Townhouse vs. single-family house, factors to consider

Comparing single-family houses vs. townhouses can be difficult. What is the right fit for your home purchase? That depends on a whole host of factors — things like your budget, your need for space and privacy, and your penchant for home maintenance.

Are you trying to decide whether a townhome or a detached, single-family house is the best use of your money? Here’s what you should consider.

1. Cost — both upfront and long-term. 

Townhouses generally come with a lower sales price vs. single-family houses, meaning you can become a homeowner more easily, more affordably and maybe even sooner, too. With a lower sales price, you’ll also need a smaller down payment — another nice perk. 

You’ll likely have lower ongoing costs, too. In townhome communities, you’ll usually have lower maintenance expenses than you would on a single-family home. This is due to two factors: 1) your property is typically smaller and 2) your community association may handle some of those tasks. 

2. Upkeep and maintenance requirements.

When you own a single-family home, all the maintenance and upkeep falls on your shoulders. That means you’ll need to mow the lawn, change out the air filters and smoke detector batteries, unclog the gutters, and do all those regular maintenance tasks to keep your home in good condition. 

With townhomes, you’re usually a part of a larger community association, which will handle a lot of those larger tasks — particularly the exterior ones — for you. They might keep up the yard and garden, tend to the roof and gutters, and maintain other shared areas of the community, too.

3. Space and flexibility.

Single-family homes are typically larger than townhomes. You’ll likely have more square footage, more bedrooms and more privacy for members of your household. 

Another nice perk? You can do what you want with the property. Install a pool, paint the shutters or add a second master bedroom (unless you have an HOA, that is.)

Townhomes are usually on the smaller side, and there are often limitations imposed by the community association regarding both the interior and exterior of your home. You may not be able to paint, renovate or make any changes to the property, even once the home is yours.

4. Proximity to neighbors.

If you’re looking for insulation from the neighbors — not to mention their noise — then a townhome may not be the right choice. In a townhome, you share walls with one, or sometimes several, neighbors at once. You may be able to hear their music, parties or babies crying, or you could even smell what they’re cooking for dinner. 

Single-family properties offer a lot more space between you and your neighbors. That means more privacy and, in most cases, more quiet, too.

The bottom line

There’s no right or wrong choice when it comes to buying a home. Take a look at your budget, consider your needs and preferences, and consider talking to a real estate agent for more guidance. They can help you decide if a townhome or single-family property is a better fit for your situation.

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

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