Home is home, no matter where you live. As a future homeowner, it’s up to you what you make of it. This includes whether you choose to buy a single-family detached house or traditional house versus a multi-unit or condominium/townhome. Although condos and townhomes are technically two different types of properties, they are similar enough to combine together for the sake of our helpful comparison below:
- Condo/townhomes cost significantly less, on average, than a traditional house. Because of a slew of generational amenities and flexibility afforded on a single-family detached house, traditional houses can be priced much higher than a condo/townhome. That means your monthly mortgage payment — and sometimes the outstanding annual property tax amount due — will be higher overall.
- Traditional houses appreciate faster in the long term. This perspective is important for a long term investment. In general, the market for condos and traditional homes will rise and fall in tandem as all residential prices go up or down. However, the overall market-value of traditional houses increase faster than condo/townhomes making it more valuable for the long-term.
- Condo/townhomes can be less “sellable” than traditional houses. There are many reasons a person would choose a condo or townhome instead of a traditional home. They fit a specific need, a lifestyle and that’s not a bad thing. However, because they fit that niche market, they can be harder to sell in comparison to a traditional home. Be aware that it might take time to sell it when the time comes.
- Homeowner Association (HOA) conveniences, security, and other lifestyle amenities become a factor. Condo/townhome developments usually have an HOA structure, board of directors, and annual dues that residents must pay, and some traditional-house neighborhoods have HOAs as well. HOA fees typically pay for certain outside-home maintenance features, community infrastructure, entertainment/leisure community centers, landscape, greenbelts, parks, and sometimes even gates and community security features. While condos/townhomes almost always have an HOA, traditional neighborhoods don’t always have an HOA. You’ll want to factor the HOA expense into your budget and ask yourself a few questions. What can you live with and without? Find what you like and dislike; balance it all out.
- Yard or no yard. Condos and townhomes typically have limited outdoor living spaces and in some cases the HOA covers the expenses and maintenance of the yard. In a traditional home, you are typically on your own when it comes to the yard which may lead to added expenses and time, but it is your yard to do with what you want.
- Privacy and density. You’ll obviously have more space between you and your neighbors and more overall privacy in a traditional house versus a condo/townhome. If a condo/townhome HOA allows it, you can landscape for more privacy. However, it can’t make up for space between you and your neighbors and the possible sound intrusion that could be a problem.
- Condo/townhome living can provide prime locations. Mobility is important to many urbanites and suburbanites who don’t plan on spending as much time at home or on the outside of their property like those choosing a regular house. If being super close to restaurants, downtowns, shopping centers, beaches, nightlife, or anything similar is your thing, then condo living is probably for you. Additionally, you may find more “community” in a condo/townhome development since everyone is living a bit closer together with shared space.
Condos/townhomes offer many advantages and disadvantages in comparison with a traditional home and depending on your needs and wants one might be a perfect fit for you. Consider all your options as you prepare to buy a home. You might be surprised what the perfect fit actually looks like