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Old 01-20-2019, 08:50 AM
 
37 posts, read 27,746 times
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We'd like to hear the upside and downside, the horror stories and the glory stories, the best and worst of row house living, more upmarket than downmarket, and with having a dog or two.
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Old 01-20-2019, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
699 posts, read 285,512 times
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I personally have really enjoyed my rowhome life in West Philly. I have a small, shared backyard that is 1/2 patio, 1/2 dirt lot. I adopted a dog this past summer and I am really gratful for the yard space. I do a bit of gardening, which is not always possible for city dwellers. I am lucky because my neighbor whom I share my backyard with is a very relaxed and considerate person. There is no full fence that divides the yard, but we put up some soft barriers just to demarcate how the yard is split. If you have a similar shared yard situation, it would be a good idea to try to meet your neighbors beforehand if possible.

To me, rowhome life feels like a hybrid of single-family detached house living and apartment living. You typically have three levels all to yourself, with washer-dryer in unit, a small yard, etc. Of course, some of the bigger rowhomes, such as those in Center City, are broken into smaller units and basically replicate apartment life. In a single-family rowhome, like apartment living, you are in close quarters with others. The walls that separate my home from my neighbors are incredibly thick, and noise is never an issue. Not sure how true this is across the board.

Single-family rowhome life is a great compromise for urban living with a bit more privacy and cohesion of living amenities than an apartment has to offer. It definitely wouldn't be for everyone, but it suits me well.
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Old 01-20-2019, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia Pa
669 posts, read 453,089 times
Reputation: 659
Quote:
Originally Posted by RUGGLES99 View Post
We'd like to hear the upside and downside, the horror stories and the glory stories, the best and worst of row house living, more upmarket than downmarket, and with having a dog or two.
UPSIDE:
- True home: At the end of the day, you get a full multi-story home in any neighborhood you want in the city. In most other urban areas, if you'd like to be in the equivalent of Center City, your options would be condos or multi-million dollar stand-alone mansions.
- No HOA fees: Per above point, avoiding HOA fees is a HUGE advantage of Philly row home living. Usually hundreds of thousands of dollars of savings over the course of a 30 year mortgage.
- Good bones: As most row homes in this city date back to at least the 1920s if not older, I've found the construction to be very solid and done with quality materials. In my experience this is seldom the case with new construction.
- Unique details: Again, due to the age of many of the row homes in Philly, you find one-of-a kind attributes (i.e. original wide-plank hardwood floors, telephone nooks, etc...) that really can't be found in many places in the country and are not replicated in modern builds
- Heating and cooling: Because you are connected on two sides, you'll use less AC and heat. Outside of the extreme cold snaps, I seldom even have to turn my heat on at all
- "Enough" privacy with "enough" urbanity: Because you have a street full of neighbors that all live directly on the street, you can be involved in block parties, neighborhood gardens, random conversations, other events as you prefer; but you also have the option of staying inside and getting food delivered and literally interacting with no one all day. Best of both worlds in my opinion.
- Maintenance and repair: Due to the style of row homes, you really only have a few things to worry about - roof that is cheap to replace compared to stand-alone houses or bigger places, small backyard that is usually concrete, water heater and AC, a handful of windows, one exterior door, and interior hardware components. You could literally gut a smaller rowhome (1000 sq. ft. or less) and rebuild for what it would cost to replace a slanted slate roof and do landscaping on a bigger stand-alone place in the burbs.

DOWNSIDE:
- Shared walls: Depending on your level of house insulation and your neighbors' habits (bedtime, music preference, entertaining style, etc...), you might be dealing with noise concerns that can, quite frankly, seriously impact your quality of life
- No parking: Unlike condos and new construction that usually have garage parking, or at least a dedicated spot or two, Philly row homes seldom include parking
- Older homes: Per the above, you're most likely getting a house that was built in the 1920s or before. This means you have an older layout/footprint (small closets, closed off rooms, small kitchens, one bath). Obviously this can be, and frequently is, changed with additions and rehabs over the decades, but you're still dealing with a house that was originally built in a certain manner/style.
- Older homes: In addition to layout, you have antiquated components (knob and tube, other electric and plumbing concerns, foundation issues).
- Small footprint: If you're looking for space and elbow room from your neighbors, a row home is not your move

In summary, my experiences have varied widely. I've had one or two nightmare experiences - mainly due to inconsiderate neighbors and poor or no wall insulation. I've also had several near perfect living situations in my opinion. However, regardless of how you feel about row homes, if you want to live in Philly, you'll be hard pressed to do a house search without at least considering them.
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Old 01-20-2019, 06:58 PM
 
1,482 posts, read 675,370 times
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i live in a rowhome...i can hear my neighbors sneeze and cough. if your rowhome has a shared alleyway in the back, prepare to have neighboring kids use it as their own personal park/batting cage/basketball court,soccer field - dont get a nice car if you dont have a garage.
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Old 01-21-2019, 08:12 AM
 
Location: North by Northwest
7,473 posts, read 10,235,627 times
Reputation: 4755
What does being a Millennial have to do with it?
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Old 01-21-2019, 08:58 AM
 
37 posts, read 27,746 times
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Different lifestyle and expectations than non-millennial. No real life experience. you def must be one.
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Old 01-21-2019, 09:41 AM
 
Location: New York City
6,227 posts, read 5,562,899 times
Reputation: 3325
Quote:
Originally Posted by RUGGLES99 View Post
Different lifestyle and expectations than non-millennial. No real life experience. you def must be one.
Really? A rather ignorant statement from a wise old person.
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Old 01-21-2019, 01:31 PM
 
249 posts, read 175,967 times
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Well my husband and myself live in a row home with a dog but apparently my input would mean nothing since I was born in 1984.
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Old 01-21-2019, 02:46 PM
 
1,114 posts, read 1,966,926 times
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I lived in a rowhome in center city, before we had kids, in Wash West. It was fantastic. Center City has a lot of small side streets off the main streets that are incredibly quiet, and we lived on one of those. We rarely heard any noise at all, including from our neighbors. We knew most of the people around us, and even had block parties from time to time.

We had a dog, and could walk her to a couple of different dog parks (one on Lombard, one in Fitler Square), as well as Washington Square Park. We had a car (and a gated off-street parking spot), but rarely used it. For groceries, we'd walk to Whole Foods and Acme on South St., the Italian Market, and the Reading Terminal. You certainly do sacrifice space in order to live in the city, but I never felt like I needed a lot of space until I had children. We did have a patio in the back, with a brick wall around it so it was private.

Living in a Philly row home was great for us at the time. Of course, living that close to other people, there is a bit of luck involved with who your neighbors turn out to be. But, if you live next to other people that own their homes, your odds are probably better than living in a rental market.
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Old 01-21-2019, 03:48 PM
 
Location: North by Northwest
7,473 posts, read 10,235,627 times
Reputation: 4755
Quote:
Originally Posted by RUGGLES99 View Post
Different lifestyle and expectations than non-millennial. No real life experience. you def must be one.
You’re absolutely right! When I lived in a row house, barking dogs lived on both sides of me and my wife, but because we’re Millennials, we only heard avocado toast.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to kill the napkin industry by setting the dinner table with paper towels.
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