(Closed) Townhouse or single family home? First time homebuyer.

posted 5 years ago in Home
Post # 3
5797 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2011

When we started searching we considred both townhouses and single family homes. After about two outings we cut out townhouses altogether. We decided we’d rather put the extra $ in a mortgage than pay HOA fees. Also, I just wanted way more light/windows and none of them seemed bright enough to me (even the modern ones).

Post # 4
3942 posts
Honey bee

Ive only lived in single family homes, so I am biased. but Darling Husband lived in a townhome when we first met and we both hated it. I don’t like having neighbors be attached, I don’t like all the restrictions that come with an HOA, and I just generally prefer the space that usually comes with a single family.

However, I think for some people it works really well. We happen to love working in the yard, etc but that isn’t for everyone.

Post # 5
853 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

We looked at townhomes a bit before deciding against them.  In this area there are more townhomes that are rentals and the areas tend to go up or down very rapidly.  Also, it depends on your neighbors.  At least with single family homes you have more space between you and your neighbors and a minor annoyance with yards between you is less likely to drive you crazy than when they are a bit nearer.

Darling Husband takes care of the lawn, but every so often when he’s swamped with work, we get one-time lawn care.  It’s not a big deal.

Post # 6
2440 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@SnowInApril:  I would never buy a townhouse or a home with association fees. I just can’t stand the thought of paying off my mortgage, but still having to pay someone every month just to own my home.


I’ll mow my own yard (and decide my own paint colors) thank you very much. πŸ™‚

Post # 7
593 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

It sounds like for your needs, maybe a townhouse is okay based on how much space you need and your indifference to yards, land, etc.  Just keep in mind that you are sharing things like walls, common areas, parking, air, sound, etc. with neighbors in close quarters.  No matter where you go, you will always find there are rude people who don’t care about being considerate to others.  



We live in a townhouse and I can’t WAIT to get out of here when it’s economically possible for us.  Thankfully, our immediate neighbors that we share walls with are single older women and don’t bother us at all.  Unfortunately, we have noisy obnoxious people across from us.  There is constantly a parking shortage because people own too many cars and almost no one uses their garages for parking.  There are also the usual slobs that don’t pick up after their animals, and the single guy with motorcycles and muscle cars that likes to rev first thing in the morning on weekends.  In regards to maintenance of the units, we are responsible for EVERYTHING and the association requires uniformity.  They will also require certain improvements every so often, like exterior painting.  



The good points:  we have excellent landscapers and the property is well maintained and beautiful.  They are also very efficient in the winter with snow removal.  We have a nice pool, lots of walking paths, playgrounds, close proximity to stores and restaurants, etc.  Finally, while you may have a harder time selling a townhome, in our area, at least, there is a great rental market for them, especially if you’re in a good school system.  We plan to try to rent ours in the near future.  



Good luck with your decision!



Post # 8
3885 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Do keep in mind that townhouses don’t all have a homeowners association, fees or services. I live in a townhouse (which I love). We have no homeowners association (thank god) and we take care of our own yard, shovel our own snow, etc etc.  

You can buy a single-family home in many planned communities where you have a HOA, for which you pay fees, and get varying levels of service.  So if having someone clean the snow off the sidewalk for you is important, make sure you look for a community like that. Be aware, though, that many people do not like HOA’s; some can impose some pretty strict rules including what color you can paint your house, how long you can leave holiday decorations up, or how long your grass can get before you have to mow.  Read the HOA by-laws closely before committing.  

You can get all the same services without the HOA by hiring a neighborhood handyman/caretaker or a lawn service.

Personally I *love* living in a townhouse. I do have a “good” neighbor (I consider them close friends) on one side and a “bad” neighbor on the other side, and even the “good” neighbor and I irritate each other on occasion, so you do need to learn a little tolerance and know how to pick your battles, but the upside is you’re kind of forced to get to know your neighbors.  Our block may be a bit to the extreme in that everyone knows *everyone*.  I can name who lives in almost every house on the block, and about half those folks I can tell you quite a bit about them. We’re one big happy community, and it makes for a very pleasant neighborhood. We all look out for one another. It is a LOT harder to get to know your neighbors in single-family homes because everyone stays on their side of the fence and don’t mingle.

Post # 9
3692 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

Here’s some good info on single family homes vs. townhomes.  I personally have never lived in a townhome, but have lived in apartments and now live in a single family home.  I never want to share walls with other people again. 

Post # 10
2600 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

@SnowInApril:  If you’re in an expensive area where the job market is good and if you buy a place that’s a good commuting distance from jobs, then I doubt you’d have much, if any trouble reselling a townhouse later but a SFH is usually a better investment. 

For me, I prefer a single family home mostly because I like the additional privacy and quiet.  However, your Boyfriend or Best Friend has a point about maintnenace – the lawn and exterior do require a lot of work.

