(And Why it Matters)

Quick, test your knowledge of housing styles and answer the following:

How do you tell the difference between a condo and a townhouse?

A. Physical appearance.
B. By reviewing the Seller’s Disclosure.
C. Whether there’s an owner’s association.
D. By looking at the legal description.

Answer:  D.

Normally, Buyers (and Realtors) think of condo’s as being “apartment-like” — shared walls and a common entrance — while townhouses are more like single-family homes (private entrance and at least some land).

However, that’s not always the case.

To be sure, one needs to look at the legal description.

If the unit is a condo, there will be “Common Interest Community” language; if it’s a townhouse, the legal description will include plat language describing the physical land that comes with the townhome (condos essentially represent air rights).

Why does it matter?

Buyers who want FHA financing — and many do today¬†— have to jump through more hoops if they want to buy a condo.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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