So you are considering buying or renting a townhouse and don’t know how to evaluate if it is right for you? Well, you are in the right place for that. We will delineate the pros and cons of living in a townhouse.
What is a Townhouse?
First of all, what is a townhouse? A townhouse is a property in which the house and the land it is built on, are owned by the owner. Oftentimes, a townhouse is several stories high, thus allowing more room on a smaller piece of land, so to speak. One could have several rooms on each floor of a townhouse.
This way, one could have much more residential space, over the same amount of land that a single house would occupy. This makes buying or renting a townhouse cost-effective. Sounds great, doesn’t it? What are the other advantages and potential disadvantages of living in a townhouse? Read on to find out more.
Advantages of living in a Townhouse
As we will see later, some of the advantages of townhouses are also their disadvantages. It all depends upon the needs of the buyer. An individualized assessment needs to be made before deciding whether a townhouse is a good match for you.
Townhouses give you more bang for your buck
For starters, let us look at the comparison of a single family home and a townhouse in terms of how many rooms one can get per square foot of land, Because a townhome can be multi-storied, one can get several more rooms, even double the number of rooms built over the same amount of land than a single family home.
Sounds attractive, doesn’t’ it? Of course, building costs for the other floors do come into play. But it is quite obvious from this mental exercise, that a townhouse can be much more cost effective than a single family house.
No yard work!
That is right! Since townhouses don’t provide for much of a front or backyard, maintenance of these would not be an issue. This is particularly important when living in a townhouse with an HOA. Many of the HOA’s (Homeowner’s Association) might even have lawn-maintenance services. So if you are a busy professional, who cannot be bothered with lawn maintenance, a townhouse could be just right for you.
Often-times townhouses are built very close to one another. In some cases, there may be row houses where individual townhouses share walls with the neighbors. While there might be some disadvantages to sharing the walls, there is the added comfort of being surrounded by neighbors.
Depending on how the townhouses are built, sharing walls with neighbors often does not increase the spread of noise from neighbors. There are several soundproofing techniques used in modern building technology that allows for one’s sense of privacy to stay intact even whilst sharing walls with other residents in a townhouse.
The added sense of community when living in a row of townhouses is certainly an advantage, especially if one lives alone, is very sociable or wants their kids to find friends in the neighborhood. Having a community plays a big role in improving one’s quality of life, and living in a townhouse can certainly assist with that.
Location Location Location
For someone familiar with real estate, it is an understood fact that location is of great importance when making decisions about rentals or home purchases. Townhouses are often located closer to the cities whereas single family homes are more easily found afforded in the suburbs.
This is a trend generally observed. Exceptions certainly apply. So one could have a spacious townhouse closer to several amenities while also being close to the most centrally located places in the city.
Disadvantages in living in a Townhouse
So what are the disadvantages of living in a townhouse? As mentioned earlier, some of the advantages and disadvantages of townhouses are the same, depending upon the context of the resident.
No extended lawn areas for pets and kids to play in
Townhouses may save one the task of lawn-maintenance. But they also deprive one of having the luxury of having large front and back yards to let one’s dog or children run and play in. If one really enjoys having and maintaining a big yard, then a townhouse may not be the best option.
Who let the dogs bark?
If one lives in row houses or even in townhouses that don’t share walls but are still in close proximity with the neighbors, chances are, that there might be residents among one’s neighbors who own a loud dog.
If one finds it very disconcerting to imagine a loud barking dog in one’s vicinity, then again, a townhouse is not the right choice for such an individual. There may also be neighbors with small children and there may potentially be noise related to that. One gain, noise issues certainly depend upon how the townhouses are built and designed.
So one may need to visit the townhouse one is interested in living in, during the weekend or at a time in the week when there is most likely to be noise in the neighborhood. It would be good to actually check if noise is really an issue with the property in question, before discounting a townhouse as unsuitable for one’s stay.
It would be good to actually check if noise is really an issue with the property in question, before discounting a townhouse as unsuitable for one’s stay. This is because, the design, layout, and materials used in the building could have a strong effect on how noise is managed or mitigated on a certain property.
Strict HOA Rules
With townhouses, one may have less freedom to renovate the property, especially in areas affecting the exterior appearance of the unit. This is usually meant, to make sure that there is some uniformity with the style and design of the individual unit compared to the rest of the units. So if one wanted to paint their townhouse purple in a row house area filled with cream-colored buildings, it may not go well with the HOA.
With a single family home, one has fewer restrictions with one’s choice of renovations, although there might be other HOA rules that might apply in those cases. Generally speaking, one has greater freedom to change aspects of a property with a single family home as compared to a townhouse.
Step by step
Needless to say, a townhouse involves having stairs that lead from the first floor to the upper floors. This might translate to having a better sense of separation of areas inside the house. This might be useful if one works from home and needs to get away to a quieter office area on a separate floor. Or if one wants the bedrooms to be on a separate floor than the living room areas. Yet, this convenience could also mean that there might be a lot of stairs to climb.
Again, this might be a non-issue for some people. For someone who has young kids and need to watch for their safety, or someone with a physical ailment that makes climbing stairs difficult, having to climb stairs in a townhome several times a day could be a deal-breaker. Also to consider is the prospect of moving. Moving furniture up several levels of a house could be a daunting task during relocation. Again, this problem may be circumvented with the right kind of assistance while moving homes.
With great amenities come great responsibilities. Living in a townhouse, closer to other residents and living as part of a cozy community, brings with it, the responsibility of keeping one’s side of the street clean, so to speak. While living in townhouses affords a greater sense of belonging with others, one would have to also be much more mindful of the impact of one’s actions or inaction on one’s neighbors.
If one has a dog, one has to handle the lack of free space for the dog to run around, with the prospect of limited yard space. One can work one’s way around it by finding a location with a dog park nearby. Similar solutions may have to be found to manage other issues that could prop up while living in close quarters with other people.
One has to be more aware of the parking issues if one has visitors, be careful about not generating too much noise, respect the privacy of one’s neighbors and all and everything that goes along with making sure that one can coexist in harmony with others in the close-knit community that living in a townhome can offer. Overall, townhouses offer many benefits for someone wanting to have a conveniently located, spacious house at an affordable price. However, one has to assess each potential unit with consideration of the various pros and cons before actually making a decision.
Eventually, it is the unique set of needs and requirements of the buyer that would finally determine the suitability of a certain property, townhome or otherwise. Hopefully, one would keep the above considerations in mind while deciding on the same.