Whether you’ve done it before or not, buying a home and planning a family move is a stressful time. The cost of rent is skyrocketing all over the country, forcing more and more families to reevaluate the next move they make very carefully. Many potential homeowners are looking at condominiums and town houses as possible substitutes for the traditional single-family home as they are smaller, more modern and will often have group associations that take care of chores like maintenance and landscaping.
The typical family home is no longer the norm, which makes a lot of room for alternative housing that is still just as valuable to the buyer and the overall family experience. Let’s take a deeper look into condos, town houses and single-family homes and weigh the benefits of each.
Depending on where you’re looking, you can usually find condos marked at a much lower price-point than single-family homes. They also usually come with desirable amenities that would not typically be affordable for an individual home owner, such as a swimming pool, golf course, or fitness center. Often even the physical location—if it is on a beachfront or close to a ski-resort—can be huge draws.
However, it’s important to note that condos do not appreciate in value at the same speed that houses do. When the time comes to sell, you may take a loss. The potential for depreciation of value over time is without a doubt the biggest downside of purchasing a condo. Especially if many of your neighbors are moving at the same time, you’ll have a hard time differentiating yourself from the competition and may have to sit on the property as it depreciates in value right before your eyes.
On the surface, condos and town houses are very similar. They are communities of homes that share walls and certain communal spaces. The major difference with town houses is that the owner will not only own the interior of the home (as is the case with condominiums), but the exterior of the building, which includes the roof, lawn and drive. When you buy a town house, there is an enhanced sense of ownership. Especially when compared to condominiums, which are essentially apartments that you can buy instead of rent.
Let’s do an exercise. Close your eyes and imagine the ‘American Dream’—it’s a pretty clear picture, right? A single-family home with a white picket fence and 2.5 children. It’s an image that has been around for a long, long time and isn’t going anywhere any time soon. They are a staple of the modern American suburb. They will typically come with a garage, a big yard, and all the privacy that comes with not having to share walls with anyone else.
However, with all that freedom and space comes the responsibility of maintaining it by yourself. Many people take pride in their lawns and over landscape of their yard, although this is not the case for everyone. Landscaping costs aren’t the only the additional costs associated with owning a home. For example, compare homeowners insurance quotes for all of the above and you will find that owning a home is much costlier than owning a town house or condominium.
Whether you opt for a condo, a town house or a traditional single-family home, the choice is ultimately up to you and what is right for your family. It depends on your stage of life, how much you’re looking to invest right off the bat and what you aim to do in the future.