Did you know that over 65% of the population owns their home, rather than renting? If you’ve been wanting to join the legions of homeowners, now is a great time to buy. But if you feel like a condo is too small and a single-family home is too big, luckily, there is an alternative.
Townhomes are one of the lesser-known home-buying options. They are low-maintenance and offer many of the benefits of a single-family home without the responsibility. Read on to learn more in this special townhomes guide about what things you should know before buying one.
Definition of Townhomes
First things first: what is a townhome, or townhouse? In short, it’s a home that is attached to other homes that are multiple stories and have one or more shared walls, and is individually owned. Townhomes also may have private outdoor space like a small yard, courtyard, or patio that comes with the home.
Because townhouses are usually smaller than regular houses, they often come with a smaller price tag, too. This can be very appealing to potential buyers that don’t have enough to get into the single-family home market. However, you should take the HOA fees into consideration when budgeting your monthly expenses, since that is an additional cost that most regular homes do not have.
Understanding the HOA
One of the next important things to know about townhomes is that most have a Home Owners Association (or HOA for short). This means you will have to pay monthly fees to the HOA, and they will take care of exterior maintenance like painting, landscaping, and so on. The fee can also include utilities like water, cable, gardening, and even insurance, but it varies from development to development so be sure to check first and see what your fees include.
The upside of having an HOA is that they will be responsible for all exterior maintenance, which is very convenient for homeowners that don’t have the time or energy to deal with it. However, this privilege also comes with a list of rules, which can include things like no pets (or pets under a certain weight or size allowed) no loud parties, no exterior modifications allowed on the home, etc. It may also regulate where you park and how many cars you can have on the property, including guest parking restrictions.
Buying a Townhouse Pros and Cons
There are many pros and cons to owning a townhouse. But the important thing to remember is that whether it is a good match for you is very personal to your needs. While no living situation is perfect, be sure to weigh the pros and cons to determine whether townhouse living is for you before investing in one.
If you have a busy lifestyle, then leaving the upkeep of your home to an HOA can be ideal. You could enjoy amenities like pools, walking paths, gardens, playgrounds, BBQ areas, etc. without doing the actual work to maintain them. While you might have a small yard to look after, it will be less maintenance than a full yard.
If you’re tired of not being able to personalize your home while being a renter, a townhouse can offer you that opportunity. Unlike many condos or rental units, most townhomes will allow interior renovations. However, the exterior is almost always off-limits to customization and will look similar if not identical to your neighbors.
One of the potential downsides to townhouse living is the lack of privacy. You will be sharing one or more walls with your neighbors, which means you could hear their noise on a regular basis. You won’t have space and freedom to do exactly what you want either, because you will have to consider the impact of noise on your neighbors, too.
On the flip side, if you are an extrovert that loves seeing people all the time, a townhouse could provide you with that opportunity. It can offer a sense of community and the bonus of knowing your neighbors. Many HOAs also organize monthly activities that foster this sense of togetherness which can be perfect for homeowners looking to meet other people.
Proximity to Urban Cores
Many townhomes are located within walking distance of shopping and other amenities. This makes them an attractive option to homeowners who prefer to leave their car in the garage and spend time walking to their errands and entertainment. And this setup can be beneficial to those who don’t own a car and need to walk to urban cores and transportation.
Another point to investigate before purchasing a townhome is the rental restrictions because many HOAs will not allow units to be rented out. This can include traditional rentals as well as vacation rental sites, so it’s worth clarifying before you invest if you think you will need to rent your home in the future. It’s also a good idea to check out examples of rental properties online first to understand them better.
Ready to Find Your Townhouse?
What is a townhouse? Now that you’ve learned the ins and outs of townhomes, (also called townhouses) you can buy your very own with confidence. Purchasing a townhouse is a good option for anyone who wants the space and feel of a single-family home without the responsibility of a large property.
Want to learn about other home-related topics? Check out the rest of this site for more helpful articles!