Anyone live in a townhome/condo/duplex?

posted 2 years ago in Home
Post # 16
1627 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2017 - A vineyard

I don’t live in one anymore since I got married but my dad still does. I liked our condo better than any apartment we ever lived in. The fee was relatively low and my dad loved not having to landscape or lawn mow. It seemed to be insulated a lot better so less neneighbor noise. We had 4 bedrooms and plenty of space. We didn’t have outdoor animals so for me lack of yard was no problem. The only thing I would do different is look for one on an end and make sure the house is one floor. Other than that I am pro condo all the way. My dad must be too because he bought another one when he was downsizing slightly because with me gone he needs less space. 

Post # 17
292 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

Look at the HOA financial documents before putting in an offer. My sisters bought a townhome and the HOA does not have a reserve. The association ended up incurring a large bill for a really common-place repair and they did not have enough money in savings, so everyone in the development got slapped with a large assessment.

There are a few HCOL areas where condos are really popular, but in most places attached condos are much more difficult to sell than single-family. Depending on how the economy is doing in four years (or whenever you sell), keep in mind that you may have a tougher time selling it.

Post # 18
87 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 2019

I still own my condo, but don’t live in it anymore.  My condo is one side of a duplex and we were a stand alone condo association.  Since my neighbor is good, we never had issues, but it would be a nightmare if my neighbor was bad.  I never had problems living there and the insulation was great so I never heard my neighbors.  No real complaints from me!

Post # 19
2771 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

We rent a duplex, and I wouldn’t buy one in our area (suburban/college town that isn’t very walkable). I don’t necessarily mind the shared wall, but our yard isn’t very usable and if we buy here, we want some space. 

That being said, I think area is everything. If I lived in a city (Baltimore, Minneapolis, Seattle, etc), I’d hands-down choose a nice duplex over a tiny standalone home. 

Post # 20
842 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

Lived in both and have found pros and cons to both. In the condo I did not like some of the rules. I feel we have more privacy and control in oour own house and I love having my own backyard.

However sometimes I miss the condo living because it was in some ways much easier. We have to devote a lot of time to maintaining our house and yard, taking care of landscaping, grass mowing and snow shoveling ourselves. We don’t have condo fees but pay much more for repairs and improvements to our house. A French drain in the basement just cost us $7000. In the condo, I came home from work and did some housework. Now, I work a full time job and feel like the house is a lot of work too. 

Post # 21
4615 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

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fourthnoel :  We live in a townhouse!  Where I live, unattached, single family homes are over 1 million, so we didn’t even look at them.  The only complaint I have about our townhouse is that our dog has joint problems and I feel like an ass every time he has to use all the stairs.  Otherwise, I absolutely love our townhouse community. 

I very rarely can hear anything in the neighbors’ houses (we are not in an end unit), our HOA takes care of the lawns, snow removal, communal property, etc. and I get to live in a neighborhood I love that would not be feasible if we had only wanted a single family home.  Our HOA is really reasonable, but my coworker has had a TERRIBLE time with hers (freaking out about trash cans being out an hour early, etc.) so I would walk around and see if you can talk to neighbor if you like a house.  

Also, check what the resale value is like where you’re looking to buy.  Where I live, townhouses rapidly increase in value while condos have sat stagnent for a long time and are comparitively expensive with outrages HOA fees.  For that reason, I wouldn’t buy a condo in my city, but felt very comfortable purchasing our townhome.  

Post # 22
23 posts
  • Wedding: November 2019 - City, State

If you’re able to eventually sublet, that could be a really good investment. Some of them don’t though depending on the area. 

Post # 23
880 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

Check out the HOA reserves as well as their budgets. Some are run really well, and others aren’t. I lived in a townhome/duplex for about 8 years and loved it. We only shared a wall, but seperate driveways/garages/porches/etc. and the shared walls were the kitchen/dining areas, not bedrooms.

For me, it was perfect, but I was a single graduate student.

Post # 24
1919 posts
Buzzing bee

The first home I owned with my ex-husband and dog was a townhome and it was perfect for us. It gave us enough space to feel like more of an apartment, but less responsbility than a suburban, white-picket fence house. We had an interior unit and did not feel boxed in and still got oodles of natural light, but I have also lived in an end unit and the extra side yard is very night to have, as well. I’m pro-townhomes, especially if it’s your first time buying. They are great starter homes! We also got ours for a steal and put in some work and sold it and was able to put a full 20% down on the white-picket fence house, with money left to put into savings. 

Post # 25
1919 posts
Buzzing bee

View original reply
letsdothisthing :  Great advice!

HOA management is everything! Some are super strict, and some are not. HOA’s can be a pain, but they can also be a blessing in that they can help maintain the value of the neighborhood with stricter grooming requirements. It’s a double edged sword. 

Post # 26
2561 posts
Sugar bee

View original reply
fourthnoel :  

I woud just say make sure you do your research on the HOA fees and what they include. Also any rules that seem weird to you. My friend HOA limits the amount of nights she can have a guest over/park their car overnight. 

When we were looking, i liked the price of town homes/duplex compared to the single family home (~$100k less or so) but the HOA fees were like $400-$500 a month! 

So we went with a single family that no HOA 

Post # 27
282 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

We live in a duplex . Only 1 shared wall and it is not living space wall so I never hear my neighbors.

We got lucky that our neighborhood is fairly quiet so really no issues with neighbors. I also don’t have an HOA fee, but that means we take care of any maintenance and gardening on the outside ourselves.

I am a frugal person, so I wanted the “feel” of a single family home (which is what my house feels like) without the extra expense. I know most people want the SFH, but it was a great compromise for us. We also got plenty of space for us (3 bedrooms). We didn’t need more than that.  

Post # 28
635 posts
Busy bee

I think buying a townhome is a great way to get in to the market. You can always upgrade in the future. Do pay very close attention to a minimum of two years worth of HOA financials and meeting minutes before you buy though. If the finances are in rough shape, stay away. If it sounds like there’s a bunch of assholes in the neighbourhood, stay away. I’ve owned in two HOA’s and they were both great. My sister, however, has owned in one and it has been a nightmare. 

Re sale will totally depend on your market. Where I live, townhomes sell much faster than single family homes because single family homes have surpassed the threshold of affordability. (ie, in the $1,300,000 range). Townhomes are still selling for $600,000-ish. 

If you have the luxury of time to shop around, take advantage of it. Find a townhome that is an end, or better yet, corner unit. Make sure it has lots of windows and lots of green space around it. I’ve owned two corner unit townhomes, both had ample yard space and both backed on to forested parkland, so it did feel like living in a single family home. You can get lucky!

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