Twin home or townhouse or duplex? You can’t tell by looking at a property if it is a twin home or a 2-unit town home or a duplex… because it is about the form of ownership rather the structure of the building. The property in the photo above could be any of the three, because they all have a shared wall.To my understanding in our market, the basic differences are…


  • Each unit has a separate property ID number so each side can be sold separately and usually has a different owner
  • There is no Common Interest Community Association managing the whole property, so it is like owning a house but with a shared wall, which usually means both less acreage and lower cost
    • Because there is no association, there are no association fees
    • Each unit owner is fully responsible for insurance and maintenance of their part of the building and the yard around their unit… just like owning a house
  • Because there is no over-arching governance, the two owners must work together on some things
    • There are no rules or regulations except for city ordinances, just like owning a house… parties must work together to resolve any disputes
    • If owners want to maintain cohesiveness of the structure, they may want to coordinate exterior maintenance (i.e. roof, windows, siding) but it is not required because each side has independent ownership; it is possible that each side could look very different from the other over time
    • If there is storm damage, insurance companies from both sides may have to work together
    • Each side is responsible for their own landscaping and lawn care, so each side could look very different… or they could agree to work together for maintenance


  • Looks virtually the same as a twin home, but is governed by a Common Interest Community Association which sets rules, regulations and guidelines and is usually responsible for exterior maintenance and a master insurance policy
  • There are usually some shared spaces
  • There are typically monthly fees to cover services such as master insurance, exterior maintenance, management, etc
  • Things to be aware of when searching for a condo or townhouse


  • Again, looks virtually the same but both units are owned by the same entity
  • Sometimes the owner lives in one unit and rents the other unit
  • Sometimes an investor owns and rents both units
  • One entity is responsible for the entire property, as with a single family house

Sharlene Hensrud, Minneapolis-St. Paul Townhomes and Condos

The HomesMSP Team – SharleneJohnAngela


About Sharlene Hensrud

I love what I do! Highly insightful, analytical and creative, there is nothing I love more than helping you find the right solution for your real estate transition. My mission is to serve my clients with honesty and integrity, exceeding their expectations in service and support… and to help others by donating a portion of every transaction to Habitat for Humanity.

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