What Is a Townhouse? 4 Reasons to Buy a Townhome

When buying a new home, there are three main options to choose from: single-family homes, condos, and townhomes, which can be overlooked in favor of the other two. However, townhomes are absolutely worth your consideration—they offer a great mix of advantages found in both single-family homes and condos that can’t be gotten together otherwise. From great private amenities to land ownership, here are some of the best reasons to purchase a townhome as your next property.

What is a Townhouse?

Townhouses are two- or three-story homes that share at least one wall with a neighbor’s unit. They share some similarities with condos in that they tend to be built as a space-saving option in denser cities. While condos and townhomes each have their advantages, there are some differences.

People in condos own everything in the air space inside their unit, but technically nothing else. They have access to shared areas in the building, such as the lobby, the hallways between units, and amenities that their condo association may provide.

Townhouse owners may have a front and back yard that they own, along with the property that their home sits on. Townhomes used to be exclusively built in urban areas but are now found in the suburbs as well.

Townhouse Communities Often Offer Private Amenities

One thing that makes it advantageous to live in a townhouse community is that it may provide private, exclusive amenities that are only accessible to residents. There is often a central clubhouse or another type of facility with a community staffer on hand to offer assistance or concierge services. Sometimes, townhome communities are gated and provide extra security for residents.

Some of the most common amenities found might include a fitness center and a pool. A swimming pool is an excellent example of a perk that homeowners might not otherwise be able to afford when buying a single-family home. A homeowners association for a townhouse community might include additional perks like the maintenance of sidewalks and ongoing lawn care for residents.

Townhouses Are More Affordable Than Single-Family Homes

Townhomes Tend to Be More Affordable than Single-Family Homes

Townhouses can be more affordable than single-family homes for a couple of reasons. First, the construction cost of a townhouse is lower. Townhouses are also known as “attached homes” because they share common walls with neighbors. Single-family homes are often referred to as detached homes because they don’t share a wall with a neighbor. One less wall on each side of a townhome means lower material costs and faster construction time when building the structure.

Another reason why townhouses can cost less is that single-family homes have larger lots. A person buying a single-family home will likely have a yard that surrounds the house, and possibly some impressive landscaping. All of this translates into a higher cost for a single-family home. A townhouse buyer is purchasing less property in the form of land underneath and around the home.

Keep in mind that there are exceptions to this rule in some locations. Townhouses can become more expensive in urban areas where housing is at a premium. But, in general, buyers will be able to find a townhouse that is cheaper than a single-family home of similar size.

Townhomes Require Less Maintenance

Townhouses tend to require very little maintenance when compared to detached single-family homes. There will be a monthly homeowners association fee, which covers a lot of the required maintenance for shared common areas and the exteriors of the homes. HOA fees can cover the maintenance of pools, lawns, sidewalks, and other types of repairs and upkeep, which would be the sole responsibility of the homeowner in a single-family house.

Interested buyers should read their HOA documents carefully before purchasing a townhome. The documentation should explain how much the HOA fee is and exactly which maintenance tasks are covered.

Townhomes Let You Own Land When Condos Don’t

Owning a townhome means also owning land in addition to the home. They own the property beneath their individual townhome, and the front and back yards if the property has those. This is a key difference between a townhome owner and a condo owner. It can be an important consideration for some buyers, depending on their feelings about property ownership.

A condo owner is typically not allowed to alter the exterior of their property because they don’t own the exterior. Townhouse owners are sometimes allowed to paint the exterior of their homes in a new color. They may also be allowed to change the landscaping, such as adding a flower bed to the lawn area of their property. All of this is, of course, dependent on the rules of the homeowners association.

Townhouses Can be Advantageous for Homebuyers

There’s no right or wrong answer when choosing between a townhouse, a condo, and a single-family home. Each offers its unique type of lifestyle and advantages, depending on what the buyer is looking for, what they are willing to pay for the location of their home, and the amount of maintenance they would like to take on. Townhouse communities offer their own charm and amenities, so buyers may want to consider them when shopping for a home.

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