Is it a condo? Is it a townhome? Maybe it’s both!
Philadelphia and the surrounding area offers a wide variety of housing options. Condominiums and
townhomes served by a homeowners’ association (HOA) are becoming increasingly popular. Residences
that are part of an HOA typically require payment of monthly dues however, these dues often cover
maintenance costs that would otherwise fall directly on the homeowner. Sometimes it’s nice to just let
the management company take care of it, rather than spending your own time and energy researching
contractors and other service providers. In some cases, the HOA maintains recreational facilities such as
a swimming pool, clubhouse, tennis courts and playgrounds that are for exclusive use of its residents.
These amenities are cost prohibitive for many individual homeowners. When the cost is split between
numerous homeowners, it becomes affordable.
Often times, buyers do not fully understand the difference between a condominium and
townhome. Simply put, condominium describes ownership rights while townhome refers to an
architectural design. When hearing the word condominium, one usually envisions an apartment
type residence. Individually owned units of this type typically fall under the category of
condominium ownership. You purchase the individual living space as well as a portion of the
land, property, and amenities. In other words, a condo owner shares ownership of just about
everything located on the property with others, including the roof and staircases.
Townhomes can be tricky. Townhomes are attached residences that usually have multiple floors
along with its own, private entrance to the home. The confusion comes when one considers the
ownership of the land underneath the house. Sometimes the land underneath a townhome is
owned individually by the property owner. Other times it is owned as a common element by all
HOA members. The former is often referred to as a “fee simple” townhome. The latter is a
townhome that is held under condominium ownership. Yes! It is both a townhome and
A good way to determine if a townhome is “fee simple” or a condominium is to look at the
property record provided by the local tax assessor.
For Montgomery County Pa home appraisals
you can find this information at: Montgomery County Tax Assessor
For Philadelphia PA residential real estate appraisals you can find this information at:
Philadelphia Tax Assessor
The thing to remember is that it’s all good. A townhome is no less, or no more of a townhome
whether it’s a “fee simple” home or a condominium unit. If you have any questions, I am always
available to help.