When buying a new home in Toronto or any other urban area, many of the options on the market are either townhomes or condos. These two types of housing often elicit many questions from potential homeowners and bring up many points of confusion, especially when it comes to homeownership and shared/communal spaces. This blog post will break down the differences between townhomes and condos and will help you determine which one is best for you and your family.
First things first. Most people understand that townhomes (or townhouses) are individual houses that are built side by side, with one or two walls of each home being shared with the home next to it, whereas condos are a type of home that are often an apartment within a larger complex or building (although they can take other forms, including townhomes!).
Here are some important differences between these two types of home:
With a condo, you own the interior of the residence (your unit) only. Exterior parts of the residence, such as the building itself and the outdoor grounds, as well as communal areas such as gyms, party rooms, and rooftop BBQ areas, are owned by the condo association. Condo associations represent the condo owners and their interests. They’re run and funded by the condo residents and also have boards of directors. The role of the boards is to organize regular meetings, establish and maintain budgets, and enforce rules and regulations relating to the condo. If you’re a condo owner, you, therefore, are a joint owner of the communal and common areas. This means you will have to pay a monthly fee.
New townhomes in Toronto can be either freehold or condominium. If they’re freehold (like our upcoming Bartley Towns community of new luxurious townhomes at Eglinton and the DVP), that means that you fully own the house and also the land on which it is built, as well as any yard or deck surrounding it (similarly to how homeowners of detached homes own their homes and yards outright). Freehold townhomes do not have any monthly maintenance fees.
Condominium townhomes, by contrast, do not include land ownership. Similar to the condo apartments discussed above, residents only own the interior of their home, and the land on which the home is built – as well as the common areas surrounding it, if applicable – are jointly owned amongst all owners. This ownership is again managed through a condo association and involves a monthly fee.
Condos are governed by legal statutes, whereas townhomes are not. This means that condo owners have less autonomy since they’re subject to the bylaws outlined by the condo corporation. Residents may not be able to make changes to their homes and may face restrictions regarding the type of exterior decorations they’re allowed to put up, whether or not pets are allowed, rules regarding common areas’ use and open hours, garbage and recycling rules, and also whether or not they’re allowed to rent out their home.
By contrast, owners of freehold townhomes are entirely free to do whatever they like with their homes.
Condo owners generally experience a lower level of privacy, especially condo apartments, since they live in close quarters with many other residents and share communal entrances and exits. Owners of new townhomes in Toronto, especially freehold townhomes, are more likely to have a greater sense of autonomy, privacy, and independence.
A Summary of the Main Differences
To recap: condo owners only own the inside of their homes, and they’re joint owners of the building’s exterior and communal areas. Townhome owners may have the same situation if the townhome is a condo. For freehold townhomes, however, residents fully own their house and also the land it’s built on and the surrounding yard or deck. Freehold townhomes do not have maintenance fees, while condos do. Condos are governed by legal statutes, whereas townhomes aren’t. This means that owners of freehold townhomes have more autonomy. Lastly, people who live in freehold townhomes generally experience a greater degree of privacy and independence.
Questions? Get in touch by sending us a direct message on social media (Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram) or contact us at 905-532-0435. And make sure to register for our upcoming Bartley Towns community if you’ve decided that townhome living is right for you!