House vs. Condo. What’s the difference?
Old man giving a thumbs up because he was just approved for a loan

Written by Brian Johnson

Engineer, investor, REALTOR®, and Ten Properties owner, I help new investors use data to build their real estate empire. Connect with me today to start building your ten.

February 5, 2019

These terms are sometimes used interchangeably but more often are used incorrectly.


Also referred to as “Home”, “Single Family Home”, or “Single Family Residence”, this one is pretty self explanatory. A free-standing home on a piece of land. You own both the house structure (known as the “improvement”) and the land underneath it. Depending on your state, owning the land doesn’t necessarily mean you own everything in the land though. Mineral rights are typically reserved and can go way back to the original owner of the land. Most people are surprised to learn, however, that you generally do own the air-rights above your land… meaning someone cannot build a structure over the top of your property.


The term “condo” is often overused and can mean many different things. Most of us think “townhouse”, “duplex”, or “apartment”, but technically speaking a condo could be any of these. In fact, many condos actually look just like houses, with a free-standing structure and a yard. The primary difference in a condo comes with ownership. With a condo, you own the unit itself, plus an “interest” (0% and up) in any common area, but you don’t own the land underneath it or the air rights above it. For condos that look like houses, this may seem a little weird not to actually own the land, but it’s fairly common and is a growing trend among developers.

You May Also Like…