Apartments vs. Condos vs. Townhomes Explained
When searching for your new home to rent, the real estate jargon can get confusing. Any quick search and you’ll see listings for apartments, condos, and townhouses. But what exactly are the differences between them and which one is right for you?
Let’s break down the differences between apartments, condos, and townhomes to help you figure out the best option for you and your family.
An apartment is a rental unit in a multi-family building that is typically owned and operated by a property management company. You’ll find apartments available in regular residential buildings or larger multistory buildings that either stand-alone or are grouped together in a community. Apartment communities in Charlottesville offer a huge variety of prices and amenities, from affordable apartments to luxury apartments.
The benefits of a professionally managed apartment community include onsite staff and a dedicated maintenance team in case of maintenance emergencies. Apartments tend to offer more flexibility than condos or townhomes, with leases ranging from 3-months to 1-year. This is a great way to “try on” the city if you’re new to the area. It is also a viable option if you are in-between homes or waiting to close on a new home. Many communities offer amenities such as a pool, resident gym, playground, and more. However, this can sometimes require an additional fee on top of your monthly rent. In Charlottesville, you’ll find a variety of apartment sizes ranging from studios to 3-bedrooms, with apartment rent ranging anywhere from $600 to $4,000 a month.
Condos are similar to apartments as they are often units inside a multi-family building. However, while apartments are all owned by a single property management company, with condos, each unit is owned individually. A condo owner has control over who can rent their unit.
Depending on the type of building the condo is in, there may be some shared amenities such as common spaces, pool, gym, elevator, lobby, etc. A homeowner’s association (HOA) often oversees these common facilities. The HOA will issue rules that condo owners and their tenants must follow regarding common spaces.
When it comes to space and cost, condos are nearly the same as apartments, the biggest difference between the two is how you will pay rent and who you will deal with when you rent. While with an apartment you pay rent directly to the management company, renting a condo means you’ll be dealing with an individual owner. They may charge you a single monthly rent, or they may have you pay rent plus the HOA fees for utilities and usage of the common spaces. The downside of this can often be management and maintenance. While apartment communities often employ a dedicated maintenance staff, an individual condo owner rental handles maintenance calls themselves, which can cause delays while they hire a handyman, or try to take care of it themselves.
Townhomes can be described as a cross between a house and a condo. They are typically 2-3 story homes constructed in a single building. You’ll often find three or four units in a single building, meaning there will still be shared walls. Many times townhomes are built with several buildings grouped together.
With apartments and condos, building management takes care of groundskeeping (lawn, garden, sidewalks, etc.). However, with townhomes you may be responsible for yard maintenance, keeping your lawn trimmed, and your sidewalk and driveway clear of any snow or stains.
Townhomes can be owned individually, or by a property management company, so who you pay rent to and lease specifics will vary depending upon who owns the townhome. Depending on how the community is structured, you may also be responsible for HOA fees or other community fees, similar to a condo.
Townhomes are beneficial for individuals or families who want more of a house-like structure without all of the upkeep and maintenance. They tend to offer more square footage than apartments or condos, giving families space to spread out, and may offer individual garages. The downsides to townhomes are often availability and price, and they tend to offer less flexible leasing agreements, with leases typically ranging from 12 to 24 months. In Charlottesville, townhomes rent for $1,400-$3,000 per month.
Which One is Right for Me?
When figuring out whether you should move into an apartment, a condo, or a townhome, there are several things to consider. Things you should think about include:
- How much space do you need?
- What can you comfortably spend on rent?
- How long do you plan on staying in the unit?
- Are you willing to do outside work on your unit (snow removal, cut grass, etc.)?
- What amenities do you want access to?
- Are you okay with paying HOA fees?
Once you figure out which type of unit is right for you, be sure to check out open houses and schedule a visit to the communities where you are interested. Our team at The Lofts at Meadowcreek Apartments would be happy to show you around and help you find your new home. Call us at (434) 989-2934 or send us a message to schedule your visit today.