If you buy a resale SFH, its probably not going to be as updated as a new townhouse BUT, sometimes when you buy an older home the quality of the construction is a lot better than what you get now.

If you want an updated, low maintenance, more affordable home – go with the townhouse.

If you want more privacy, quiet and you’re handy and really don’t mind doing some updating yourselves and are okay with the extra yard/exterior maintenance, then go with the SFH. 

Also – think about how you live and what each house has to offer.  A garage is always nice, as is a good kitchen, nice bathrooms and storage space. 

Post # 11
9181 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA

@SnowInApril:  In our area, townhouses are way harder to sell than single family homes.  There’s also something very special about having your own garage, yard, etc.

We live where it snows quite a bit (btw, love your username – we’re projected to get a foot between yesterday and today! Paid snow day, what what!!).  It takes like 3-5 minutes to shovel the walk and sidewalk… not a big deal in my mind, and not worth paying for someone else to do it.  I also enjoy doing yardwork like gardening and would be sad / mad if I wasn’t allowed to do that!

Good luck!!!

Post # 12
1963 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: January 2013

I personally hate sharing walls so I would vote for the single family home, and not having to pay HOA fees. I also would advise against thinking about any first home as your “forever” home. Chances are you will upgrade in the future. I am a big proponent of buy what will work for you now, and keep in mind that when your needs change you can get something else.

Post # 13
351 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I have lived in both and can see the pluses and minuses in both.  I lived in a townhouse when I was single and for about a year before my husband and I got married.  It was a very nice townhouse, good neighbors who we never heard, HOA took care of everything, and I liked it a lot.  I had no desire or time to take care of a yard so it worked well for me.  We moved out of it primarily because it didn’t have enough storage space for the two of us and because we wanted/needed more garage space.  Plus my husband likes to build things and needed the garage space to be able to do that.  We love our house, but we have paid a LOT of money for its upkeep.  A lot more than I did with the townhouse.  Our yard is primarily natural so there isn’t a lot of grass to mow, but we still pay someone to spray for weeds and help us with the bushes, just paid a lot for landscaping, paying for regular pressure washing of the deck, cleaning out of the gutters, etc.  Stuff that I never had to pay for before.  We are still in a place in our lives where we enjoy the house and privacy that it gives us, but have already decided that in 10 years we will downsize and buy a condo somewhere beachy and retire early.  At that point, we’re not going to want to have to mess with the yard anymore.

Also, we sold our townhouse in 2011.  The market had rebounded somewhat here but we still took a significant loss on it.  Some of that was location but I do think some of it was that it was a townhouse. 

Post # 14
9139 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

@SnowInApril:  I have lived in townhouses, apartments, and single family houses.  I prefer townhouses because I hate doing outdoor maintenance like mowing and planting and exterior painting.  A townhouse association will usually take care of all of that and you can just enjoy decorating the interior.  Keeping my townhouse clean was also much easier than the houses I have lived in.  We never heard our neighbors because our townhouse was cinderblock and well insulated.

My only complaint would be that the living room was too small for entertaining and we were limited on outdoor space to a small patio with no privacy.  However, I have looked at other townhouses with fenced in yards and larger living rooms so that can usually be solved.

Post # 15
7173 posts
Busy Beekeeper

I think it depends on a lot of factors.  Some people like townhomes and the convenience they offer while others prefer single family homes.  I think townhomes are slightly skewed to older people or young families (who don’t have a lot of time and/or ability to take on home issues).

If the townhome is in good condition and the HOA maintains the property well (and the fees aren’t out of control) there’s no reason to not go the townhome route.  Besides landscaping, the exterior maintanance and insurance is included in the monthly fees – which you’d be paying out of pocket anyway.  IMO, it’s a ‘wash’ and one vs. the other doesn’t really save you money.

The rules and restricitions of an HOA could be a good or bad thing.  One one hand, there’s someone to enforce rules.  On the other hand, you have to follow the rules.  

When I was in a single family home, there was a renter across the street that liked to sit outside, play loud music, and drink 40’s all day.  In an HOA, that wouldn’t happen. πŸ˜‰

In summary, I think as you look you shouldn’t rule out one or the other.  You never know if you’d find the perfect townhome or the perfect single family home until you start comparing what’s available.


Post # 16
2716 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

We went with a single family home because we wanted land and didn’t want neighbors.  Based on your needs, it sounds like a townhouse would work well for you. Townhouses can also have a lot of nice amenities (playground, pool, clubhouse, workout facilities) that you wouldn’t get with a smh.  It really depends on what you are looking for in a home.

Resale ease and value are going to depend a lot on where you live.  Townhouses are very popular in my area (Northern VA) so I don’t think it would be hard to resell one here.  Also, a townhouse can be very easy to rent out.  So if you can’t sell, you could always rent.


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