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Should I Buy a Townhome?

Posted by Sarah Steen on August 25, 2022
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picture of a row of townhouses with "Should I buy a townhome? caption

 

Townhomes have become very popular in recent years. Many home buyers have been turning to townhomes for a  less expensive and low maintenance alternative to single family homes.

Click here to download the Home Buying Guide

History

Historic evidence shows that townhomes were originally developed in Paris during the 1600’s as a solution to house more people in a smaller footprint. The townhome was easily transferred over the Atlantic to New York. Historic brownstone townhomes in Manhattan have recently experienced a renaissance and will even sell for seven figures.

Related Reading: Steps to Buy a Home

What is a townhome?

Townhomes became common in less populated areas over the last 40 years. Townhomes have become a popular, less expensive alternative to detached homes.  You’ll see a variety of different styles of townhouses depending on where you live, but it’s standard to have least 3 units attached to each other.

Here in the Colorado Springs real estate market, many townhomes are two stories with an attached or detached garage. There are a few areas where the garage is tucked underneath the townhome making it a 3 or 4 story home. In short, townhouses can come in many different architectural styles, but the common feature is that they are attached to each other with one or more shared walls.

Be aware that there are homes that look like townhomes but are actually condos. Condos are a separate real estate category that have a different set up, rules and requirements.

Related Reading: Townhomes vs Condos

The Pros of Owning a Townhome

Affordability

Townhome units are attached and built on very small lots. But their living space is comparable to single family detached homes. This makes townhomes a wonderful, less expensive alternative to detached homes.

Related Reading: How much home can I afford?

Low Maintenance

The common spaces and yards in townhome communities are maintained by the Homeowners Association (HOA). This makes townhomes a great option for homeowners who don’t have the time and/or physical capability to care for a yard. The low maintenance yards also make townhouses great options for second homes, investment properties or vacation homes.

Related Reading: Home Maintenance Checklist

Lower Utility Cost

You’ll benefit from the heating, cooling and insulation of your neighbor’s home since you’ll share a wall. Some townhome communities even include utilities in the monthly HOA charges.

Cheaper Homeowners Insurance

Your homeowners insurance rate can be pretty high if you live in a single family detached home because you will have to insure the exterior and the interior of your home. But the HOA insurance generally insures and maintains the exterior of a townhome thus reducing your homeowners insurance bill.

Keep in mind that some of the new townhome communities in Colorado Springs are not set up this way or have limits on their insurance. While insurance is not everyone’s favorite topic, informing yourself about what is included in the HOA is crucial. It can cost you a pretty penny if your home is underinsured. Review the HOA insurance certificate after every renewal.  Ask your insurance company or broker to review the certificate to verify that you are adequately covered.

Pro tip: see if you have a Special Loss Assessment Rider called an HO6. Also, consider adding a sewer backup rider if you have a basement. Both of these riders should have minimal cost, but ask your insurance expert about sufficient coverage.

Location

Buying a townhome might enable you to purchase a home in a popular location you might otherwise not be able to afford.

Click here to download our Colorado Springs Neighborhood Guide

Amenities

Master planned communities are more likely to have amenities like a pool, workout center, parks, and/or rec centers, etc.. This can be a big plus.

Investment Opportunity

In general, townhomes do not appreciate as quickly as single family homes. However, it’s worth considering an investment in a townhome in a desirable, high end neighborhood. A townhome has a lower entry investment and the higher rental rates are possible in a sought after neighborhood. The Gold Hill Mesa neighborhood on the westside of Colorado Springs is a great example of townhomes pulling in high rental rates. If you are an out of town investor, you will benefit from the HOA taking care of the landscaping and exterior maintenance of the home.

Related Reading: 10 Ways to Lower Your Mortgage Payment

The Cons of Owning a Townhome

Minimal Yard

One of the big drawbacks of owning a townhome is the very small yard or private outdoor area. Some townhomes have no outdoor space at all. Little to no outdoor space is great if you want low maintenance, but not ideal if you have kids or pets who’d enjoy a yard.

Noisy Neighbors

You’ll share at least one wall with your neighboring townhome unit and noise is a factor to consider. Depending on the age and construction of your townhome, you might hear your neighbors moving around, pets barking, or when the vacuum is turned on. You could lose a bit of privacy if that is the case. A great way to research the townhome noise level is to ask residents in the neighborhood you are intending to buy.

Soundproofing materials and building technology have improved in the last few years so a newer townhome will probably be quieter. If you are considering an older townhome or a townhome with thin walls, there are some easy ways to add soundproofing to your walls and reduce noise. This could be as simple as placing tall furniture like bookcases or hanging art work (tapestry or hanging rugs) on the shared wall.

Related Reading: Tips for Researching Neighborhoods

HOA Restrictions

Living in a neighborhood with an HOA can be a polarizing topic for homebuyers. Some people don’t mind having an HOA, while other folks are adamantly opposed to them. Townhomes are nearly always in an HOA. While it will add to your monthly bills and include restrictions, you will have the benefit of the HOA being responsible for the common areas and the exterior of the home.

Higher HOA Fees

If you’re shopping for a townhome, it’s important to pay attention to the HOA fees as they can be more expensive in townhome communities. Remember, the HOA is usually responsible for the exterior of the home, landscaping, and more.

Let us know if you have questions and reach if you’re thinking about buying a home in the near future. Call 719-219-9739 or email susanna@co-regroup.com.

Click here to download your free home buyer guide

 

Townhomes for Sale in Colorado Springs


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