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Understanding the Differences Between Townhouses and Duplexes

When looking for a new home, it’s essential to understand the differences between various types of multi-family housing options. In this article, we’ll explore the key differences between townhouses and duplexes to help you make an informed decision about which type of home is best suited for your needs.

1. Number of Shared Walls

Townhouses typically share walls with multiple neighboring units, while duplexes only share a single wall with one other unit. This difference in the number of shared walls can affect the noise level, natural light, and overall privacy of your living space.

2. Condo Fees & Homeowners Association (HOA) Fees

Townhouses often require condo or HOA fees to cover the costs of maintaining common areas and shared amenities. Duplexes, on the other hand, generally do not have such fees, as there are only two homeowners involved in making decisions about property maintenance and improvements.

3. Size

Townhouses usually offer less living space compared to duplexes, making them a more affordable option for first-time homebuyers or those on a tight budget. Duplexes provide more space and often include larger yards and garages.

4. Price

As mentioned earlier, townhouses are generally more affordable than duplexes due to their smaller size and shared amenities. The price of a townhouse or duplex will also depend on factors such as location, lot size, and available features.

5. Privacy

While both townhouses and duplexes offer more privacy than apartment buildings or condos, duplexes provide slightly more privacy due to having only one shared wall. A well-constructed party wall can help minimize noise and ensure privacy in both types of homes.

6. Exterior

Duplex homeowners may have more freedom to make exterior changes to their property, while townhouse owners are usually restricted by community guidelines and cannot make significant alterations to their home’s exterior appearance.

7. Yard

Yard space is typically more abundant in duplexes compared to townhouses. If having a larger outdoor area is essential to you, a duplex may be a better fit. Townhouses often have smaller yards or limited outdoor spaces, making them less ideal for gardening enthusiasts or those with pets.

8. Maintenance

Exterior maintenance responsibilities, such as snow removal and lawn care, are typically handled by the townhouse community and covered by condo or HOA fees. Duplex owners, however, are usually responsible for maintaining their own property.


When choosing between a townhouse and a duplex, it’s crucial to consider factors such as the number of shared walls, condo and HOA fees, size, price, privacy, exterior, yard, and maintenance. By understanding the key differences between these two types of multi-family housing options, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision that best suits your needs and lifestyle.

For more information about buying a home or exploring different types of properties, please visit Jessica Fulk’s website or contact her team for personalized assistance.