It’s mind-boggling, actually. Cities cover but 3% of Mother Earth’s land surface but are called home by more than half of the planet’s total population. Small wonder why some experts have pointed the finger at cities as a major driver in the COVID-19 pandemic. Come to think of it, it also speaks about how your housing choices are wide. As acreage in its city is tight, new ways to maximize the land for housing have emerged. Top of this list is the condo and a townhouse.

Condos have become a central theme to America’s major cities. And why not? With just the barest minimum of land, you can house as many people as your building will allow. A glorious example is 432 Park Avenue in New York City. Standing tall at1,395 feet, this is the tallest all-residential building with 85 floors to amaze you. Anyone can tell you, that kind of address is hard to miss. Of course, the starting prices in such a skyscraper condo are going to make you speechless.

The question now is what kind of housing should be best for you. Is it a condo with great views overlooking the city? Or is it a townhouse where you live in some community? And yes, last but not least is the detached house. Looking at the merits of each one should bid you well.

The Case for Townhouses

You may have heard about townhouses. You may have an idea what it is. Most likely, the picture of multilevel residences attached to another residence in one street comes to mind. But although that is the popular view of townhouses, that is not the definition that makes townhouses distinct. For one, there are condominium communities that feature three-story residences attached.

What defines a townhouse is ownership. A townhouse owner owns not just the building structure but also the land on which it stands. We’re talking about house and lot here. And ownership includes the front and backyard area, too, however small.

On top of that, townhouse communities usually have homeowner associations (HOAs). Each homeowner pays a monthly due, which should cover maintenance of common grounds such as recreational areas and parks (e.g., tennis court). And yes, there are cases when HOAs also spit out community rules that may not please everyone. A good example is exterior paints allowed for each house or the rules on fencing.

If you don’t want to shoulder big up keeping responsibilities, a townhouse is good for you. You only have a small area to clean up, and amenities are being run by an HOA. On the other end of the spectrum, you are solely responsible for repairing and maintaining your townhouse and must shell out money in this regard.

The Case for Condos

If you don’t want to bother with upkeep, a condo is your best choice. It’s the most hands-off way to own a home. You may mistake townhouses and condos, though. Some developers build condos that, at the outset, look like a series of townhouses.

As a whole, condos are not as expensive as townhouses, although it depends on the specific location. Know that you don’t own the land on which the unit stands when you get a condo. The unit exterior added to the land is collectively a common area owned by all condo owners.

Maintenance is where condos can squeeze you in the dollar department. Condos will cost you more than townhouses in terms of HOA fees. So your monthly fees will cover the unit exterior maintenance costs. Plus, it will also take care of other essentials: insurance to cover key areas (elevator, roofs, parking). Added to this, monthly fees should take care of trash and possible snow removal during winter.

If you’re busy and don’t have time to attend to your home, then a condo is best for you. It’s no accident that New York City has tons of condos. It saves space as expansion is upwards. Best of all, it works for people whose jobs are just nearby.

Detached Houses Merits

If you don’t want to have someone watching over you every time you make an improvement in your house, then a detached house type is your best choice. There will be no HOA rules to limit your options. What’s even better, you have ample space to move about. You are not limited by a neighbor sharing a wall with you.

However, there are detached houses that also have an HOA. Gated communities are highly likely to have one. This is especially true for urban areas. The advantage is you may have amenities such as a swimming pool or tennis courts. Of course, location is key to your choice.

Detached are best for people who want a large front yard where children can play. But all that comes with greater responsibility. Indeed, with greater freedom comes greater responsibility.