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Old 01-17-2013, 08:55 AM
 
22 posts, read 129,621 times
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Need advise. Pros Cons Townhouse vs Single family first home
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:01 AM
 
861 posts, read 2,552,680 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JennyBeans View Post
Need advise. Pros Cons Townhouse vs Single family first home
Depends on a lot of factors and what you yourself value as a pro or a con....
For example a 'pro' for me in a town home is not having to worry about outside maintenance, but a lot of others may see that as a con.

Another example is the association fee typically associated with a townhome. Again others might see it as a con, but I see it as a pro as my property taxes are substantially lower than they would be in a single family home.

All subjective.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:11 AM
 
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Well pro for me on single family is private yard and parking mostly. But that might not be a con for others, Im kind of curious to others experiences with that.
I also like that assoc fees can = lower property taxes.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:14 AM
 
861 posts, read 2,552,680 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JennyBeans View Post
Well pro for me on single family is private yard and parking mostly. But that might not be a con for others, Im kind of curious to others experiences with that.
I also like that assoc fees can = lower property taxes.
I'd try not to generalize and just go see as many different types of places as you can in person.
For example, in our town home, no one is behind us and we are up against woods, so we have a semi-private back yard.... it's not fenced in or anything, but we can have people over to BBQ.
You just never know until you go see in person.... good luck!
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:16 AM
 
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It's impossible to list them objectively without looking at the actual places you are considering. In general...

Townhomes will almost always mean a HOA and dealing with regulations. In some cases, that HOA will also require fees to pay for maintenance of common areas and buildings. Sometimes these fees are rather high, but also cover things like all external maintenance of the houses, including roofs and siding, lawn mowing, landscaping, snow removal, etc.

Townhomes will almost always mean you will share at least one wall with a neighbor. How annoying this is all comes down to how well the place is built and your neighbors.

Townhomes are generally built in higher density. So, you may have 5 townhomes in the same land footprint that would be occupied by a traditional single family home. This means, you have more people around you. How annoying that is, is again, all based on your neighbors.

Outside of that, there really is generally no difference, though one could make a case that townhomes are less desirable in terms of resale then single family homes, but again that is based on the actual unit you are looking at, what is typical for the area, size of the townhome, etc.

I live in a townhome. My place is a 2,200 sq.ft. (3BR, 2.5BA) end unit and larger then a good portion of the single family homes in my town. I have my own yard and approximately a 1/4 acre of property. I have my own driveway and garage. I share one wall with my neighbor, but the places are built very well and I can literally "scream" at the wall and they can't hear me (good thing because I have 3 kids and they are a retired couple). Most of the townhomes in my community are occupied by families and it's a very quiet place to live. I am responsible for all maintenance of my property. We have a HOA but I only pay a small annual fee to cover maintenance of common areas and we have very relaxed and sensible regulations. In my town, every property, even the single family homes are in this same HOA, so no real difference there. My townhome is basically no different from owning a single family home in my town in any regard other then that shared wall. I could have easily bought a single family home in town, but we liked this place the best.

I only posted the above to demonstrate the wide variability in this decision. If you were comparing my townhome to a single family home in my town, the pro and con list basically wouldn't exist other then evaluating the individual property features. However, another situation could lead to a long list of pros and cons running from high HOA fees to poorly built walls and loud neighbors.
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:08 AM
 
Location: Northeast
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We are in the process of buying a house (under attorney review). Hopefully it will go fine.

Though both of us (me and my "life-partner") loves a single-family home with small yard; where we can put swings; and a small gazebo; and a small vegetable garden; We opted for townhouse for more "practical reasons". The reasons why we chose it was;

1. Budget : We had a budget constraint; not more than 250K. We both didn't want to pay more than $1600 as mortgage; and compromise on vacations or other such "entertainments". For that budget it is hard to find a single family house ; which is not a "fixer-upper" in the edison/metuchen area. (school district was a big priority)

2. Not DIY people: We both are not very "handy"; not that we are hesitant to get our hands "dirty"; we are quite clueless on most of the things. So we want to take "baby steps"; which the townhouse provides; as the HOA takes care of certain major repairs; smaller repairs we consider as "learning curve"

3. Not a lot of friends : We are in this place for under three years and our social circle is small. Townhouse gives more opportunity to meet more people; particularly as we have one year old and 4 year old; it is easy for us to meet kids of same age-group.

