Last Updated on December 19, 2023 by Kari-Ann Ryan

In today’s market, families and individuals have many housing options from which to choose. Single-family homes, condominiums and townhomes each offer unique advantages and disadvantages. When considering a townhouse, buyers are encouraged to explore the many pros and cons of ownership.

What is a townhouse?

Most people are familiar with the free-standing, detached homes that dot the landscape. But townhouses, too, are sprinkled throughout neighborhoods in both urban and suburban locales. Townhome structures feature multiple floors and share one or two walls with adjacent properties.

In comparison to the cost of single-family homes, townhouses are relatively less expensive. This is due in part to the smaller footprint and shared walls. The lower purchase price is also true despite the similarity in square footage to single-family houses.

Built with multiple stories, the townhome structure takes advantage of the economics of vertical space. Since townhouses are affordable and situated within the vicinity of single-family homes, homebuyers are able to purchase a property in an otherwise relatively expensive neighborhood.

Owners of townhomes are a part of the homeowners’ association (HOA) and pay monthly fees. Townhome owners are responsible for the upkeep of the interior and exterior of the building, and payment into an HOA ensures the exterior and outdoor areas are regularly maintained.

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Pros of Townhomes

Pro 1: Affordability

Affordability is just one of the many distinct advantages that come with townhome ownership. In communities with higher home prices, townhomes are a more affordable option due to their space-savvy housing design and smaller lot requirements. Compared to detached homes and condos, townhomes offer a more budget-friendly option for homebuyers. The national average for a 1,500 square foot traditional-style, fully built townhome is $166,500. Luxury townhomes are priced around $312,500. Lower-cost townhomes may be purchased for $77,250.

Pro 2: Amenities

Townhome communities often offer a variety of amenities to residents, including fitness centers, swimming pools, playgrounds, tennis courts, and clubhouses. The convenience of having these amenities included in the HOA fee means residents have easy access to these facilities without the hassle of extra membership fees. Living in a community with these features provides numerous benefits, such as an active and social lifestyle, opportunities for recreation without leaving the neighborhood, and increased property value.

In addition to these amenities, many townhome communities also include additional services in the HOA fee, such as pest control, trash service, and HVAC inspections. These services save residents time and effort by outsourcing necessary tasks and maintenance, and also contribute to a well-maintained and attractive community environment. The convenience of having amenities and services included in the HOA fee adds value to the townhome community and enhances the quality of life for its residents.

Pro 3: Freedom

Townhomes offer a unique sense of freedom compared to condo owners, despite having a homeowners association (HOA). With a townhome, owners typically have more control over their property, including the ability to make exterior modifications and have a private yard. While there may be HOA fees and rules to abide by, townhome owners still have more autonomy and independence compared to condo owners who often have more restrictions on what they can do with their unit. This added freedom can be appealing to those who want more control over their living space while still enjoying the benefits of community living.

Pro 4: Less Maintenance

Maintenance costs for owning a townhouse typically include landscaping, exterior repairs, and snow removal. Landscaping expenses may cover lawn care, tree and shrub maintenance, and seasonal plantings. Exterior repairs could entail upkeep of the roof, siding, windows, and doors, as well as maintenance of common areas such as parking lots and sidewalks. Snow removal costs may encompass plowing, shoveling, and salting.

Compared to a single-family home, townhouse owners may experience potential savings in exterior maintenance expenses. With a townhouse, exterior maintenance costs are often shared with other homeowners through the Homeowners Association (HOA) fees. This collective approach can lead to lower expenses for individual owners.

Furthermore, townhouse owners may find that landscaping and snow removal are included in the HOA fees, relieving them of the responsibility for managing and paying for these services separately. Therefore, despite the presence of HOA fees, townhouse owners can benefit from the convenience and potential savings in exterior maintenance costs.

Cons of Townhomes

Con 1: HOA Fees

While the HOA covers exterior maintenance, the downside is that association services come with a hefty fee that can change or increase over time. Depending on what the HOA provides, monthly HOA fees can range from $100 to $700, with $200 being the average.

Con 2: HOA Restrictions

The HOA is a legal entity with the aim to preserve the value of its properties. Consequently, an HOA may have rules that townhouse owners find restrictive. Common rules involve landscaping, exterior decorations, design changes (such as painting the townhome), exterior storage, and noise levels. Additionally, historical preservation requirements may impact renovation plans for older or historically significant properties.

Con 3: Limited Outdoor Space and Privacy

Since townhomes are built so that each structure shares at least one common wall with another property, townhome owners have less privacy. The noise pollution emanating from an adjacent neighbor’s home is likely to permeate the walls of the property next door.

