Buying a home is a major milestone in most people’s lives. Everyone has different reasons for taking the plunge, and the reason behind the purchase can help guide you toward the type of home you want to buy. First time homeowners may want to move from leasing an apartment to owning a townhouse, while growing families might consider building their next home to accommodate new needs. Empty nesters who are looking to downsize might consider a condo a great alternative. Read on to find out more how each of these differs from the next and the advantages each one can offer.
A single-family home is a detached home—meaning it stands alone—and typically houses one family. Many people purchase a single family home because they’re looking for outdoor space in addition to a place to live. A yard may be an important consideration for families with children or pets, or those that enjoy the outdoors and prefer green space of their own. In single-family homes, the homeowner is responsible for the utilities in addition to the maintenance and upkeep of both the home and the surrounding space. Potential buyers should watch out for homeowners’ association rules and fees.
Short for condominium, a condo is an individual unit within a multiple unit community. These units usually share walls, though this is not a requirement. The condo owner owns an individual unit but shares common areas with other owners in the building, which can include recreational rooms, gyms, pools and outdoor space. Because there are shared areas, a homeowner typically pays a fee for the upkeep of these spaces in addition to their mortgage and monthly utility bills. A board, often made up of condo owners, allocates the fees they collect to maintain areas that fall outside of the privately owned condo unit’s walls. Unlike owning a single family home, a condo owner does not own land individually, but collectively, with other condo homeowners.
A townhouse is a multiple-story home found in a row with similar townhouses. It will share at least one wall with another townhouse and may have exterior architectural differences from neighboring townhouses. Townhomes are similar to condos in that they are not free standing properties. Unlike a condo, however, a townhouse will have limited, if any, shared amenities. It is more similar to a single family home in that the townhouse may have a small piece of exterior property, giving the homeowner more flexibility (and responsibility) when it comes to exterior upgrades and upkeep. Because they are part of a connected complex, townhouses typically require homeowners’ fees.
New construction is just what it sounds like. Typically bought directly from the home builder, new construction homes are brand new and have never been lived in. Some buyers choose homes already partially built to save some money and simply customize the final touches, while others start the process from the very beginning by choosing one of many floor plans offered by the builder. You don’t have to purchase from a builder, though. You can have a builder create your dream home on property you already own. New home construction is the most customizable option, but it is often the most costly as a result. This home type may particularly appeal to those interested in modern and updated features, including high energy efficiency and green technology. Since everything is brand new and there will likely be warranties protecting the homeowner, initial maintenance costs may be lower than in older homes.
As you start down the path to home ownership, whether it’s your first home or your next home, take into account your current lifestyle needs and don’t be limited in the types of properties you consider. Whatever home type you choose though, let us be part of the journey by contacting one of our friendly loan originators today.
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