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There are both townhomes and condominiums in and around the Houston area.  You will need to know the difference if you are interested in purchasing either homes.  A townhouse is considered a single family residence and the paper work for the Realtor and Lender is the same as a free standing home purchase.  If you are purchasing a condominium, there is additional and different paperwork for the Realtor and Lender to prepare and strict guidelines for financing.

How do you know the difference between a townhouse and a condominium?  One way is to look at the legal description- in most cases, a townhome has a lot/block legal description and a condo will show “unit __” of “Building ___” or on tax records it will show style as being a condo.  If it is still unclear after looking at the tax records, the next step would be to have a title company pull the title information on the property to see how it was legally recorded.

If you are purchasing a condominium, you need to understand that they are considered high risk properties.  The condition and value depend on the neighbors as much as the owners, so owner occupancy is very important.  If too many owners are using the condo as an investment property or second home, then it could limit the type of loan you can get on your condo.  If you are getting a conventional loan on your condominium you have to put down atleast 20% so there will be no mortgage insurance required.  If you do a conventional loan with less than 20% down, then you will be required to get mortgage insurance and the owner occupancy rate must be atleast 75%.  So if the majority of the condos are used as rental units or second homes and you don’t have 20% to put down, you will not be able to get a conventional loan.   For an FHA or VA Loan, the government rules state that the condo association must be on the approved list for either FHA or VA before you can do a loan through them.  The approved lists are available online.  If the property is not on the approved list, then you do have the option to submit to FHA or VA for approval, but this is a long process.  For the property to get approved for an FHA or VA Loan they will require that it has an owner occupancy of atleast 50%, there cannot be any lawsuits going on with the property, past dues cannot be more than 15%, and any other requirements they want to add.

It is definitely easier and less risky to purcahse a townhome, but many condominiums are popular around the city and qualify for both VA and FHA Loans.  Check with a Realtor at Register Real Estate Advisors to learn more about the townhomes and condos in the area where you want to relocate to.  Our agents can help you move into any home you choose!  Call us today to get started.

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