4. Other small reasons like I joined the college so not much for yard maintenance, a travelling husband et al.

We plan to buy a single family maybe in next 4- 5 years when the second LO is ready for public schools.

-Best wishes for your house hunt
-LA
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:38 PM
 
Location: Westwood, NJ
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There are pros and cons to both.

Single family homes seemed to have taken less of hit vs townhomes during the market downturn.

With a townhouse, you are sharing 1 or 2 walls with your attached neighbors, so noise could be a factor.

You have to abide by the association's rules. My aunt lived in a complex where a guy walked around checking for burnt out porch lights and he would put a notice on your door if it was and you could get fined.

You have to pay an HOA fee for a townhouse, but you may also get some community amenities like a pool, clubhouse, exercise room, etc

Don't have to worry about cutting your grass with most townhouse complexes.

Townhouses could have little or no backyard.

You aren't personally responsible for the exterior (roof, siding, windows, deck). However, if these items need replacing as a whole throughout the complex, you could be hit with an additional monthly assessment if there isn't enough money in the HOA account to fund those improvements.
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:32 AM
 
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I had a single family that I had to sell due to divorce. I am now renting a townhouse and while it IS nice to not have to worry about exterior maintenance, we have access to a very nice in-ground pool with tennis and basketball courts, a running track, school bus pickup and drop off basically right outside our front door and very nice neighbors ( all except one) I personally cannot wait to have my own land with my own space and my own privacy.

There is a strip of common area between my row of buildings and the one behind me that the teenagers especially use to get from one side of the complex to the other. There is no paved path or walkway, its just more convenient than going around so at any time of day or night there are people wandering by my rear windows and patio. Not the end of the world but I NEVER leave my shades and curtains open now where they used to stay open when I had the house.

I regrettably do not have a driveway or garage any longer (Used to have almost a full blown mechanics/woodworking shop in my old garage) so there are no more "projects" but im starting to finally come to terms with that. If I had an end unit like NJGOAT I might feel differently but I doubt when it is time to buy again for me, that it will ever be anything but a single family detached house.
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:42 AM
 
605 posts, read 1,992,175 times
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I loved the ease of townhome living. We didn't worry about anything on the outside, lawn, snow removal, etc. You can just lockup and go without worrying. I also liked the community feel, the clubhouse, gated community, etc.

What I hated was: limited parking, owners using guests spots and leaving their driveways and garages empty, dog poop everywhere (and we lived in a luxury development), and the never ending noise of so many people living together. We could hear our neighbor's son stomp around all day and all night, side neighbors, nobody above or below. We were relieved to sell and move to a single family.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Elsewhere
70,918 posts, read 66,635,007 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeatherLynn822 View Post
Depends on a lot of factors and what you yourself value as a pro or a con....
For example a 'pro' for me in a town home is not having to worry about outside maintenance, but a lot of others may see that as a con.

Another example is the association fee typically associated with a townhome. Again others might see it as a con, but I see it as a pro as my property taxes are substantially lower than they would be in a single family home.

All subjective.
^^^ Same here. At this stage in my life, I don't want to shovel snow and cut grass. I used to rent a s.f. house when my daughter was growing up, and I enjoyed gardening. As far as the grass-cutting went, I had a deal with the neighbor that he would cut my lawn in exchange for me letting him store stuff in my garage. But when my daughter graduated from high school and I was able to move to a part of Jersey where I could afford to buy a condo, the commute was longer and I was living alone and I didn't want to look forward to shoveling and mowing as I got older.

As you said, it depends upon each person's situation, plus situations can change.

And I have my little fenced-in patio area with enough space for a garden, so I still get to do that.

It's very quiet where I live. I have a one-story place, but I have an attic--no one is over or under me. The only noise I hear from an adjoining unit is when someone in the two-story unit next to my living room goes up or down their staircase--the stairs are on the other side of my LR wall. Doesn't bother me, but I'm not a princess about noise, either. Grew up in a 7-sibling family.
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