When you decide to buy a townhouse, there is a decision that you have to make. Do you want a freehold townhouse or a condominium townhouse? What is the difference?
A condominium townhouse means that you own the interior of the structure. Your front and back yards, windows, exterior brick and anything behind the drywall is considered common element, just like a condominium highrise. You will be governed by a board of directors and have a Property Manager who will take care of any deficiencies in the common element. They will also be responsible to take care of gardening and all outdoor maintenance, like snow removal on driveways and walkways. You should also be aware that should you want to change the colour of your front door or garage, or make any changes to the exterior of your townhouse, you will have to go before the board of directors to get approval. Usually, however, most boards and Property Managers prefer that continuity of colour and style remain the same for all of the townhouses in a townhouse block, and that includes window coverings. It is usually expected that the part of your window treatment that is facing the exterior be white. You will also have to get permission from Property Management if you want to make structural changes on the inside of your townhouse as well.
Some people prefer the condominium townhouse because they don’t want the headache of shoveling snow in the winter, or mowing the lawn in the summer. They prefer not having to worry about exterior painting when it is needed, sealing driveways when necessary or taking care of gardens.
The freehold townhouse is like owning a single family home. You own the complete structure as well as the land around it. You are responsible for all of the maintenance both the interior and exterior which means you better buy yourself a lawn mower and snow shovels.
Many people prefer the freehold townhouse because you have the freedom to do your own gardening, painting, and exterior changes. You do not have to report to anybody, but with that said, I would not advise you to paint your house hot pink, your neighbours in your townhouse block may not approve, and you want to get along with your neighbours.
The most important advise that I can give would be to do your homework. Check out the pros and cons of freehold as apposed to condominium and then find the townhouse of your dreams.