Townhouse vs. Single-Family Homes: Pros and Cons

13 mins read
man and woman discussing as they sit on a porch

The housing market offers a wide range of options for homebuyers. And for families who are debating between a townhouse and a single-family home, you must understand the pros and cons of each.

Typically cheaper and easier to maintain than a single-family home, townhouses have become increasingly popular in recent years as starter homes for young couples and small families in recent years. Meanwhile, single-family homes offer square footage and privacy but can come with a higher price tag.

Apart from the things to consider when buying a new home, here’s a closer look at the key differences between townhouses and single-family homes to help you decide which is right for you:

The Key Features and Pros of a Townhouse

Townhouses are typically cheaper.

Let’s get into the spirit of townhouses by starting with their main selling point: price. Townhouses are cheaper than single-family homes, both in terms of the initial purchase price and long-term costs such as maintenance, repairs, and upgrades.

This is due to several factors:

  • Townhouses are usually smaller than single-family homes
  • Townhouses often share common walls (which helps to reduce costs for heating and cooling)
  • Townhouse complexes often have shared amenities such as pools and playgrounds (which means that the costs of these amenities are spread out among all the townhouse owners).
  • Townhouses also tend to have lower insurance rates (which is a result of the shared walls and common areas).

The bottom line is that townhouses offer a more affordable option for families looking to purchase their first home.

Townhouses are easier to maintain.

In addition to being cheaper, townhouses are also easier to maintain than single-family homes.

The reason for this is that townhouses often have HOA fees (Homeowner Association fees) which go towards the upkeep of common areas and shared amenities.

This means that townhouse owners don’t have to worry about maintaining the exterior of their homes or paying for complex-wide repairs and upgrades – it’s all taken care of by the HOA.

Of course, townhouse owners are still responsible for maintaining the interior of their homes. But overall, townhouses require less maintenance than single-family homes.

There is more community involvement with townhouses.

Another advantage of townhouses is that they often promote a stronger sense of community than single-family homes. This is because townhouse complexes tend to be smaller and more intimate, which makes it easier for neighbors to get to know each other.

  • Having a community can be beneficial for families with children, as it provides a built-in support network of other parents who can help with babysitting, carpooling, and playdates.
  • It can also be beneficial for families who are looking to make long-term friends in their neighborhood.

Townhouses usually have various shared amenities.

As part of the lure to townhouse living, many townhouse complexes come with shared amenities that are available for all residents to enjoy. Some of the most common shared amenities in townhouse complexes include:

  • swimming pools
  • fitness centers
  • clubhouses
  • laundry facilities
  • playgrounds
  • picnic areas.

Access to these shared amenities is usually included in townhouse owners’ monthly HOA fees.

And while townhouses don’t offer the same amount of privacy as single-family homes, the shared amenities can make up for it by providing families with more opportunities to socialize and enjoy their leisure time.

The Cons of Townhouses

Townhouses can have strict rules and regulations.

One of the downsides of townhouse living is that townhouse complexes often have strict rules and regulations that townhouse owners must follow.

These rules and regulations are set by the townhouse complex’s HOA, covering everything from noise levels to landscaping to parking. These rules mainly exist to ensure that townhouse complexes remain attractive and well-maintained.

But for some families, the rules and regulations can be too restrictive and may make them feel like they’re living in a “cookie cutter” community where everyone looks and acts the same.

Townhouses often appreciate at a slower rate than single-family homes.

The appreciation rate is the rate at which a property’s value increases over time. And while all properties appreciate at different rates, townhouses typically appreciate at a slower rate than single-family homes.

The reason for this is that townhouses are often seen as being less desirable than single-family homes (due to their size and lack of privacy).

As a result, townhouses don’t usually appreciate as much in value as single-family homes, which can make them a less profitable investment over the long run.

You get less privacy in townhouses.

We’ve previously mentioned that townhouses offer less privacy than single-family homes. This is because townhouses are often built side-by-side, which means that townhouse owners have neighbors living right next to them.

And while townhouses do have walls and ceilings separating them from their neighbors, noise can still travel between units.

