A condominium is defined as the individual ownership of a building with access to common areas owned by all residents within the complex. Association fees must be paid to maintain, repair, and improve the common areas shared by residents, which typically include a pool, spa, tennis courts, walking paths, and more. Banks and lenders often finance condos at higher interest rates.
A “condotel” is a sort of hybrid condominium and hotel. Condotels typically have a registration desk or concierge, as well as daily cleaning services, food and telephone service, and operate as hotels despite the fact that units are owned individually. Condotels may also feature short-term occupancy, although they can serve as long-term residences as well. Note that many mortgage lenders will not finance condotels.
A property that is non-owner occupied, owned for the purpose of financial gain either through renting and/or appreciation. Even if the property does not generate income, if the owner does not occupy the home, it is considered an investment property. Investment properties include single-family residences and multi-unit properties. Multi-unit investment properties are among the most expensive to finance.
Often referred to as “mobile homes” or “trailer parks”, these types of properties are constructed on a non-removable steel chassis which allows them to be transported. These homes are often located on leased land, such as in trailer parks and adhere to the Federal Construction Safety Standards Act (HUD/CODE). They provide low-income housing as well as lifestyle housing for groups such as senior citizens. Financing may be in the form of a personal property loan, and at a premium to mortgage loans.
Modular homes are similar to manufactured homes, though they adhere to building codes required by the specific state, county, and locality, and do not carry building or zoning regulations. They also differ from manufactured homes in that they don’t have an axle or frame, and must be transported on a flat-bed truck or like vehicle. Financing may be in the form of a personal property loan, and at a premium to mortgage loans.
Multi-unit properties can be primary residences or investment properties. A 2-unit property for example may be occupied by the owner in one unit, and a tenant in the other unit, defining it as a multi-unit primary residence. Or a 4-unit property may be solely occupied by tenants, defining it as a multi-unit investment property. Multi-unit properties carry additional financing adjustments to fee, more substantial for 3-4 unit properties.
Second Homes (Vacations Homes)
Second Homes, also known as “vacation homes” are residences typically found in recreation areas or resorts that serve as seasonal accommodation. These properties are in owned in addition to a primary residence, and can be condominiums, townhouses, or single-family residences. Vacation homes are common in ski resorts and near the beach, and may be rented out to other vacationers while not in use. Financing is more expensive than single-family residences, but less than investment properties.
This is the most standard property type which is designed to support just one dwelling. This type of property does not include a common area as you’d find in a condominium complex and similar developments. They do not share walls with neighboring properties, and should have land separation from all sides of the property, as well as above and below. These are the cheapest properties to finance, as they are the norm.
A single-family dwelling typically made up of two floors that shares side walls with nearly identical properties. It differs from a condominium in that no neighboring unit is above or below, and usually features an outdoor space in front and behind the property. It’s similar to a condominium in that tenants have access to a common area such as pool, spa, tennis courts and more. Many banks and lenders consider townhouses single-family residence, making mortgage financing more affordable.