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You're ready to broaden your horizons, relocate to a larger home, and start a new chapter in your life. However, what makes the listings for all of the apartments and townhouses different?

It's not only about comparing prices while looking for a new location to call home or to broaden your investment journey. Condos vs. apartments, condos vs. houses, apartments vs. townhouses, and other possibilities are likely to come up during your real estate search. It is vital to consider not only what you can finance, but also your expectations and preferences as a homeowner when comparing various types of residences.

Let's dive right into it.

What Is a Townhouse?

Townhouses, often known as townhomes, are not a new concept. They've existed for millennia. Townhouses, as the name suggests, are typically located in town or residential portions of a city close to a walking area.

They can range in size from small to large, with numerous stories. Small townhouses may feature a kitchen and living room on its first floor, with bedrooms on the second floor.

It is also usual to have a first-floor room or office. When it comes to the second story, some feature a communal area and kitchen. Lastly, on the upper floor, there are usually a number of bedrooms.

You may also have access to a pool, garden area, fitness center, and other amenities, based on the townhouse complex.

These units are frequently overlooked in favor of a single-family home or modern condo. Nevertheless, due to a need for handy, low-maintenance housing, they're witnessing a return on the real estate market.

What Type of People Are Townhouses Ideal for?

Townhouses are great for those who want to move up to a larger home. Families searching for luxurious facilities without having to worry about maintenance are increasingly turning to these homes.

Several townhouses even have their own gardens or patios. When it comes to children, this provides more flexibility.

Apartments are often smaller and have more open floor plans. If you want to share with any housemates, you can choose multiple bedrooms. You can also choose between an efficiency apartment or flat if you want to live alone and save money.

The nicest amenities are usually found in modern apartment buildings. Rooftop terraces, pools, and onsite parking are among the amenities. Fitness facilities, entertainment spaces, and other amenities may be included.

What Is an Apartment?

An apartment is a generic phrase that refers to any residence within an apartment building where the separate units are rented out. Furthermore, apartment complexes are owned by a property manager or a property management company.

Apartments provide people with a home without the majority of the obligations associated with homeownership, including property taxes, building care, and maintenance fees. The buildings may also include community amenities such as a pool, gym, or dog park.

Furthermore, apartment living is a good option for someone who does not have enough money or savings to purchase a home. They are also a good choice for someone who isn't sure what they want to do with their lives.

When renting out an apartment to tenants, the renter is limited in what they may change to your apartment (such as paint colors or hanging heavy items). As the landlord, you have the last say on whether or not pets are allowed. By owning an apartment, you create equity, and you benefit from the tax advantages that come with homeownership.

Townhouse vs. Apartment: The Differences

The distinctions between townhouses and apartments are significant. These factors may have an impact on your buying experience.

Owners of townhouses typically rent them out to tenants. Apartments are frequently rented out via the property management company.

Townhouse owners may hire a property manager on occasion. This person is in charge of locating tenants and maintaining the property.

Several units are listed as apartments, while others are listed as condos. Condominiums are often designed to seem like apartments. However, they are frequently owned by residents.

Apartments are properties that you rent out. Condos, like townhouse communities, depend on HOA fees to maintain basic facilities.

A design similar to that of a single-family home is also available in townhomes. They feature a broader layout and numerous stories. Townhouses are normally more costly than single-story, cozier apartments since they have a larger floor layout.

Let's take a closer look at some key differences:

The Space in a Townhouse vs. Apartment

This is a no-brainer, but it needs repeating: a 900-square-foot apartment has the same amount of room as a 900-square-foot townhouse.

The layout differences between the two may give the impression that there is a significant difference. Evidentially, the square footage of an apartment is divided into a single level, whereas the square footage of a townhouse is divided into two stories.

If you desire greater separation between the rooms and the kitchen or living space sections, this partition is ideal. When noise has to ascend a flight of steps, it does not travel!

An apartment, on the other hand, makes more sense if you like immediate access to all areas of your home.

The Expenses in a Townhouse vs. Apartment

Even if the square footage is the same, you might face a few significant price differences when choosing between a townhouse and an apartment. Here's why you could spend more for a townhouse than for a comparable-sized apartment:

  • Townhouses frequently include a small plot of land, whereas apartments don't.
  • Because townhomes are not as densely packed as apartments, you, as a landlord, generally charge more to recoup your investment.
  • Some townhouses have association fees, which can be paid directly to the HOA or indirectly through the tenant's rent payments.

However, a small amount of land and lower tenant density are two important factors to consider when deciding between a townhouse and an apartment. If such conveniences are essential to you, you are aware of and may even anticipate the additional cost.

The Privacy Offered by a Townhouse vs. Apartment

When you share a wall with another person, your privacy (as well as theirs!) is compromised. Due to the fact that both apartments and townhouses have this feature, neither can claim to be the indisputable privacy champ.

A closer examination sheds light on the situation:

  • A washer and dryer might be included in the townhouse, or it might be pre-installed. If you own an apartment, residents have access to a common laundry room or perhaps a public laundromat.
  • Less homes mean fewer nosy neighbors around the townhouse,though the number of renters in the apartment building may give one the feeling of "hiding in plain sight," which might make you feel safer.
  • When it comes to most property managers, owning an apartment is more practical. It's merely a means to a goal.

HOAs

A Homeowners Association, or HOA, is another significant distinction between a townhouse and an apartment. While an apartment complex and a townhouse community may have common areas such as a pool or clubhouse, they are frequently maintained differently.

