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Are you considering buying a townhouse? If so, this blog post is for you! Townhouses offer a range of benefits that make them an attractive option for homeowners. That's why our agents are offering their insights into the advantages of owning a townhouse and why it might be something you'll want to consider.

What is a Townhouse?

Debra Mangum

A townhouse, also known as a townhome, is a type of residential property that has at least one shared wall with a neighboring property. According to West & Woodall agent Debra Mangum, "With a townhome, you also own the land it sits on."

Jeanette Hussey

They're situated on a smaller lot than a detached home would be, are either multi- or single-story, and are usually part of a community with at least some common areas. Agent Jeanette Hussey  adds, "While you own the land, a Homeowners Association (HOA) maintains it and the exterior of the townhouse for you."

Brooke Fulford

Agent Brooke Fulford explains that townhouses come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, a popular floorplan that she has been seeing recently in the Triangle region of North Carolina is four bedrooms and three stories. This style has been common in more crowded, urban areas for many years but is now making its way to smaller cities and towns.

Benefits of Living in a Townhouse

Townhouses offer a unique and appealing housing option for many people. These properties often provide a good balance between the privacy of a single-family home and the convenience of a condominium. Here's a look at some of the benefits of a townhouse.

Maintenance

Owning a townhouse means less upkeep compared to a single-family house. Debra explains, "Homeowners pay monthly dues to the HOA in order to have the funds available when scheduled maintenance is needed in the community." This saves homeowners time and effort, allowing them to focus on enjoying their homes rather than worrying about maintenance tasks.

Brooke knows firsthand about the positive aspects of living in a townhouse. "I personally live in a townhome and love it. I find the biggest benefit to me is the maintenance! I am so happy to pay my HOA fees and know that the grounds will be maintained, the siding on my townhouse will be routinely maintained, and I will get a new roof when the time comes for one."

Lisa Borer

Agent Lisa Borer  says the convenience of being able to have someone else look after the maintenance side of homeownership is why townhome communities are so popular with people who are downsizing. "They don't want to have to keep up the yard anymore or worry about home maintenance responsibilities. All of that is done for them."

Amenities and sense of community

Townhouse living offers a unique blend of convenience and community. Jeanette says, "Owning a townhome is a lifestyle for most people." One of the key advantages of this lifestyle is the array of amenities that are often available to residents. From fitness centers and swimming pools to landscaped gardens, a clubhouse, snow removal, and playgrounds, townhouse communities try to provide a high quality of life for their residents.

Krystal Walker

These shared amenities can make day-to-day living more convenient and enjoyable, as well as foster a sense of community among neighbors. Agent Krystal Walker points out that "this sense of community, increased security and neighborhood watch, and amenities that you may not otherwise have easy access to are all part of what make townhome living so appealing."

In addition, living in close proximity to neighbors can contribute to a heightened sense of safety for many while also providing the space and privacy made possible by living in individual homes.

Affordability

Townhouses are often more affordable than single-family homes. Lisa says, "Some townhomes can have as much square footage as a detached home but can be a little cheaper because the lot is smaller and they're attached to other homes." The smaller lot size also means lower property taxes and lower overall home maintenance costs. Additionally, paying for shared amenities such as workout equipment or a pool is much less expensive than trying to maintain those things as an individual homeowner.

Things to Consider Before Investing in a Townhome

While there are many benefits of owning a townhouse, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of living in a townhome community. Here are some things to consider.

HOA

Brooke says, "Some things to consider are what the HOA dues cover, how much money it has in reserves, and if there are any large maintenance items coming up. It is so important to work with a REALTOR when purchasing any home, but especially one in an HOA. Your REALTOR can help guide you through all of the HOA documents and ask the right questions."

If you are an investor considering purchasing a townhome as a rental property, Debra offers this word of caution. "We are seeing more townhouse communities putting a 'cap' on how many non-owner occupants are allowed in a community." That's why you want to be sure and review the Restrictive Covenants or Rules and Regulations very carefully and discuss them with your REALTOR before you make an offer.

Privacy

Jeanette warns that "living in close proximity to your neighbors should definitely be a consideration when buying a townhome." Lisa agrees and says this lack of privacy is the flip side of living so close to other people. "While some communities will let townhome owners install a privacy fence, you're simply not going to have the same level of privacy when you're sharing one or two walls with other people."

Lack of space

Townhouses generally have less space, both indoor and outdoor, compared to single-family homes, and Debra advises buyers to consider this factor carefully. Lack of space can limit storage options, make it difficult to accommodate larger furniture pieces, and may not provide enough room for growing families or entertaining guests.

Buyers should carefully evaluate their space needs and lifestyle before purchasing a townhouse. Consider the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the size of common areas, and the availability of outdoor living space. Additionally, potential buyers should assess the available storage options, such as closets, cabinets, and garage space, to ensure they will have enough room for their belongings.

Debt-to-income ratio

It's important to keep in mind that buying a townhome may impact your ability to get a mortgage. That's because HOA dues are a recurring expense, and mortgage lenders will consider them as part of your monthly expenses when calculating your debt-to-income ratio. Debra offers this reminder to any homebuyer who is considering a townhome. "Your lender needs to know upfront if you are wanting a townhouse. That way, they can make that part of your pre-approval for a loan."

The debt-to-income ratio compares a borrower's monthly debt obligations to their gross monthly income. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), homeowners should "consider maintaining a debt-to income ratio for all debts of 36 percent or less. Some lenders will go up to 43 percent or higher. Your home mortgage is included in this ratio."

Remember, HOA dues can vary widely depending on the community and the amenities provided, so be sure to gather all the necessary information and consider it when determining how much you can afford.

Lack of customization

When purchasing a townhouse, it's crucial to understand that there are limitations in terms of personalization and customization. Unlike single-family homes, townhouses often have restrictions in place for exterior modifications, landscaping, and other changes to the property. Lisa notes that this lack of freedom to customize your yard and living space can be a drawback for those who enjoy gardening, outdoor entertaining, or have specific design preferences.


This is another reason why it's important to carefully review the rules and regulations set by the HOA when considering a townhouse purchase. These guidelines can dictate what you can and cannot do with your property, and it's important to be comfortable with these limitations before making a decision. Additionally, if you have specific renovation or customization plans in mind, it's essential to confirm that these are allowed within the HOA guidelines.

Bottom Line on the Benefits of Buying a Townhouse

With their combination of convenience, community, and affordability, townhouses are a fantastic choice for those looking for a low-maintenance lifestyle. If you're interested in finding out more about the benefits of a townhouse, be sure to reach out to us at info@westandwoodall.com.

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