Condos, Townhouses and Lofts … Oh My

avatarthumbnail.jpgWhat’s the difference between a condominium and a loft in the Phoenix real estate market? Whatever the listing agent says it is, of course. And don’t even get us started on casitas, which are unique to active adult communities.

Seriously, there often is little rhyme or reason to how attached properties are entered into the MLS. And “condos” aren’t even an option when entering a listing. So your search for a condo or townhouse in a certain development often can come up incomplete depending on what the particular agent enters on a given day.

(There are two ways around this, incidentally … the map search on our Phoenix home search page, where you can shrink the page based on Google’s magnification parameters until you’re looking at a certain development in partnership with a general “residential” search, or the new MLS-based polygon map search, where I can define the borders for the search and e-mail you the results on a one-time or ongoing basis.)

Semantic and entry issues aside, here are the rough definitions for the different types of attached properties:

  • Condo – usually listed as “apartment style/flat” in the Arizona Regional MLS because they resemble apartment buildings (and some conversions actually are former apartments.) There generally will be neighbors above, below or both with the exception of the occasional one-story end unit.
  • Townhouse – can be one or two stories but usually does not have neighbors above and below. Also commonly described as “up and down” – as in two-story up and down townhouse.
  • Loft – Generally in a high-rise building though it depends on the development. Will usually have unique features such as exposed duct work, inspired by real lofts back in SoHo.

All three will have homeowners’ association fees noticeably higher than on single family detached homes but that’s usually because some standard expenses are included. It’s not uncommon for an HOA in a townhouse, condo or loft community to cover the cost of water, sewer, trash and blanket hazard insurance. (With the insurance, all the owner would need is a renter’s policy to cover their own belongings.)

In the case of The Mark Condominiums in Old Town Scottsdale, the HOA also pays for air conditioning but the air conditioning still is controlled separately in each unit.

Looking for a particular townhouse, condo or loft property? We’ve got some listings up and running at the growing-on-the-fly Scottsdale Luxury Condos and Lofts website. Or you can simply drop us a line through the contact form at the top right.

[tags]Phoenix real estate, Phoenix lofts, Scottsdale condos[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at

Real Time Web Analytics

Send this to a friend