(Closed) Townhome vs. House

posted 7 years ago in Home
Post # 4
Member
911 posts
Busy bee

Just to get the conversation started:

Detached homes tend to hold their value or appreciate in value better than townhomes/attached living.

Townhomes will usually have a HOA fee to take care of the common areas of the development. 

Townhomes have shared walls – may have noise issues.

Detached homes often require more maintenance – especially yard maintenance which can often be taken care of by your HOA in a townhouse development.

If you buy in a planned community, you may have to pay HOA fees even with a detached home situation.

 

Post # 5
Member
2562 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

For ourselves, we needed the privacy of having our own detached house.

Many of our friends own townhomes, and you could almost always hear the people connected to you at times. You also can’t control who lives by you, so you might be impacted if they have small kids, like to play movies/music/video games loud, have kids, etc … 

We both work weird hours (long hours for him, shift work for me) so we didn’t want to feel like we were tip-toeing around, and I also didn’t want to be disturbed when I was sleeping during the day for night shifts.

We also have a big dog, and a lot of townhomes here have limitations of the type/number/size of pets you can have (via the condo board).

There are condo fees when you live in many townhouses, which is an added expense when you figure cost of living, and the condo fees may be more or less stable depending on the management company, repairs/additions needed, what is included, and how the money is managed, so that is another unknown.

Post # 6
Member
3871 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Ok, I don’t know exactly what you are looking for but I’ll try.

In townhomes… you have to share at least one wall with another owner.  In a house, you may not…

In townhomes, you usually share a small yard.  In a house, you might have a bigger yard.

 

Post # 7
Member
125 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

@Treasure43: I’ve alwasy wanted to just get a house, but now that we find ourselves beginning the process, I find that I am leaning toward a townhouse for ouw first home. I like that they mow the lawn, shovel the snow etc. and maintain the outside. Just one less thing to worry about for right now.  We are still tossing a lot of things around, but for right now, those things are kinda swaying us b/c we work long hours and the snow will def. pose an issue for us :/

Post # 8
Member
1014 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

We bought a single family ranch style house a couple of years ago because it was the right thing for us at the time.  We were able to get a foreclosure for a steal, and spend some money on remodeling.  I think it house vs. townhome really depends on what you’re looking for.  We wanted a large backyard, but with it comes time/money spent on gardening.  We also didn’t want to have common walls with neighbors.  It’s nice to not hear anyone’s surround sound, or obsessive vacuuming.  Single family homes are more expensive where we are, but taxes on your townhome are cheaper because the home value is less.  Like I said before, it really depends on what you’re looking for, and what you can afford to spend.

Post # 9
Member
1570 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 1996

@Treasure43:

First, the downsides:

  • The first townhouse I lived in lacked a garage, had HOA-restricted parking (which was obnoxious for guests and a death sentence for parties), and on trash day we had to haul our cans all the way around the entire row of houses to get them to the curb. I’d only buy a townhouse if it had a dedicated garage and some availability on-street or nearby for guest parking, and with reasonable access trash-to-curb.
  • Neighbor noise, obviously. This will vary a lot from one neighborhood to another. We’ve never heard a peep from our neighbors, but this isn’t the case everywhere.
  • You don’t own the entire building, and you don’t own the roof. If something needs repair, or the entire roof needs replacing, you have to work with your neighbors to get it taken care of. Not necessarily a problem, but of course it could be.
  • You likely won’t have a very big yard, if you have one at all.
  • Townhouse builders have to be creative to get enough light in the interior, since you don’t have the ability to put windows on all four walls. One of the reasons we picked our townhome is that the builders did a brilliant job placing huge picture windows, small light-giving windows, and skylights all around. We never have to turn our lights on before sunset, even in the winter, it’s so bright inside. Something to look for when you go house-hunting.

Now, what we love about a townhome:

  • Living in an urban townhome upholds my ideals and the passion behind my career – targeting density into cities in order to prevent suburban sprawl and therefore preserve beautiful open spaces from being converted into new subdivisions. Our block of twelve townhomes was built on a former one-house property in the middle of a desirable neighborhood of our city. That’s called infill, which is when you put a lot of people in an area where only a few people lived before, in an urban area with infrastructure that can accept a high density population.  In other words, it’s good for the environment.
  • Another way that living in a townhome helps me stay true to my convictions is that it’s more resource-efficient than a freestanding home. You’ll use less energy and pay less money to heat your home in the winter because you’ll share walls with your neighbors. 
  • Living so close to our neighbors has fostered a great sense of community. Our neighborhood opened up the whole garage area for a Halloween party this past year, for example, and people frequently hang out on each other’s front steps and let their dogs play together etc.
  • Our townhome is tall and skinny, meaning we have great views from the upper floors of the house.
  • More bang for your buck – townhomes are usually cheaper than freestanding homes, so for the same price, a townhome will get you more bedrooms (we have a home office and a guest bedroom in addition to our master bedroom), more bathrooms, nicer carpets and countertops and appliances, etc.

Good luck house-hunting!

Post # 10
Member
368 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I have a townhouse and we have no noise issues.  I have also owned a condominium and had no noise issues as well.  Maybe I’ve just been lucky.  This is something you can mention to the realtor and they can research and see if there is a noise issue.  I live in DC and it’s more affordable to live closer to town if you buy a condominium or townhouse.  I personally LOVED condo living and enjoy townhome living.  A house is too big for us right now, but it’s a personal decision.  Good luck with the house hunting!!! 

Post # 11
Member
381 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

@IvyClimb: What she said!

I also would like to add that I live in a townhome that does not have HOA fees, we just don’t have a lot of common area. This is great and annoying at the same time. My husband and I are good about cleaning up our walkways when leaves and snow drop down. Our neighbors… not so much. One neighbor is also terribly rude and allow their dog to run into our “yard” and use it as a toilet. Having neighbors this close can be a problem.

Where we wanted to live there were more townhomes available that had more than one bathroom than the single bath homes that were in the same price range. I’m pretty sure I’m going to start my family in this home and I couldn’t imagine having only one bathroom, but that’s just me. 

We knew we’d pick this townhome as a starter house and we look forward to being able to afford a larger townhome or a house in the next 5 years or so. Good luck deciding, house hunting is fun!

 

Post # 12
Member
293 posts
Helper bee

With a townhome  – you must not mind walking up and down flights of stairs! However, you can get a lot more for your money, and there is less yard maintenance.

In my area, for a similar amount of money you can buy either a new-ish townhome (built in 2000’s) or a much older freestanding house (built 70’s or 80’s or earlier). If this is the case  for you, consider how much tolerance you have for doing repairs on an older home as things start to break, or whether the older home needs renovations.

Post # 13
Member
755 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

We live in a townhome now and we’re happy. We just live in a baddish neighborhood. (Our neighbor got arrested last week for being a heroin dealer.)

But other than that, we very rarely ever hear our neighbors, we have an awesome surround sound so they probably hear us more than we hear them haha

Post # 14
Member
75 posts
Worker bee

Dealing with the association can be a pain in the butt. Yes, you have to mow and shovel with a house, but you can always pay someone for that, and that is probably going to be cheaper in the long run than what you pay in association dues.

Post # 16
Member
755 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

We have a maintenance crew take care of ours. We’ve never had to lift a finger. It’s great!

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