These extras are included in the rent payment for tenants in an apartment. Rules and regulations for use are distributed by the property manager. Paying HOA fees is required to have access to a townhome. These fees are billed either annually or monthly, but they are frequently the renter's obligation, which is ideal for you.

Whether you live in a townhome or not, you have a one in five chance of living in a place that is part of an HOA; however, once you pay into the HOA, you must follow the rules. These can feel a lot tighter than the rules one might find in a traditional apartment.

As the property owner, dealing directly with the tenant can be challenging at times; however, there are still advantages to owning a townhouse.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Townhouses and Apartments

As a townhouse community and apartment complex are two different things, they also have different pros and cons. Let's take a look at these in more detail:

Buying a Townhouse

Benefits

  • There is more space. Townhomes are a great way to expand your living space without having to commit to a single-family home. Balconies, garages, patios, and modest yards are prevalent in townhouse complexes.
  • It's cheaper than buying a traditional house. Transitioning to a townhouse owner is difficult due to housing shortages and soaring prices. A townhouse is typically cheaper to buy than a single-family home.
  • Amenities are often included. Usually, townhouses are part of a larger development. They frequently have excellent facilities. With a townhouse, you get the perfect combination. Townhouse projects, much like apartment complexes, frequently have swimming pools, fitness centers, and other upmarket facilities.

Disadvantages

  • There might be a lack of privacy. Townhomes often offer more privacy than apartments. They are, nevertheless, less private than single-family residences. Sharing yards, walls, and facilities with your neighbors is standard.
  • The location is not always ideal. Within a city, several townhouse communities are located in residential districts. They are, however, frequently placed in a suburban environment. Condos and flats in the heart of downtown and high-density districts are plentiful.
  • HOA fees are a part of the package. HOA fees are needed to keep up with landscaping and common area maintenance in a townhouse development. Having an HOA, however, does imply that one must adhere to certain guidelines. These could include not painting the townhome a bright blue color and following the rules.

Buying an Apartment

Benefits

  • The utility payments. Owners get to include the utility fees in the rent payments. This is an advantage because you don't have to worry about collecting separate payments for multiple purposes. All tenants have to pay you one fee that includes all relevant utilities.
  • There is a variety of amenities. The wide range of appealing and convenient amenities is what draws many people to apartments. You can attract a variety of tenants by offering them a gym membership to the fitness center in the apartment community. Furthermore, payment for the use of these is also often included in the rent, which makes it easier to collect payments.
  • You get to make all the rules. As the landlord or owner, you get to devise a set of rules that you want everyone in the building to follow. If you want the complex to be a pet-friendly area, you can include a pet deposit or an additional monthly fee in the payment structure. Alternatively, you can prohibit the residents from having pets altogether.
  • Tenants cannot personalize the property without your permission. People renting the apartment are not allowed to replace or paint things in the apartment. This allows you to maintain control of your building.
  • Apartments are very systematic. Being a property manager of an apartment is generally a much more organized task than other types of properties, meaning it is easier to control and maintain.

Disadvantages

  • They are often small. Apartments are often smaller than the average townhouse or condo. The living space doesn't offer you much room to play with. People generally cannot expect a nice outdoor space or larger space for a sophisticated dining room.
  • Property managers have to take care of all the maintenance. Many people are drawn to apartments because of the low upkeep. However, this is not such a big perk if you are the owner or manager. Owners and managers are responsible for the regular interior ad exterior maintenance of the property. Yes, that means you have to deal with replacing lightbulbs, repairing burst pipes, and ensuring that all heating facilities are in good working condition. Furthermore, you have to provide these services free of cost to the tenants.
  • You have to include utility and amenity fees in the rent. While this allows you to stay more organized, because everything is received together, it often means prices have to remain quite low. Managers or the management company really have to stay on top of things to ensure that they do not operate at a loss.

Should You Choose an Apartment or Townhouse?

A townhouse and apartment are both solid options. Concentrate on the things that are most important to you. A townhouse is a terrific alternative if having extra space to stretch out in a calmer area with luxurious facilities is essential to your satisfaction.

If you want to be in the thick of things, an apartment is probably the better option. They're also a good option if you would like smaller living spaces but still want top-notch facilities.

Before committing to either option, get to know the new community. Before you sign papers, talk to a few people in the area.

Buying a townhouse allows you to more freedom without sacrificing room. Most townhouses include multiple stories of living space, unlike apartments, with rooms on the upper level, the main living area in the midsection, and additional space on the lower level.

While the best advantage of living in a townhome is the amount of space, there are other factors that may persuade you that this is the appropriate sort of home for you, such as the fact that there aren't strict rules and that the HOA takes care of a lot of the maintenance.

Even though owning a townhome may provide you with additional space and give you more direct control over the property and tenants, don't do it solely for the sake of appearances. Townhouses tend to take a significant amount of time to manage and are a financial investment. It's possible that you're not prepared for it.

Apartments are the better option if you're comfortable managing a property and can keep up will all the maintenance needs of the tenants in the building. The price tag of an apartment is often more appealing to people, especially when considering all the luxurious amenities that tend to come with it. The main feature that draws people away from this option is the fact that one has to share walls with other apartment dwellers.

Overall, the main difference comes down to how much space you can manage as an owner, landlord, or management firm.

Is Your Next Home Going to be a Townhouse or an Apartment?

Therefore, which option is better: an apartment or a townhouse? It may not be as simple as deciding between renting and buying, but it is equally as important.

Deciding on your next investment property is not an easy task, but it is often a choice that pays off in the long term. Both townhouses and apartments have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it ultimately depends on the best option for your lifestyle.

David Bitton

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his two children, he's writing articles here!