Which One Best Suits You?
Single-family house, Townhouse, or Condo
Interested in purchasing a new home? Do you know what type of home best suits you and your lifestyle? Below is a quick pros and cons guide of each property type. Factors such as location, privacy, lifestyle considerations and more are compared to give you an idea of which could best suit your needs.
When thinking about homeownership or purchasing a home, the first thing that likely comes to mind is a Single-family house. One of the largest advantages of owning a single-family house is that you have total control over the property. You do not need the consent of others to make any sort of changes or remodel. That is of course assuming you do not have an HOA or that you respect the rules of an HOA if you purchase a house with one. Briefly, the pros and cons of a single-family home compared to a Condo or Townhouse are laid out below:
- Highest amount of privacy
- Most available space
- More outdoor space
- Greater ability and freedom to customize
- Most convenient for pets and pet owners
- Higher likelihood of garage availability and storage space
- Home maintenance and repairs may potentially be unpredictable and costly
- Yard work and outdoor maintenance costs
- Higher initial purchase cost
- Potential HOA fees
- Likely to have fewer amenities
Townhouses tend to be the middle ground between a house and a condo. The owner of a townhouse may also own the land on which the townhouse sits, unless it is part of a condominium or homeowner’s association (HOA). They are generally smaller than a single-family home and are attached on one side or another by a common wall to another unit. They usually have exterior access and a small yard area that may be used by the unit’s residents or the entire community, depending on the situation.
- More affordable purchase cost
- Plenty of space for the amount invested
- Yard work and outdoor maintenance is often handled by HOA
- Most likely to have an attached garage
- Likely to come with HOA fees
- Provides less privacy with shared walls
- Includes costs of homeownership, such as maintenance and repair fees
If you are looking for more of a hands-off, low-maintenance type of living especially in a more urban setting – then a Condo may be just what you are looking for. Condos are units within a condominium complex.
- More readily available in prime downtown locations
- Maintenance and repairs often covered
- No yard work or outdoor maintenance needed
- Convenient amenities, such as a pool, gym and entertainment areas are generally provided
- Most affordable in comparable locations
- Sense of community
- Higher HOA fees
- More HOA rules and restrictions (less freedoms)
- Least amount of privacy due to shared walls
- Lack of ownership of outdoor space
- Possibility of high parking costs
- May require an extensive application process
House vs. Townhouse
A single-family home and a townhouse may have a lot in common, but also have some very important differences that should be taken into account when choosing between the two. Single-family homes are detached houses that are built on their own lots. Traditionally, a detached home offers more privacy than a townhouse and may have fewer restrictions, depending on its location.
Space: When it comes to the amount of space offered, you can generally find more space within a single-family home in comparison to a townhouse. You may also find a wider variety in floorpans and layouts with single-family homes than in townhomes.
Privacy: When it comes to privacy, nothing really beats the single-family home. Since they are detached structures, they will hold the upper edge since they do not share any walls with neighbors and tend to have more space between homes. Townhouses generally share a wall with at least one neighbor but you have way more privacy than lets say apartment living. You wont have anyone above or below you which is always a plus.
Location: Single-family homes generally tend to be found outside of urban areas. If living closer to the city or within the downtown area is important to you than a townhouse may be just what you are looking for. You may still find a townhouse in a more suburban area by other single family homes but they tend to be more commonly found closer to a more metropolitan atmosphere.
Maintenance: When it comes to home maintenance, owing a single-family home and a townhouse are very similar. Both homes require the owner to be responsible for the houses upkeep, repairs, and associated costs. The difference is that townhouses have very little yard upkeep and are generally covered but the HOA that is paid for within your monthly dues.
Lifestyle: Single family houses and townhouses may accommodate similar lifestyles. However, the single-family home with the amount of space offered and the location choices tend to make them more appealing to families. The location of townhouses in more urban areas in addition to their lack of required outdoor maintenance generally makes them more appealing to young professionals wanting to live closer to the downtown area or individuals that are looking to downsize and would rather not deal with exterior maintenance.
