If you’re in the market for a new home but aren’t sure you want a big yard to take care of, you’ve probably considered buying a townhouse. But do you really know what you’re getting? While it may seem natural to lump apartments, condos and townhouses together, there are distinct differences between them. Here’s what you need to know to decide whether or not a townhouse is right for you.
What is a townhouse?
A townhouse is generally described as a two-to-four story building that has common walls with neighboring properties. You may also sometimes hear a townhouse referred to as a row house. Townhouses can be found in every type of community, from rural to metropolitan neighborhoods. The building is on a very small footprint, and usually contains a tiny landscaped yard. Generally speaking, living rooms and kitchens are on the first floor, while bedrooms are on the upper floors. Many townhouses also include garages in the front or back.
What is the difference between a townhouse and a condominium?
While most people think of condominiums and townhouses interchangeably, there is one distinct difference. With a condo, you own only the airspace inside the walls. But with a townhouse, you actually own the little piece of land that the house sits on. So if owning a piece of property is important to you, then opt for a townhouse over a condo.
How is maintenance handled for a townhouse?
A townhouse community often contains shared amenities, such as a pool or rec room. As a result, most townhouses require monthly payments to a Homeowner’s Association (HOA) to keep up with maintenance costs of these shared spaces. HOA fees can also cover the upkeep and maintenance of your yard and the exterior of your home.
What are the pros of a townhouse?
Some of the reasons that homeowners enjoy living in townhouses include:
- Not having to deal with upkeep of outdoor spaces, like cleaning up leaves, mowing the lawn or snow removal.
- Owning the land on which the townhouse sits.
- Having neighbors nearby, so it’s great for security and for those who want to feel like their neighbors are looking out for them, especially the elderly or those with medical issues.
- Having interior finishes that are more modern or luxurious than what you could afford in a single-family home.
- Traveling is easier with a townhouse, as security and upkeep are generally taken care of for you.
What are the cons of a townhouse?
Here are some things to consider that might make townhouse living less than ideal for you:
- Not having as much privacy as you would with a single-family home.
- Sharing walls with your neighbors on either side.
- Not having a yard if you enjoy gardening or want a big outdoor space for your kids or pets to play.
- Having less freedom with your outdoor decorating style, as you’ll need to follow the guidelines established by the HOA.
- Having no room to expand, especially if you are considering growing your family or you anticipate having an elderly parent move in.
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