(Closed) Townhouse vs single family home, same price?

posted 4 years ago in Home
  • poll: What do you think I should do?

    Buy single family home even if it's not that great

    Buy townhouse

    Keep looking

  • Post # 2
    Member
    928 posts
    Busy bee

    I would get the single family home because having my own yard is a big deal to me. I can do what i want with my property without getting permission. There are also cons to that like needing to mow the lawn, landscaping, etc. Is that important to you?

    Also, if you don’t love either property or are not 100% certain I’d wait. The right place will show up! We had an offer in on a house and ultimately decided to reject their counter offer as we realized it was more of a project we wanted to take on with a baby on the way. Just a couple of weeks later we found the perfect house for us. I’m so glad we waited!

    Post # 3
    Member
    640 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: November 2017

    Keep looking. I wounldn’t recommend a condo/town-home situation. Those maintenance fees tend to go up every year. It is only $350/month now but in about 5 to 10 years it will be more like $500/month.

    Post # 4
    Member
    391 posts
    Helper bee

    The other thing to consider with a townhome is the resale value. It’s harder to sell a townhome than a single family home, purely for the reasons you’ve mentioned (HOA, no yard). Property values will rise more with a single family home than with a town home, as well.

    With a townhome, you’re also living on top of neighbors that can be bit more permanent than in your typical apartment setting. You can’t really pack up and move if your townhome complex if you don’t quite like the situation. 

    The single family home doesn’t sound too bad. Of course, it will need updates, but if you buy it at a cheap price now and can invest money over the next few years in getting it out of the 1970s a little, adding AC, changing out the furnace, this can considerably increase the value. Is it in a good ‘hood? Are nearby houses selling for more? 

    Post # 5
    Member
    1221 posts
    Bumble bee

    How many bedrooms in the townhouse vs the house? What outdoor space does the townhouse have? What about location – is one more convenient than then other? (walking distance to amenities, transit, parks, highway access, etc). Nothing wrong with a townhouse as long as it has what yoou need/want.

    Post # 6
    Member
    2673 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: September 2014

    I can’t tell you what you should do- but I would advise against buying a SF that needs a lot of work if you are already maxing out your budget. You risk running into a situation where you don’t have the money to cover expensive/unanticipated issues.

    I live in SoCal too, so I’ll just give you an example from my personal experience. In the past 6 months we’ve spent over $2k on pest control issues….first it was rats ($700), then it was black widow spiders ($100ish), most recently it was termites ($1300).

    Post # 9
    Member
    394 posts
    Helper bee

    Id usually say make the house work but if they really need that much work maybe it wouldn’t be realistic to turn it into something you’d be happy with. Do you have any private outdoor space with the townhouse. Also it depends what’s important to you.. Much less to worry about fixing with the HOA and it sounds like you would have a nice setup. Some people would much rather have a nice move in ready space with a pool than a huge project

    Post # 10
    Member
    11376 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: June 2015

    Re property vale, I’m not sure the usual adages re town homes/condos v SF apply in SoCal. My condo in LA doubled in value, for example, in just a few years. The market in SoCal is its own due to need and demand. 

    That said, I was friends with my neighbors and didn’t have time to do maintenance so that worked for me, but it could be hard if you didn’t like your neighbors. Ask your realtor to check the fees to see what they’ve updated recently so you don’t get hit with some huge uptick.

     

    Post # 11
    Member
    218 posts
    Helper bee

    In your situation- townhouse. If your get to a point where you outgrow the townhouse, you can rent out for another stream of income.

    Post # 12
    Member
    279 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: August 2017

    We have a town home and the hoa fees have only gone up like $20 in 10 years. So yes, your HOA fee may go up, but it’s probably not going to go up as quickly as others have suggested in this thread. 

    I would go for the town house. The house is going to need updating, new appliances, a/c, possibly new roof at that age. All those things add up in cost and stress. Town houses are great low maintenance starter homes and they usually make good rentals. Just make sure you read through your hoa bylaws.

    Post # 13
    Member
    2550 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: August 2014

    If the townhome covers roof replacement, blanket insurance, garbage, etc, that adds value.  For sure check to see what’s covered.  I’ve noticed home listings often don’t have a very comprehensive list.

    But it really depends on the layout.  I lived in a townhome with one common wall and a nice back patio, the only functional difference between it and a stand-alone home was one common wall and it was built well enough that I never heard a peep from next door.  A unit with upstairs or downstairs neighbors would be tougher to sell me on.

    But if it’s a condo conversion then run don’t walk away.  I don’t know about your area but cheap apartments converted to condos were rampant in San Diego, I lived in an apartment that got converted and I feel such pity for anyone who plunked down 400k for those pieces of garbage.

    Post # 14
    Member
    11262 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: City, State

    The SFR will be the better investment over the long haul and I say that as a broker who practiced in SoCal for many years.  It’s going to need updates, yes.  Set aside the amount you would be paying toward HOA dues each month toward your house remodeling fund.

    In your purchase offer, ask the seller to pay for a one year home warranty.  This is standard in purchase contracts in SoCal.  Ask for the most comprehensive plan the warranty company offers.  Be sure it includes heating and A/C unit.  That’s most likely one HVAC unit.  That will protect you against costly repairs.  The seller will almost always agree to pay for it.  If not, you do it.  It’s going to be around $500 with the price of a service call $50-100.  Once that warranty expires, get a new one.  It’ll cost you a hundred or two more, but potentially save you thousands.

    An attached unit will almost never beat an SFR over the long term when it comes to holding value.  With the townhouse, you also want to check the percentage of owner occupancy and be sure they can’t one day pop up and announce that you owe $30K for your share of the roof replacement.

     

     

    Post # 15
    Member
    138 posts
    Blushing bee

    As someoone who bought a townhouse and sometimes regrets this, i vote house. Although i ‘own’ the townhouse, i still have to get approval for things and agree on major decisions with other owners. If this was my standalone house- i could do whatever i want. I want to sell my townhouse to buy a house.

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