The Key Features and Pros of Single-Family Homes

a man holding a miniature single-family home

Now that we’ve looked at the key features and pros of townhouses, let’s take a closer look at the key features and pros of single-family homes:

You get more privacy with single-family homes.

One of the biggest advantages of owning a single-family home is that you’ll have more privacy than you would if you lived in a townhouse.

This is because townhouses are often built side-by-side, while single-family homes are typically built on their lot. As a result, single-family homeowners usually have more space between them and their neighbors.

This extra space can provide a much-needed sense of privacy for families who want to avoid the close quarters of townhouse living.

You have more control over your home with single-family homes.

Another advantage of owning a single-family home is that you’ll have more control over your property.

This is because, as the sole owner of your home, you’ll be able to make any changes or additions that you want without getting approval from a townhouse complex’s HOA.

So, if you want to paint your home’s exterior an unconventional color or build a deck in your backyard, you’ll be able to do so without any interference.

Single-family homes typically appreciate at a faster rate than townhouses.

We’ve mentioned that townhouses often appreciate at a slower rate than single-family homes. But the opposite is also true – single-family homes typically appreciate faster than townhouses.

So if you want to sell your home in the future, you’re likely to get a higher return on your investment with a single-family home than you would with a townhouse. Check out the things to do before putting your home on the market

You get more square footage.

Naturally, one of the biggest advantages of owning a single-family home is that you’ll get more square footage than you would with a townhouse.

This is because townhouses are often built near one another, which means that they have to make use of space efficiently. As a result, townhouses tend to be smaller than single-family homes.

So, if you need more space for your family or want to have a larger home, a single-family home is probably the better option.

The Cons of Single-Family Homes

Now that we’ve looked at the key features and pros of single-family homes, let’s take a look at some of the potential cons:

Single-family homes cost more than townhouses.

One of the biggest disadvantages of owning a single-family home is that they typically cost more than townhouses. Depending on the location, townhouses can be up to 30% cheaper than single-family homes.

So, if you’re on a tight budget, a townhouse might be a better option for you.

Single-family homes take longer to build than townhouses.

I quickly, a townhouse might be the better option. This is because townhouses are often built in large developments, which means they can be built relatively quickly.

Single-family homes, on the other hand, are typically built one at a time. As a result, it can take years to build a single-family home.

You might have to pay for maintenance and repairs yourself with a single-family home.

Because you’re the sole owner of your home, you’ll be responsible for any repairs or maintenance that needs to be done. From fixing a leaky roof to fixing a broken window.

In contrast, townhouses are often part of a community. As such, the townhouse complex’s HOA is usually responsible for any repairs or maintenance that needs to be done.

FAQs

Q: How much does a townhouse cost?

A: The cost of a townhouse varies depending on the location. An average townhouse in the US costs between $200,000 and $400,000.

Q: Why are townhouses cheaper than single-family homes?

A: Townhouses are often built in large developments, which means that they can be built relatively quickly. Single-family homes, on the other hand, are typically built one at a time. As a result, it can take years to build a single-family home.

Q: How long does it take to build a townhouse?

A: It usually takes between 6 and 12 months to build a townhouse. Of course, this varies depending on the size and location of the townhouse.

Q: Who is responsible for repairs in a townhouse?

A: In most cases, the townhouse complex’s HOA is responsible for any repairs or maintenance that needs to be done. However, it’s always best to check with your HOA to be sure

Q: Are townhouses a good investment?

A: The answer to this question depends on your circumstances. Townhouses often appreciate at a slower rate than single-family homes, but they also tend to be cheaper and easier to maintain. So it depends on what you’re looking for in an investment.

Conclusion

Whether to buy a townhouse or single-family home depends on your needs and preferences. A single-family home is probably the better option if you’re looking for square footage and privacy. However, if you’re on a tight budget or need to move quickly, a townhouse might be the way to go.

Louie Missap

I'm a real estate blogger and writer. I love helping people learn about the home buying and selling process. I've been through the process myself, and I know how confusing it can be. I'm here to help make it easier for everyone!

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