House vs. Condo
These two options vary the most from one another. A single-family house provides the most space, privacy, and overall freedom as well as the highest level of responsibility and maintenance. Homeowners purchase the house and the land it sits on, whereas condo ownership is limited to the living space inside the condo unit and only a portion of the common areas. Condos tend to offer housing in prime urban areas and provide of more hands-off approach to homeownership that may appeal to a wide number of individuals.
Space: Single-family houses typically provide more space than condos. Not only do houses offer more space for indoor living but they also offer more of an outdoor living space that you wouldn’t be able to get with a Condo.
Privacy: Since Condos tend to share walls with multiple neighbors, single-family detached homes will obviously offer more privacy. Condos often share walls on multiple sides and may share both the ceiling and floor with additional units similar to apartment style living. This setup may be too close for comfort for some but others may like having that closer community of individuals to interact with on a daily basis. On that note, condo communities usually have communal living spaces where they host activities for the owners to interact socially.
Location: Single-family houses can be found located just outside urban areas, in the the suburbs, or rural areas whereas Condos tend to be found in the heart of urban areas. Condo’s tend to be perfect for individuals who prefer to be either near their work or the downtown area. They may also enjoy the nightlife or utilize public transportation.
Maintenance: With a single-family home you will have the maximum amount of responsibility when it comes to fixing or maintaining your property. You are responsible for everything from the interior to the exterior, the windows, the roof, the yard maintenance and everything in between. In contrast, condo owners do not have yard maintenance or exterior maintenance such as painting or roof work. Of course this comes as a cost in your HOA fees, but for many this is worth it to not have to invest their own time into correcting those issues.
Lifestyle: Houses tend to accommodate families or individuals with additional hobbies that require the excess space or distance. Condos tend to accommodate individuals who crave a more flexible lifestyle that requires little to no maintenance. Condo owners also tend to be attracted to prime locations that keep their upkeep to a minimum and be able to easily go out and enjoy the close proximity of their favorite places.
Condo vs. Townhouse
Condos and townhouses tend to provide similar benefits and are more alike the the previous comparisons. They both offer a more hands-off approach to home ownership than traditional single-family residences, and they’re more likely to be available in similar areas such as the downtown area. There are differences to consider even with two choices that may seem so similar.
Space:Townhouses will generally offer more space than that of a Condo. They may even offer more of an outdoor living space if that is an important factor. Condos generally offer a smaller outdoor living space if any.
Privacy: Townhouses will provide more privacy since they tend to only share a wall with one neighbor opposed to potentially being surrounded on all sides. Different condos will offer different levels of privacy where some resemble townhouse setups and others resemble apartment style living.
Location: If you are looking to move into the heart of the downtown area then a Condo will be more readily available at a more affordable price point. There may be some options of townhouses in or near the area but they will be a lot a more limited and much pricier in comparison. If you don’t mind moving more towards a suburban area than a townhouse will be more readily available and at a more affordable price point than one in the downtown area.
Maintenance: When it comes to lowest maintenance, condos are the way to go. Generally, the only maintenance that a condo owner is responsible for is anything that falls within the four main walls of your residence. Any maintenance will be laid out by your HOA and some may even have additional perks such as replacing lightbulbs for you. The downside is that some of these HOA fees can be expensive and may increase with additional maintenance issues regarding the building. Townhouse maintenance depends on if your community has an HOA or not. If the townhouse does have an HOA than you will usually be paying into having outdoor maintenance and not have to keep up with that yourself.
Lifestyle: Townhouses are very versatile and can be a great fit for an array of lifestyles. They can be a more affordable option for families than that of a traditional house or even a great option for individuals that are looking to downsize their space and be responsible for less maintenance around the house. These options are especially great if they are looking to get closer to the city or downtown area. Condos are popular for those looking to live in a more lively, tighter community that is close to prime downtown locations. These people would also want to be responsible for the least amount of maintenance and remain flexible with their free time. Perfect for busy individuals or individuals on the go!