5 Advantages of a Townhouse

Town houses in the Pallisades, Calif.
Town houses in the Pallisades, Calif.
VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Here's what most of us think we know about townhouses: They're glorified apartments. They're houses squished together so hard they share walls. They're ruled by iron-fisted homeowners' associations who will force you to dye your dog to match your window shades.

Turns out, most of us are straight-up wrong about townhouses. They're not apartments or houses, or even condominiums. And HOAs will not make you dye your dog. Probably. (Just in case, maybe you should ask before you move in if you feel strongly about dog dyeing.)

"Not all townhomes are condos, and vice versa," said Joan Rogers, a real estate agent in Portland, Ore. "A condominium is a very specific thing, wherein the owner owns only the airspace inside the walls, and all exterior elements are held in common. Condos can be apartment-style, townhouse style, or even several small houses. A townhouse isn't necessarily a condo, though."

Here's the important difference: Townhouse owners own the little patch of land their townhouse sits on. Condo owners only own, as Ms. Rogers said, the airspace inside the condo, not the land. If owning a piece of planet Earth is on your bucket list, a townhouse will let you live that dream. Let's see what other items you can cross off that list by owning a townhouse.