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6 Reasons Why You Should Never Buy A Townhouse

Reviewed by: David Naimey

Approved by: Chad Turner

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Townhouses offer more space than condos but less than single-family houses.
  • Condos provide shared amenities and social gatherings.
  • Townhouses lack the open floor plan and personalized yard.
  • Homeowners association fees for townhouses may be lower but can result in more personal responsibility.
  • Homeowners association guidelines may pressure townhouse owners to address cosmetic issues promptly.
  • Shared walls in townhouses can lead to problems like infestations and noise complaints.

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During the home buying process, you have to decide whether or not what is best for your family in the short and long term. And with all of the options available between buying a single family home, condos and townhouses, this can be very fairly difficult to do. The fabled townhouse is a choice that has been rising in popularity for the past couple years. But is it right for you?

Townhouse Is A Jack of All Trades, But Master of None

A townhouse is somewhat of a blend between a condo and a single family house. While townhouse owners can be compared to both condo owners and homeowners, there are differences between the living spaces of the three. A townhouse has more space and privacy, but not quite as much as a single family house. And on the other side of the coin, a townhouse in urban areas also has more social engagement and sense of community, but not as much as a condo.

Condos Offer More Social Benefits

Condos and townhouses both have something in common: shared walls. In both living spaces, you can have neighbors on both sides of you. However, condos offer a bit more than just neighbors being close by: common areas and amenities. Condos usually have clubhouses, outside grills near pools, work out gyms, racquetball courts, tennis courts, and more. Townhouses can have these too, but are less likely to without having a very high homeowners association or HOA fees. Condos also arrange quite a few social gatherings throughout the year so that condo owners can meet and greet others in the same community. Additionally, condo owners have a different sense of community because they have shared halls and lounge areas. It’s easier to make friends and develop relationships with condo owners who share a floor with you than it is for townhouses.

Single Family Homes Offer More Space

One of the reasons most people get a townhouse over a condo is the amount of space. You can have quite the amount of square footage packed into a narrow home with multiple floors. However, you do lose out on the ability of living in a single family home that by default has more open floor plan possibilities. You also lose out on being able to really personalize your front and back yard. Townhouses do have small yards for each individual home. However, these yards do not allow for a gardening enthusiast to personalize the exterior of their home through lush greenery. If you felt cramped in an apartment setting, the condo life and townhouse life may both not satisfy your craving for more room. In this case, it may be more worthwhile to just buy a house.

Townhouses with Homeowners Association Fees Can Be Expensive

As mentioned before, Townhouses are very similar to condos in many ways. The homeowners association fee is one of the ways in which condos and townhouses are similar. However, the amount that the homeowner’s association fee for a townhouse is usually lower than that of a condo due to the amount of responsibility. The only problem with that is now, as a townhouse owner, you may be responsible for more repairs out of your own pocket. It’s very important that you check all of the rules and guidelines for your homeowners association. Some exterior repairs or replacements that the homeowners association would normally cover for condos could actually be your responsibility if you own a townhouse. And this means you can spend more money than if you were to have a single family home or a condo. You’d spend more than a single family home because costly repairs wouldn’t be accompanied by a monthly homeowners association fee. And on the flip side, those same exterior repairs would have been covered by the condo’s homeowners association. The small chance that this situation happens means you may have to pull thousands of dollars out of your pocket suddenly.

Neighbors May Request That You Make Cosmetic Repairs

If you run into a situation where you have peeling paint or other cosmetic repairs, you may receive pressure from the homeowner’s association to fix the issues as soon as possible. Your neighbors may have problems with any cosmetic flaws that your home has since it’s their home too. This can lead to them feeling the need to file a complaint to the homeowners association. If the repairs are outside of the list of items that the homeowners association takes care of, you are on the hook for paying for them. And in some homeowners association guidelines, they can give you thirty days to fix those cosmetic issues. This is another situation where costly repairs can come out of seemingly nowhere for you, costing you money.

Sharing Walls Can Lead to Infestation Issues And Noise Complaints

Unfortunately, one of the biggest negatives about condo and townhouse living is you are at the mercy of your neighbors. While you have a bit more privacy in a townhouse compared to a condo, infestations and extremely loud neighbors can still be very problematic. Neighbors that are unclean can cause an insect or rodent infestation that can cost you money without any real resolution. If you pay for pest control out of your own pocket, you stand the risk of not stopping the problem at its source. In this situation, you have unfortunately added another cost to ownership that you can do nothing about unless you move or find out that it’s your neighbor causing the infestation. If you have noisy neighbors, this situation can be remedied much easier depending on the homeowners association guidelines. However, this can still lead to quite a few sleepless nights until your complaint has reached your neighbor’s attention. And depending on how complaints work, you may have to file several of them before the problem is solved While Townhouses are very solid choices for first time home buyers and repeat home buyers, there are a few problems that can be make them financial burdens. And because townhouses are a mix of both condo and single family home living, they do not offer the full experience of owning either one.
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