If you are considering purchasing a first home one of your options might be a condo or a townhouse. Most people think these two housing terms are the same but they are not. Townhouses are different than condos.
First you should understand that the words townhouse and townhome are interchangeable. They mean the same thing.
Townhouse communities are a great option for home buyers who want the convenience of living in an urban area, but also want some peace and quiet.
They provide close-knit communities that exist in quieter environments, making them a good middle ground between city life and suburban living.
Let’s look at everything you should know about townhouses, including the pros and cons.
What is a townhouse?
Townhouses are typically homes that share at least one wall with an adjoining property. They differ from condos in that a condominium is usually a single unit within a larger community.
Townhouses are a type of multi-floor home that are attached to neighboring homes by one or two walls, but they can still have some architectural differences.
Townhomes usually sit on a small piece of land that does not extend very far past the actual property line.
Townhouses are often built as part of a community or gated neighborhood, which makes them an attractive option for people who want to live in a close-knit community setting without being in a busy metro area.
Since the pandemic has caused more people to work from home, there is an increased demand for housing in suburban communities. Townhouses usually fit the bill conveniently for what many home buyers are looking for in a property.
Townhouses have seen a steady growth in recent years, according to construction trends reported by the National Association of Home Builders.
What are the pros to buying a townhouse?
There are some significant upsides for purchasing a townhome. Let’s have a look.
Usually more affordable than single family homes
Townhouses are typically cheaper to buy than traditional detached homes. They can be a more affordable housing option for many first timers.
The homes in a townhouse neighborhood are smaller and sit on condensed lots, with little outdoor space. They also share walls with their neighbors. Maintenance tends to be less expensive as there isn’t as much upkeep.
There Is an association and additional amenities
While some do not like the thought of a homeowner’s association, most work to protect the property value of it’s members. When there is an HOA in place, there are often associated perks. Some of the common things you’ll find with an HOA are clubhouses, swimming pools, fitness center, tennis courts, or walking trails.
Many homeowners associations will also cover services such as snow plowing and cutting the grass.
Close knit community
Since you will be so close to your neighbors there is often a strong bond created. If you like the thought of seeing your neighbors daily, a townhouse might be an excellent housing choice.
Many townhouse communities organize events, like cookouts or seasonal celebrations, to help residents get to know one another and build connections.
What are the cons of buying a townhouse?
Of course with most things there will be downsides as well. Let’s look at the cons of owning a town home.
A smaller home to live in
Usually those who move to a townhouse community will be giving up some square footage. If you choose a floor plan that isn’t open, you may feel even more cramped.
For larger families or those who own pets that need a place to run, town homes may feel too congested.
You might not like the rules
While some love the thought of an HOA, others find it overbearing. If you don’t like the thought of a homeowner’s association telling your what you can and can’t do a townhouse might not be appropriate.
For example, some HOAs might try to control the exterior appearance of your property. They may even limit your ability to landscape they way you would like.
You will have less privacy
While the though of having fun neighbors might be a pleasant thought, it could also come back to bite you. When you are sharing walls with another person, it’s possible they may have habits you don’t enjoy. Think about the kid who loves to play his drums at ten at night.
You might also get sick of who lives right next door. At that point there won’t be anything you can do about it.
Before committing to a townhouse ask a lot of questions and research the development. Make sure the finances are sound and there are no upcoming special assessments you’ll be surprised by. It can be an expensive hidden cost that will take you by surprise.