Condos, Townhomes and Villas: What's The Difference

On your search for over 55 communities, you’re likely to come across a number of different house styles. But what is a villa and how is it different from a condo or townhome? In this article, we’ll explore the different house styles and which one might best suit your retirement needs.


What is a Villa?

Originally an ancient Roman upper-class country house, modern-day villas are still typically inspired by a get-away lifestyle that puts focus on features like gardens, ponds, lakes, and other amenities that make residents feel like they’re living the never ending vacation of their dreams.


Considered ideal for a low-maintenance lifestyle, villas are usually a single-story home style with at least one wall attached to a neighboring home. This style of living can help keep costs low and often removes things like lawn care from the homeowner's list of responsibilities. Want to explore what a villa is like? Get a virtual tour of the Ellenwood in St. Cloud Florida and explore the vacation-like charm that villas have to offer.


What is a Townhome?

Townhomes and villas can feel like very similar house styles, but, for a townhome, there may be more of a focus on making each unit feel like a separate entity. That said, like villas, most units will still share at least one wall with a neighbor. Also like villas, townhomes are great low-maintenance options for people who are more focused on enjoying the leisurely activities of retirement since they usually do not come with large lawns to manage, and certain aspects of the exterior, like the roof, are maintained by the community’s HOA.


While many townhomes feature second or even third stories, creating a charming exterior, there are many ways that the space can be used from bonus spaces like lofts on the second floor or even finished basements. Although the prospect of stairs may seem like a poor choice for home styles geared towards adults 55+, many townhomes in active adult communities include options for mini elevators. Interested in exploring a townhome? Explore our Milan townhome collection to learn more about this home style’s design opportunities and to discover all the ways you can enjoy townhome living.


What is a Condo?

Looking to enjoy modern living with least maintenance possible? A condo could be a perfect home style solution for you. Typically laid out over a single floor, condos are multi-residential buildings in which each unit is owned by different individuals. Repairs and maintenance that takes place within the condo (or condominium) are the responsibilities of the homeowner. But all owners share in the expense of the exterior.


Condos don’t allow for the same privacy that single-family homes might, but they can cut back on your costs. And they typically don’t require homeowners to do any of their own exterior maintenance. This can come with an increased HOA (Homeowners Association) fee, but also much less responsibility on the part of the homeowner. View our Cedar Hill condominium collection to view some of the modern benefits of condo living.


While these house styles focus on spaces that likely share walls, there are plenty other single-family house styles to consider. If you aren’t sure which house style is right for you, consider what your budget looks like. You might also want to think about the type of area you want to live in. Are you looking to have a yard or is being nearer to a city center more important to you?


If you have plans to travel often in your retirement, finding a new construction home that requires very little day-to-day maintenance could be important. Or having access to key amenities might be just the things that elevates your retirement so you can achieve the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. These are all things to consider before you can decide which house style is right for you.


And there are other benefits of living in a retirement community, too. You might want to consider these before deciding if downsizing before retirement is a good move for you. At the end of the day, your home should reflect the life you’re trying to lead in retirement and offer features that help support that lifestyle.




Contributed to The 55+ Society

Looking for more Society tips and learnings? Return Home here.

Published  1.13.22  

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