Buying a home is a major decision. Before you go signing any dotted lines, it's important to weigh your wants versus needs in a home to ensure you're making an informed buying decision.
One of the toughest decisions is determining what type of home is best for you. Whether you're in the market for an affordable first home, looking for an upgrade, or even looking for an investment property - townhomes, and single-family homes are great options to consider. But which option is the right choice for you? Keep reading to learn more about the basics of each type of property, and the benefits that come with them.
Single Family Home vs Condo/Townhome: What's the Difference?
Townhouses are attached unit homes that share one or more walls, floors, or a roof. They can be larger, multi-story buildings or smaller multi-level strips with one or two floors. Often, townhomes offer shared community amenities available to all homeowners that are typically managed by a homeowners association (HOA). A townhouse is not exactly a condo but they can have similar features. Many real estate investors see the term townhouse as a subset of the term condo. In summary, a townhome is typically not a stand-alone piece of property.
Condos are generally individual units inside a larger housing building. Whereas apartments are rented, typically each unit in a condominium is owned. Condos also often have some type of shared amenities or features for condo owners.
Single-family homes are unattached homes that do not share structural features with neighbors. Detached single-family homes can vary in size, square footage, and property attached to the home.The single-family homes term can also mean an individual or stand-alone piece of property. Additionally, single-family homes may also be situated within neighborhoods that have homeowners associations (HOA).
Condos/townhomes and single-family detached homes offer distinctive advantages for homeowners. If you’re caught in the homebuying crossroads, we've got some tips to help guide your journey to 'home sweet home.'
Condo/Townhouse vs. Single Family Homes: The Benefits of Each
Benefits of a Condo/Townhouse
Thinking about purchasing a condo or townhouse for your next home or investment property? We've laid out some advantages below.
1. Potential Maintenance Included
One concern with purchasing a condo specifically, is the added expense of HOA fees. While the added fees might seem daunting, often times townhome HOA fees include maintenance of front yard landscaping as well as the exterior of the homes. This can help cut costs of maintaining or repairing your home. Additionally, if you are looking to purchase a townhouse as an investment rental property, having an HOA often means less maintenance that you and your tenant need to worry about, especially if you don’t have the time to maintain things like landscaping and exterior features. Often you can include the HOA fees into the monthly rent that you charge.
2. Community Amenities
Many condominiums and townhomes communities offer amenities and common areas for homeowners to enjoy. Many new townhouse communities offer amenities ranging from pools to tennis courts, and some communities even have dog parks for the furry members of the family to play. Plus, townhome community centers offer homeowners the chance to mix, mingle, and get to know one another. If you happen to be moving across town or relocating from out-of-state, a condo or townhouse could provide an opportunity to make friends in the area.
3. Good Option For A Starter Home
If you’re a first-time home buyer, condos and townhouses can be a good options for easing into the responsibilities that come with homeownership. Condos and townhomes typically require less external building and landscape maintenance, which is ideal for people unexperienced or unsure how much dedicated time they will have for maintaining things like landscaping.
Benefits of a Single-Family Home
Don't worry, if a condo or townhome doesn’t feel like the right choice for you, then it might be time to consider something a little more private. Single-family detached homes are great for first-time homebuyers or for those looking for a home with additional space and freedom.
If you've always dreamed about having a yard for your pets or kids to play in, single-family homes might be the right choice for you. Most often attached units don't offer sufficient yard space for homeowners. With detached homes, you have the advantage of exploring options with various property sizes.
2. Potential For Greater Privacy
A detached home means you're not directly sharing wall with your neighbors. The increased distance between homes can potentially reduce the amount of noise that travels from their home to yours and vice-versa. This type of housing option can give you greater privacy, both indoors and outdoors. If you're someone who works from home frequently, you might want to consider if noise reduction is a requirement for your work environment. And if you have kids, a fenced-in backyard for them to play can provide peace of mind.
Purchasing a detached home means you get more freedom to personalize your space. If you're the type of person who loves watching HGTV to get inspiration for kitchen upgrades or patio renovations, a single-detached home could provide you space to unleash your creativity. Additionally, if you are looking to purchase a single-family home to have as a rental property, this flexibility extends into this aspect as well. You get to make all the decisions, especially when it comes to upgrades and maintenance. You also have the flexibility to set your own rules for renters as condo and townhouse associations typically have strict rules around pets and other things, which can limit the number of tenants you can attract.
Which Home is Best for You?
The home buying process is not a homogenous journey. Depending on lifestyles, household size, and style preferences, everyone's 'perfect home' is going to be unique to their wants and needs. If you would like some help sorting your priorities before touring homes to buy, check out our Want vs. Need Checklist, then take a look at our available condos & townhomes and detached single family homes across America. And if you're curious to learn more about building with Shea, check out our building process guide.