When you're looking for downtown living space, you'll find that you have a lot of options - apartments, condos, lofts, townhouses, stacked townhouses, and so on. Pretty much the only thing you won't find is a detached home. For that you'll have to look on the multiple listings service or MLS. Sometimes the difference between these types of unit is not always clear. How does a stacked townhouse differ from a regular one, for example? This article should clear up some of your questions.
Regular townhouses really aren't that different from detached homes except for the fact that their exterior side walls are attached to the homes on either side, maximizing the use of lot space. Townhouses have their own exterior exits and are usually two storeys with the units being divided vertically rather than horizontally by floor as condos are. DecksNStuff can even build you a deck off the back door where you can enjoy a bbq just like you would in a detached home. Stacked townhouses are sort of caught between these two concepts - multi level condo units with private exterior access.
In a stacked townhouse, there are two units, one on top of the other. Some townhouses that are stacked usually have one unit on the basement/ground floor and another that takes up the rest of the floors (usually two or three). Each of the units has its own exterior entrance, either from a street or a courtyard in the center of the complex. Both the upper and lower units are referred to as stacked townhouses though there's not usually any difference between the lower unit and a condo.
The lower unit is generally smaller than the upper unit and is either a single storey or a single storey with a basement which may or may not be finished. Lower units are typically one bedroom and have their own private access from ground level, which makes single floor lower level stacked townhouse units the ideal choice of property for people who have mobility issues and need to get something they can access without going up any stairs.
The upper units of stacked townhouses are usually bigger - about 900 square feet depending on the size of the townhouse. The upper unit has street level access but there are stairs in the entryway leading to a second floor containing the kitchen, dining room, and living room. Another set of stairs leads up to the bedroom and bathroom level. Some stacked townhouses also have a third storey that leads to an attic, utility room, or rooftop terrace. The major disadvantage of this type of condo is that it's very closed, narrow, and much of its square footage is taken up by stairs.
Before you decide to buy a stacked condo, always tour it with your real estate agent. Meet the neighbors to see how loud it will be living over or under them. And take into account any repairs or renovations the property will be needing in the future; The article entitled "Townhome Defined" may appeal to you.