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Does Buying a Townhome Make Sense?

Posted on Tuesday, August 15, 2017

When you imagine the future, do you see yourself owning your own home? For many people, home ownership is ideal, but local housing prices make buying a home for a single family unaffordable. Others enjoy the community nature of apartment living, but they need a bit more space. Luckily, there is an intermediate solution, and it is one that many people enjoy: the townhouse. When you are buying a home, does a townhouse make sense for you?

Do You Like Community Living?

Owning a townhouse makes you part of a community. You can choose to participate in this community to a greater or lesser degree, but you will be sharing walls, parking areas, and some common property with your neighbors. You will likely have some sort of management organization such as a management company, council, or homeowners' association making rules that you need to follow.

If you have an independent streak and you do not really want to follow those rules, that can be difficult. You can challenge the rules, but sometimes you will need to live by them. For instance, a townhouse may have rules about the number or type of pets you are allowed to have in your home.

If you do not enjoy living with neighbors who share a wall and whose noise and dinner smells waft your way, then townhouse living could be challenging. However, if you are a senior who wants neighbors close by, a couple who would like to go running with a neighbor, or a young family who wants their children to have other children close by, the townhouse community can be ideal.

Want to own a townhouse? Be prepared to live in community.

How Much Space Do You Need?

A townhouse can be small, or it can be surprisingly large. Some townhomes move up into the 2000-square-foot range, making them far larger than the typical house of decades ago. Other townhouses are smaller, with square footage in the lower 1000-foot range, or even less. If you want to downsize but you still have a lot of items from past years that you would like to keep, you could downsize to a larger townhouse. If you are thinking of buying a home but you want to live small, you can look for a smaller townhouse.

Do You Enjoy Being Outdoors?

For many people, one of the advantages of a townhome over an apartment is the access to garden space. If you enjoy a barbecue on the patio or you want your children to have a safe place to play, look for a townhouse with some private open space. This is also an opportunity for seniors who want to downsize but who still love to garden. Keep in mind that you are not going to be pasturing a horse in your backyard. Townhouse gardens tend to be just a little bigger than a postage stamp, but they are a private, outdoor space to call your own.

What Renovations Do You Want to Do?

In a townhouse complex, there are generally rules about renovations. For instance, if you would prefer to have a turquoise house but all of the townhomes around you are brown, you are probably out of luck. If you love to do exterior home modifications or if you have a very unorthodox gardening style, you may run into trouble with the townhouse managers and your neighbors.

Townhouses Can Be Financially Practical, But Remember to Account for the Fees

Since you are buying a smaller home on a commonly-owned piece of land, a townhouse is generally cheaper than a house of the same size. You will work with neighbors to pay for large items such as re-roofing your home. It can also be more energy-efficient, especially if you are sharing walls with others. Townhouse maintenance may call for considerably less effort than maintenance of a single-family home.

However, when you purchase a townhouse, you buy into a number of associated fees. If your townhouse has gardens, you will likely have a landscaper to maintain them. If you have a pool or a party room, you will need to have someone to clean them. Your townhouse complex might look for volunteers to maintain these spaces, but it will likely have a company that helps manage them as well. This results in additional monthly fees, and you need to factor these in before you buy.

Are you considering buying a townhouse? If so, visit the blog at Open For Homes. We can help you make the right home choice for you and your family.

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