Happy 2012! I have been showing condos, single family homes and duplexes from Buda to Round Rock. Think you can tell a fee simple house from a condo? Think again. The perception is that you can tell a single-family house or duplex from a condo just by looking at it. Truth be told, there is nothing about the style of a house that dictates its classification.
How a house is classified is determined by whether the land the residence sits on is fee-simple or undivided. If the parcel is undivided, then the structure is in a condominium regime which gives owners partial interest in the land. When a residence is fee-simple the owner has owns absolute title to the land and structure. In a condominium regime, you own the space the unit occupies and only own a partial interest in the common land surrounding the property.
Austin Condominium regimes can come in garden home, townhouses, single family, duplexes and apartment designs. Many have backyards, which can make it impossible to tell by looking, how the property is classified. Fee simple properties are available in the same styles, with the exception of towers. Some people don’t want to live in a condominium regime because they feel too restricted in how they can utilize their backyards. Understand fee-simple home owners still need to abide by city, deed and zoning restrictions. Fee-simple home owners can also be restricted through their home owners associations. Condominium regimes will often let homeowners improve property with patios and other outdoor improvements as long as they get permission first and comply with certain aesthetic guidelines. People are not always as limited as they think they will be.