Types of Residences: Townhomes and Condominiums

Townhomes, Condos, Duplexes/Quadplexes, Single-Family Homes, Apartments, and Multi-Family: Part 1

When looking for a home, the names for all the different types of structures and residences can get confusing. Confusion stems not only from the sheer amount of residence types, but also the fact that some properties might technically fall into several different categories. But the entire process will become much easier if you understand the differences, the specifics that separate the types, and what the advantages and disadvantages that come with the different styles of homes.

The names also will sometimes change depending on the city. For example, in San Marcos, a multi-family zoned home is any home that allows more than 3 adults with different last names to reside at one property. Single-family technically only allows 2 different last names to reside in once residence, but there are obviously exceptions for family members, step-relatives, and in-laws. Today we will be going over townhomes, condos, duplexes/quadplexes, single-family homes, multi-family homes, and apartments.


Townhomes are typically 2-story units that are attached on either side to more units, and tend to be uniform in style. The townhomes are typically side by side, though some are detached (which can be confusing). Townhomes normally have the outside look of a traditional single-family home, but are not detached or stand-alone. Townhomes can be sold individually, but are also sometime used to refer to rental units that are townhome style. They will always have their own unique outside entrance, unlike apartments which can have shared walkways that lead to the entrances.

Townhomes are normally 2-stories, sometimes 3, but others are stacked on top of each other. There are also sometimes townhome-style condos. One advantage with this style of home is that typically the living and common areas are downstairs, whereas the living quarters are upstairs, away from the common areas. This is also combined with guest half bathrooms downstairs and full-size bathrooms are upstairs. This allows you to keep your own space separate from where your guests will lounge in during visits.


Condominiums come in all shapes and sizes. Condos aren’t just a type of structure, but also a style of complex and style of contract. Condos are units sold separately, and have individual living areas but shared common areas. So your home would be yours, but the yard and the garage would be shared in a condo-style home. Condo-style apartments come in a lot of shapes and sizes.

Some may be 2 stories, and the shared balcony might have 10 on each floor. However, instead of an apartment where they are all owned by the same owner, in a complex with condos they are owned outright be separate individuals. Some condos are rented out by the owners, but that is not always allowed in complexes with home-owners associations. Condo is mainly a way of legally separating them from apartments. Many traditional condo apartments are indistinguishable from traditional apartments on the outside.

We will be going more in-depth into condos and the rest of the types of residences and structures and legal classifications that make up the entirety of real estate options in our next article.

If you’re looking for condos or townhomes for sale near San Marcos TX, consider visiting our listings pages!

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