the condo itself and the borrower have to go through a pre-approval process when financing.

Condo Vs. Townhome Insurance

Both condo and townhome insurance run less expensive than that of a single-family home, but there are few important differences between the two nonetheless.

If you own a townhome, you will need coverage for both the interior and exterior areas. Unlike condo owners who do not own the land around them, townhome owners will need some sort of liability protection as well in order to cover any accidents that may happen on the property.

On the other hand, condo insurance is already partially or fully provided, depending on the specifics of your HOA. The insurance covered by the HOA includes exterior and building coverage, but not your personal belongings or any incidents that may happen in your unit. Unlike townhomes, condos also do not need liability protection since they do not own the land itself.

Resale Value for Condos and Townhomes

When it comes time to sell your place, it’s important to know the average resale values of condos and townhomes.

The resale value of a condo is normally higher than those of a single family home or a townhouse because condos typically do not tend to fluctuate as much in value.

Reselling a townhome is very similar to reselling a condo, although townhomes typically don’t hold their value as well as condos. This is because it is difficult to have a full community of townhomes and there are a bit more hardships that come with financing a townhouse as well.

Now that you’re more equipped with information on both condos and townhomes, it’s time to make your decision! Get in touch with our team for any other questions you may have or to help start the hunt for your perfect place.


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