urchasing a home can be more challenging than it sounds. You could become lost in a sea of possibilities as many options are on the market. On top of that, the real estate market is piping hot, and house prices are skyrocketing.
Buying a home may be difficult when your needs and requirements are at odds with your limited financial resources. Fully detached homes provide excellent privacy, space, and freedom but are expensive. Apartments are the cheapest alternative but lack privacy, space, and freedom.
Fortunately, there are townhouses that offer a mix of both possibilities. They're inexpensive, roomy, self-sufficient, and provide a sense of privacy. Maybe this explains why townhouses are the second most popular homes to purchase, after detached single-family homes.
If you want to purchase a townhome, here is everything you need to know.
What Is A Townhouse?
A townhouse is a multi-storeyed house attached to one or two walls with other houses. They each have their own entrance and are privately owned. Even though they seem like a condominium complex, the land and homes are privately owned by their residents, who have total authority over the house's exterior, interior design, and layout.
However, it depends on whether the townhouse is part of a Home Owners Association (HOA). If a townhouse is a part of the HOA, then it can be similar to owning a condo, as the HOA may impose control over the exterior of their house and may charge monthly fees.
How Does A Townhouse Differ From Other Types Of Homes?
Townhouses differ from other houses based on their structure, ownership, space, and community amenities. The difference can be analyzed in the following table:
Pros Of Buying A Townhouse
A townhouse is the best buy for first home buyers as they are affordable compared to other houses. Townhouses are smaller and have limited space, making them more attainable for budget-minded people. On top of that, the maintenance and HOA fees are comparatively lower, making it a more affordable option.
If you don't like shared spaces, then a townhouse is best for you. Hallways, elevators, and lobby areas are common communal areas in apartment buildings. But, in a townhouse, you have the whole place to yourself. As a result, you'll have a greater degree of privacy. As opposed to living in an apartment with people on all sides, above and below you, the only thing you share is the walls.
Best For Single-Family
A townhouse is multi-story and gives more room for the single-family so that you may have that extra space whenever your visitor visits you.
In condos and apartments, you only can change your interiors as per your will. Some apartments also possess the restriction of changing the interiors as well. But, in a townhouse, you have the complete freedom to do whatever you want with your exteriors and interiors.
A sense of safety is one of the perks of living in a townhouse. Since there is no shared space, your neighbors would know if someone is trespassing on your property. However, burglars are likelier to break into flats and other homes since people are less likely to notice.
Townhouses are usually located in the core areas with amenities such as shopping malls, parks, roads, hospitals, etc. So, if you hate commutes, then a townhouse can be an excellent option for you.
Cons Of Buying A Townhouse
Your neighbors may make or break your experience of living in a townhouse. Having to share the walls with your neighbors may be a bothersome experience. This includes when they have fights, drill into walls, play loud music, or have late-night parties. A townhouse might not fit you if you are a light sleeper or hate noises.
Compared to other houses, the townhouse occupies a smaller plot of ground and is more compact. There is no outside area which may feel a bit crowded. Most townhouses do not have garages or basements. The townhouse may feel congested if you have a large family.
Since townhouses are built vertically, several stairs may lead to the upper floors. This may be a problem, especially for the elderly. Also, moving the furniture in and out is a hassle. Installing escalators or lifts is an option, but it is too expensive.
Townhouses don't rise in value as rapidly as other types of residences. It's tough to rent these homes since they're constructed on such tiny lots. Thus, townhouses are more suited to residents than to investors.
You must pay the HOA fees if the townhouse is under the homeowner's association. HOA is responsible for exterior maintenance and communal services such as parks, playgrounds, and parking lots. Thus, the townhouse owners must pay HOA fees ranging from $100 to $700 per month.
How To Decide If A Townhouse Is Right For You?
Understanding one's needs and budget is crucial before deciding which house to purchase. The decision boils down to cost, convenience, and lifestyle.
A townhouse may be suitable for you if:
- You are a first home buyer and want to buy a house at an affordable price.
- You are living solo or living with a small family.
- You're always on the go and may not always be in your home.
- You want a shorter commute and enjoy the amenities.
- You want to downsize.
- You want to decorate your home according to your preferences.
- You want to live in a core urban area.
A townhouse may not be suitable for you if:
- You love living in a peaceful environment.
- A nosy neighbor isn't something you like.
- Complete privacy is important to you.
- You have a big family.
- You want to invest in the home.
- You have older people in your family.
Things To Consider Before Buying A Townhouse
It is essential to know the construction materials used before making a purchase. Since you share the walls with your neighbors, you must know how the walls are constructed. The significant risk with the townhouse is the fire outbreak. Since all the houses are attached, the neighboring houses will also catch fire if fire breaks in one house. Thus, contractors should build firewalls to prevent such incidents from happening. Also, you need to know if soundproofing or any insulating material is present to reduce sound transmission. You do not want to hear everything your neighbors do, right?
Contracts And Loans
While the single-part contract is the most popular for a new townhouse property, the popularity of split contracts is also rising. In this contract, the purchase of land is on one contract, and the construction of the property is in another. The benefit of this contract for the purchaser is that you only need to pay stamp duty on land. But, as good as it seems, these contracts are more complex. Thus, you need to hire a good mortgage broker familiar with these types of contracts before proceeding.
Homeowners Association (HOA)
A homeowners association can change the tempo of a neighborhood. If the townhouse has communal areas, like a park, pool, playground, or parking lot, HOA regulates and controls these. They impose several restrictions, and you need to pay HOA fees which might be a little heavy on your pocket. If these restrictions chafe you, you might want to consider other townhomes without HOA. HOA is excellent if you need communal services but can be a burden if you don't.
While the townhouse's price may seem to be reasonable, you should also be aware of any additional costs that may be tacked on. If your townhouse is part of a Home Owners Association, you'll have to pay an HOA fee and other maintenance costs. Before buying it, you should know what's included in your townhome and factor in these extra costs.
Strata Vs. Freehold Title
The townhouse could be under strata, community, or freehold title. Strata title is similar to the ownership in apartments where you own your house as a lot. Strata title property may come up with the strata fees, contributing to maintaining the buildings and communal facilities such as pools, playgrounds, etc.
However, if your townhouse is under the freehold title, you have complete control over your house, and there are no shared amenities. Thus, you must know which title your potential purchase falls under before making the purchase.
In some townhouses, the HOA takes care of a portion of insurance. If there is no HOA, the insurance is solely upon you. However, knowing what the policies cover and what you should insure is essential. You must ensure that your belongings and your house are well protected in case something awful happens.
The affordability of a townhouse makes it an excellent choice for first-time homebuyers and millennials. It has the advantages of a home and an apartment in one package. It's ideal for single-family purchasers who want more solitude than an apartment but don't want to take on all the obligations of owning a home. So, a townhouse can be the best option if you want to enjoy the perks of having your home in a core area with a little compromise to your space and privacy.