Buying a Townhome

Anita Clark's picture
Buying a Townhome

15 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Townhome

Townhomes, also known as rowhomes, have been around for a while. Partly because of their longevity, townhomes are now the fastest-growing segment of the single-family housing construction market.

Today, townhomes are generally built in central locations, managed well, and give houses a run for their money. But, is buying a townhome right for everyone? if you are a first-time home buyer does it make sense for you?

The answer to this question is no -- townhomes aren’t right for everyone. If you’re considering purchasing a townhome, you should understand what it’s like to live in a townhome community. In this article, we’ll provide you with a list of questions to ask yourself and your Realtor prior to purchasing a townhome. By using this resource, you’ll get a better understanding of what townhouse life is like and whether or not it’s the right decision for your lifestyle.

Keep reading to learn more about the questions you need to ask yourself before committing to buying a townhouse.

Buying a TownhomeAm I okay with giving up some privacy?

In case you didn’t know, townhomes are built with shared walls. If you’re considering moving into a townhouse, you need to ask yourself if you’re okay with giving up a sense of privacy. It’s possible you may hear your neighbors through the walls, as they may hear you. Also, you’ll be physically closer to your neighbors. So, are you okay with sharing a wall with other people?

Can I comply with neighborhood rules?

Townhome communities are often run by an HOA board. With an HOA comes rules, and townhomes aren’t exempt from neighborhood rules. If you’re going to live in a townhome, you’re likely going to have to comply with rules that may cover things like parking restrictions, pets, noise levels, landscaping, and more.

What are the HOA fees, and can I afford them?

Just as the HOA sets rules, they often charge an HOA fee. These fees should be allocated to maintaining community amenities. Some HOA fees can be hundreds of dollars. Before purchasing a townhome in a community with an HOA, familiarize yourself with the dues and potential fees to determine whether or not it’s a good financial decision for you.

What is parking like?

As living in a townhome means sharing space with others, there may be parking restrictions. Outside of using your driveway for parking, there may be other restrictions. Street parking in some places may not be available, and there may be restrictions on guest parking as well.

Can I bring my pet?

Most townhomes allow pets, especially if you own the townhome. But, this doesn’t mean every townhome community does. If you have a pet, make sure you know the rules of owning a pet in the community before you are surprised with rules or a fee after purchasing a home for you and your pooch.

Are there any common areas?

As mentioned before, HOA fees typically cover community amenities. Many townhome communities have common areas, pools, fitness centers and more. Learn more about amenities in the communities you’re interested in to get the full picture of what life will be like living in a townhome. Some people may love having a pool and a community gym, but others may get no use out of those.

How much space will I need to share with my neighbor?

While you certainly won’t have to share your home with your neighbor, you may have to share other space. Depending on the community, parking space, garbage and recycling, and common areas may be shared. Learn more about shared areas in the townhome community you’re considering purchasing a home in and determine if you’re okay with sharing space.

How much noise can I handle?

Are you okay with occasional sounds of music, talking, and television? Or can you not stand any outside noise? If you prefer complete silence while in the comfort of your own home, living in a townhome may not be for you. If you’re unable to tolerate other people living in close proximity to you, chances are outside sounds won’t be your only annoyance.

What are the neighbors like?

This question isn’t limited to just townhome communities, but is important nonetheless. Familiarize yourself with what the community is like before purchasing a townhome. Are you looking for a young, social community? Or are you looking for a retirement community? Never purchase a townhouse -- or any home for that matter -- without being comfortable with the people you live around.

Are these homes well-built?

Was this townhouse community built in a short period of time to meet demand for a popular area, or are they truly good quality homes? Whatever the situation may be, you don’t want to purchase a cheaply-made townhouse. A well-built townhome will have an element of noise reduction as well as quality appliances in the home itself. If you value a well-built home, try to learn more about how old the townhomes are and whether or not they’ll meet your standards.

How well is the community managed?

As mentioned earlier, HOAs should properly allocate funds and provide good management to the townhome community. If you can, ask neighbors how well the community is managed. Living in a poorly-managed and maintained neighborhood won’t be fun, and isn’t worth purchasing a townhome in.

Am I okay with not being able to change things?

Oftentimes, you can’t change much about townhomes. While you can sometimes renovate them, you can’t build any additional structures. You may also not have control over the landscaping. Some townhouses have specific renovation restrictions as well. If you want more control over your home, living in a townhouse may not be good for you.

Do I have to do the landscaping?

Some townhome communities offer landscaping services within your HOA dues. If they don’t, you may have to do your own landscaping. If you don’t want to do the same landscaping you would in a house, living in a townhouse community is a good idea.

Am I okay with having less space?

You most likely won’t have as much space living in a townhome as you would in a house. For some, this may be better fit for your lifestyle. If your kids are moving out, or you simply don’t need that much space, having a compact townhouse may work better for you.

Is this the right choice for me?

After asking yourself the previous questions, it’s time to determine whether or not a townhouse is the right choice for you. While you may have less privacy and space in a townhouse, you’ll probably have less work and a tight-knit community to make up for it. Whatever your needs are will help you make this decision.

When you purchase a new home, don’t forget to protect it with a home warranty plan. Check out reviews of Old Republic Home Warranty plans among other companies to learn more about what plan may work for you.

Ultimately, the decision is up to you -- we’re just here to help guide you through the process. Hopefully this article on buying a townhome will help make your decision easier.

If you found this article on buying a townhome helpful, please share it so other consumers can also benefit from the information.

Add new comment