What makes ELEVEN townhomes different than a condo or apartment?  

A townhome is like a single-family home, except that it’s attached to other townhomes. Unlike a condo, when you own a townhome, you also own the land underneath. There’s no one living below you, or on top of you. At ELEVEN, our townhomes include a small, private plot of earth to enjoy without sacrificing proximity to Durham’s urban center.

Buying and selling a townhome is not much different than selling a single family home, so the paperwork, mortgage application, and closing process are straightforward.

When you own a condo, like ours at Church + Main, you own the “volume” of space within your unit, but the condo owners’ association owns all the common spaces and the building itself. Condos typically offer single-level living, elevator access, and sometimes higher vantage points, all of which appeal to certain buyers. Along with those features comes a slightly more complicated buying and selling process, as condos cannot always be purchased with a conventional residential mortgage.

Both townhomes and condos have owners’ associations that govern the community. In addition to administering the rules and regulations, the association collects monthly dues and pays for common expenses such as landscaping, maintenance, insurance, and management. Monthly dues for condos generally run higher than townhomes because condo buildings are more expensive to maintain.

Apartments are another beast entirely, one that doesn’t compare well with either condos or townhomes. They don’t generally have any community governance, in the strictest definition are only rented, whether attached to someone’s home as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) or located in a multi-family building with other apartments. That dynamic often means that the quality of the apartment is dependent on the landlord, management company.

What’s an ADU?

Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are a classic housing type that provides small, affordable, and flexible living spaces. Sometimes these spaces close to a single family home in a detached garage or an addition to a single-family home are called an “in-law suite” or “granny flat.”

Think of an ADU not as just a guest room, but rather a smaller version of a complete home with living, bathing, and cooking facilities. A tenant could comfortably live there for months or years. A friend or family member could stay there and be close, but still have their own private living space, or the apartment could be rented on a short-term basis as an AirBnB.

Am I allowed to rent out all or part of my home at ELEVEN?

Yes, with an eye toward balancing renting and owner-occupancy.

One of the features that we’re most proud of at ELEVEN townhomes is our sensible and flexible approach to multi-family living. There are different ways you can use the ground floor of your unit, including as an independent one-bedroom apartment. Owners can put that space to work to provide rental income, a place for family members to stay, or even a place to operate your small business.

All of these design elements work with the Homeowners’ Association covenants to preserve a sense of community without creating unreasonable barriers to rentals.

The net-net is that owners have a lot of flexibility that you wouldn’t have in a traditional townhome community or a condo complex.

What about short-term rentals like AirBnB?

To some, short-term rental platforms are a valuable source of income, but they must be managed appropriately so as not to become problematic.

At ELEVEN townhomes, we permit short-term rentals but encourage active oversight by owners who must occupy the townhome as their primary residence for at least 50 percent of the year. Owners may rent either the small suite, or the primary dwelling, but never both at the same time. The covenants of the association reflect these guidelines to create transparency and mutual accountability for all community members.