What to buy: townhouse vs house


If you’re looking for a new home, chances are you’ll discover just how varied the market is. There are seemingly endless different types of properties. Of course, it helps to divide them into three main categories: single-family homes, townhomes, and condos.

You narrowed it down to a house of some variety? Next, let’s look at the differences between townhouses and regular homes.

What you need to know about houses

Almost every time someone talks about a house, they are referring to a single family home. It concerns a individual property that sits on its own land. If you own the house, you also own the land, which can be used as a yard, vegetable gardenor even for build an ADUamong many other things.

Single-family homes come into play many styles and sizes, from luxurious mansions to humble bungalows. Typically, they are larger than townhouses, although this is not always the case. Also, unlike condos and townhouses, there are no party walls. In general, you won’t find shared productsNeither does a swimming pool, although some gated communities are exceptions to this rule.

The extra space offered by a house also usually results in a higher price, plus the following additional charges. Since you own the land, you will have to spend money to maintain it and make exterior repairs from time to time.

Advantages of a single family home

  • More space: In addition to the indoor footprint typically being larger than a townhouse, you will also have access to any outdoor space included in your plot. This allows much more freedom to get creative with space, building anything from a storage shed to a workshop or home office.
  • Generally more freedom on aesthetics: When you own a house and the land it sits on, you are often free to do whatever you want. You can create your dream garden or change the exterior appearance of your home much easier than a townhouse. However, be sure to check the HOA rules, if any.
  • More privacy: Without shared walls and with your own private courtyard, single-family homes offer more privacy than a townhouse.

Disadvantages of a single family home

  • More expensive: Generally, a house is more expensive than a townhouse of comparable size and style.
  • More responsibility: You will have to take care of all the exterior maintenance, from painting your walls to gardening work. This can add costs and take time.
  • Less likely to have access to shared amenities: If you want a swimming pool or a place to socialize with your neighbors, you will usually have to build it yourself on your land. This is not always the case, however. For example, many gated communities offer excellent amenities to be shared among the owners of the development’s single-family homes.

What to know about townhouses

Townhouses offer best compromise for those who have trouble deciding between a condo and a house. They are usually larger than a condo, although smaller than a house, and many even have small yards. Like a condo, they will share at least one, but usually two, exterior walls with another unit.

Townhouses are also more likely to be in a HOA, which means that the owner has less responsibility when it comes to exterior maintenance. On the other hand, they also have less autonomy than the owner of a single-family home, with less choice over aesthetics. However, not all townhouses are part of an HOA, so be sure to check.

In terms of what to expect from a townhouse, they also come into different styles and sizes. Traditionally, you will find rows of townhouses, all connected together. These tend to be tall and narrow, with multiple floors. Unlike a condo, when you own a townhouse, you also own the land it sits on.

Advantages of a townhouse

  • Generally more affordable: Compared to single-family homes, townhouses are generally less expensive.
  • Less responsibility: When it comes to exterior maintenance and shared amenities, most townhouse owners are not directly responsible. Instead, the HOA takes care of everything. That said, not all townhouses belong to an HOA, so be sure to check it out.

Disadvantages of a townhouse

  • Less privacy: With shared walls and less outdoor space, townhouses are not as private as single-family homes.
  • HOA fees: Any townhouse that is part of an HOA has a monthly or annual fee.
  • Less space: Townhouses tend to be smaller than single family homes.
  • Less control over aesthetics: If your townhouse is part of an HOA, you will have less autonomy than a single-family homeowner.

Looking for homes for sale in popular neighborhoods in Canada and the United States? Check out the links below:

Homes for sale in Toronto
Homes for sale in Edmonton
Homes for sale in Brampton
Homes for sale in Halifax
Homes for sale in Calgary
Homes for sale in Winnipeg
Homes for sale in Hamilton
Houses for sale in London
Homes for sale in Victoria
Homes for sale in Surrey

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