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What is the Difference Between a Condominium and a Duplex

What is the difference between a Condominium and a Duplex

Know what you are buying when considering purchasing a multi-family type structure. Your choice can have an impact on your housing cost both now and in the future.

I had a discussion with a homeowner that recently purchased what they described as a two-family condo-style home. Our discussion included HOA (Home Owners Association) fees and the differences between their home and other similar type structures. The type of home they purchased is typically referred to by several names such as Duplex, Paired Ranch Home, and Semi-detached Home. It is not considered a “Condominium”.

Their home looks like two ranch-style homes put together with a common wall between the two units. HOA fees generally cover amenities such as a pool and clubhouse, trash pickup, and lawn care. Land may be owned by the homeowner or Homeowners Association. They thought that their monthly fees covered insurance, roof, siding maintenance, repair, and replacement. They were surprised to learn that it is their responsibility to maintain those items.

HOA fees for Condominium type structures generally include the cost of landscaping, lawn care, building repairs and replacements, roof and siding repairs, building insurance, trash pick-up, and amenities which dramatically increase the monthly fee when compared to duplex-type homes. Generally, in a condominium community, the HOA owns the land and the exterior of the buildings including driveways and walkways more commonly referred to as common areas.

The bottom line, make sure when you are considering purchasing in a multi-unit building, make sure you know how much the fees are and exactly what the fees cover, and what areas are considered to be common areas.

Submitted by: John Schuler, Certified Home Inspector

J & H Home Inspections, LLC

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