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Condo and Townhome Frequently Asked Questions

What are the differences between condos and townhomes?

The main difference between a condominium and a townhouse is the type of ownership.
When you own a condo, you typically own the “walls-in”; essentially the interior of your unit, the exterior, common spaces, parking (in some cases), amenities, etc are owned by the owners collectively. This means the upkeep, repairs, and management of the common spaces is handle by an owner’s association.
Townhome owners, on the other hand, own the structure and the land it sits on; more like a single-family home setup. Townhomes usually, but not always, multi-story and share a wall or two with neighboring townhomes.
Many people think condos may be large tower buildings with hundreds of units, and many are, but there are many types of condos… some of which even look like single-family homes.  Make sure you are working with an agent that knows the ins and outs and legalities of different types of properties.

What are common elements? 

Common elements of Townhomes and Condos – an what differentiates them from individual houses are the shared spaces outside of the units. These communal spaces are used by everyone that has a residence in the building including Hallways, amenity spaces,  pools, courtyards, gyms, lobbies and any space that every owner has shared access to. Common elements are collectively owned by all of the owners at the property and are maintained by the building or development. 

What do HOA dues cover? 

Condo HOA fees usually cover maintenance, management expenses, and reserve savings for the building to use in emergency situations. Some Condo fees can also include certain amenities like cable, water, sewer, trash, electricity, parking and more. Think of not having separate bills for lawn care and pool cleaning, and instead paying once per month and letting your Condo HOA handle the paperwork.  

What exactly is “deeded parking”? 

Deeded parking refers to your reserved parking space or spaces that convey with the purchase of your condo or townhome. Sometimes these are individual garage spaces, shared parking garage spaces with the other condo owners, or parking lot spaces that are reserved for your unit. Some condo buildings include Valet parking from the HOA. 

Why is is so important that I use a condo expert?

We are in these properties daily. We know the staffs, the owner associations, and historic data. Each member of our team is a Certified Urban Expert (CUE); we are dedicated to staying educated and up-to-date on the market. When you choose to explore condo or townhome living, you owe it to yourself to seek out the professional guidance of a market expert.  We know the intricate details of these buildings and where the best spots are. There are many real estate agents who have never sold a condo and do not understand some of the nuances and differences. Work with an expert!

What is a resale certificate? 

Am I able to get an FHA loan on a condo? 

Yes, so long as the building/property is FHA-approved. Find out about approved buildings here: https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/condlook.cfm

I’ve heard obtaining a loan on a condo can be more difficult than a single-family home. Is that true?  

Not necessarily. Sometimes there is a little extra scrutiny, but by working with expert condo agents, you will find the process to be simple and straightforward. We have the right local lending partners for each property. 

What are special assessments and how do they work? 

A special assessment is a type of fee that owners sometimes have to pay to condo or homeowners associations for unplanned repairs, renovations, or to replenish a reserve account. Ideally, every association should have enough reserve funds to cover repairs but sometimes emergencies come up that are not covered by insurance and the owners have to cover those expenses. Some condo owner insurance policies have a rider to cover these unexpected fees. Special assessments are sometimes charged based on the square footage of your condo or townhome. A special assessment is in addition to the standard monthly HOA or Condo association fees. 

How does insurance work for condos?

Condo insurance is similar to homeowners insurance in that it covers theft, vandalism, fire damage, water damage, and other casualties. However, since the Condo Owners Association maintains and insures the roof and exterior of the building, Condo insurance tends to be significantly less expensive than a traditional homeowner policy. Some Condo policies can also offer riders, which is an additional insurance coverage for unexpected expenses like certain assessments.