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Real Estate Enthusiasts

Here’s how to choose between a house, condo or townhouse

How to choose the right property based on your budget and goals

real estate agent

Buying a home is a big decision. And choosing the right type of property? That’s critical to success.

The property type you opt for will ultimately impact your cash flow, how much work and maintenance the home requires, and the wealth you’re able to build over time.

Want to make sure you’re buying the right property for your budget and goals? Here’s what you need to know:

Condos

One of the biggest benefits of buying a condo is that they’re less costly — both upfront and over the long haul. Prices are lower on condos than on single-family properties, meaning you’ll need less saved up — not to mention less income — to make a purchase work. 

Additionally, they come with less upkeep. Since most condo exteriors are maintained by the property manager, this means a lot fewer maintenance and repair costs than you’d have on a traditional home. (It’s less hassle, too — especially if you’re not the handy type). 

On the downside, condos are less private, and you don’t own the land they sit on, either. This makes them less valuable in the long run. Most condos also have strict rules regarding decor and customization of the properties, and you’ll typically pay a COA fee to help keep up the community.

Townhouses

Townhouses tend to be a bit larger than condos, and buyers actually own the land they rest on, too. They also typically offer more separation from neighbors, meaning more privacy and more peace and quiet. 

For the most part, townhouse communities are managed much like condos; exterior maintenance and repairs are handled by a property manager. This means less work and fewer upkeep costs in the long haul.

Another perk? That’d be the yard that many townhouses come with. Though they’re typically small yards, they may be the perfect choice if you’ve got pets or little ones in tow.

As with condos, these properties aren’t without fault. You’ll have a community association with restrictive rules and monthly or annual dues and, if your unit has a yard, you’ll probably be responsible for maintaining it, too.

House

When buying a home, most people think of the traditional, single-family house. With that option, you’re going to get the most space and privacy. You’ll also have a sizable yard, and you’ll enjoy more price appreciation than you would on a smaller property like a condo or townhouse.

Of course, with more space comes more cost. You’ll not only pay significantly more for a house initially, but you’ll also have more in long-term costs, too. There will be more maintenance and repairs to cover, higher insurance premiums to account for, and you’ll be responsible for things like property taxes and HOA dues, too. Budgeting will be critical if you op for a single-family house.

The bottom line

Generally speaking, a townhouse or condo is going to be your best bet if you’re buying a home on a tight budget or want a low-maintenance property. If you’re looking for a spacious home and are hoping to put down roots, personalize your property, and build long-term wealth, a single-family house is probably a better fit.

3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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