The restricted yard size and lack of backyard access can limit the ability to enjoy outdoor activities and host gatherings. Limited lot sizes may also impact the opportunity to engage in creative landscaping or gardening. This can also impact the ability to enjoy outdoor activities such as gardening, grilling, or simply having a space for children or pets to play. Lack of privacy in close proximity to neighbors can also be a concern for some, as it may limit the feeling of personal space and peace.

Con 4: Resale Value

A townhome is an affordable option for new families. But once the family grows and a bigger home is needed, townhome owners are likely to find that their property has failed to appreciate in value. Consequently, when reselling, families will experience a harm in their investment potential.

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Who should buy a townhouse?

First-time home buyers are able to afford a smaller townhouse property while being close to urban centers; and, as townhome owners, they learn what home ownership involves. Millennials with little home ownership experience are among the best candidates for townhome ownership.

Empty nesters, too, benefit from downsizing and having reduced home maintenance tasks. Members of the Baby Boomer generation fit these criteria. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the yard space and manageable interior areas of a townhome are ideal for young, growing families.

When buying a townhome, be familiar with the property prices in the area. The price per square foot differs from city to city. Townhome costs can make or break a deal, but equally critical is understanding the HOA fees prior to buying.

Being preapproved for financing is important. When qualifying for financing, the HOA fees are factored into the purchase price. High HOA fees can easily disqualify a potential townhome buyer. Plus getting preapproved allows the buyer to know what prices are within an affordable range.

Single-Family Home vs. Townhome

A single-family home is a standalone dwelling on its own piece of land, while a townhome is typically attached to one or more other units and shares at least one wall with a neighboring property. In terms of ownership, single-family homes usually come with sole ownership of both the dwelling and the land it sits on, while townhomes often have shared ownership of common areas and exterior maintenance responsibilities with other townhome owners.

In terms of design, single-family homes offer more privacy and customization options, while townhomes often have a more compact layout and shared amenities. Responsibilities for maintenance and repairs are typically greater for single-family homeowners, while townhome ownership may involve homeowners’ association fees and adherence to community rules and regulations.

The benefits of a single-family home include more privacy and freedom for customization, while townhomes often offer more community amenities and a lower maintenance burden. Drawbacks of a single-family home may include higher costs and maintenance responsibilities, while townhomes may have limitations on customization and potential issues with shared ownership. When considering these options, potential homeowners should weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each to make an informed decision.

Condo Ownership vs. Townhome Ownership

Condo ownership and townhome ownership have key differences in terms of maintenance responsibilities, customization freedom, and potential rental options. In a condo, the homeowner is typically responsible for maintaining the interior of the unit, while the condo association is responsible for maintaining the exterior and common areas. In contrast, townhome owners are typically responsible for both interior and exterior maintenance.

When it comes to customization freedom, condo owners may have restrictions on making major modifications to their unit, while townhome owners generally have more freedom to customize both the interior and exterior of their property.

In terms of potential rental options, condo owners may have more flexibility to rent out their unit compared to townhome owners, who may face more stringent rental restrictions from their HOA.

HOA fees and financing options also differ between condos and townhomes. Condo owners may generally pay higher HOA fees, which can cover amenities and exterior maintenance, while townhome owners may have lower HOA fees that cover less extensive communal services.

When deciding between condo and townhome ownership, important factors to consider include the level of maintenance responsibility, degree of customization freedom, rental potential, HOA fees, and financing options. It’s important to weigh these factors based on individual preferences and lifestyle needs.


Moving Assistance to a Townhome

Buying the perfect townhome is an exciting move for young families and a relief for retirees who no longer want major home maintenance responsibilities. When you are preparing to upgrade or downsize your home, you need a reliable moving company, like Mid-West Moving & Storage, on your side.

Our professional moving crews are experienced in a wide range of residential moves. We have successfully relocated countless families and individuals to and from apartments, houses, condos, retirement homes and dorms. Our movers prioritize security and the careful handling of your goods.

Mid-West Moving & Storage crews are background-checked, licensed and insured so that our customers experience maximum peace of mind. We are careful to employ strategies to protect your valuables during the move, such as using carpet shields, railing covers, and door jambs.

Our specialists are available to facilitate all aspects of your move. We create a detailed plan for the move, provide packing and unpacking services, offer short- and long-term storage services, and communicate with you throughout the move so that you stay updated on its progress.

When a residential relocation within or around Chicago is on the horizon, schedule your upcoming move with Mid-West Moving & Storage. We take pride in our commitment to excellence and affordable moving services.

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Call us at (847) 593-7201 or fill out a contact form for a free estimate and let our moving experts help plan your next move.

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