With condominiums becoming increasingly popular among today's homebuyers, it is a good time to clarify the terms of ownership that seem to confuse many people. Condo-type residences most commonly fall into two categories - condominiums and townhouses.
A condominium is usually a multi-story structure. Each owner-resident has a deed of ownership for his own unit and owns the space within the unit, but not the land under the structure. Therefore, condo units can be stacked vertically. Condo owners share title to the common areas of the development, including land, exterior of buildings, hallways, roofs and swimming pools -- all areas used by all occupants. Each owner pays property taxes on their unit. Also, a monthly fee is paid to the homeowners' association that is used for managing and maintaining all common areas.
A townhouse, or town home community is usually a series of single- or two-story housing units, each linked to each other horizontally by common walls. Each owner hold title to their unit and the land beneath it, thus these units cannot be stacked vertically. Typically, a townhouse unit will be a two-story residence, with the living area downstairs and bedrooms upstairs. Common areas belonging to the townhouse development are owned jointly. Each townhouse owner pays property taxes and association fees.
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