Key Highlights

  • Factors such as budget, space and privacy needs, home maintenance requirements ought to be discussed
  • Clients may need your help in doing this comparison to determine right fit for them

First-time buyers may need your help when deciding whether to buy a single-family house or a townhouse. Here are some things to go over with them:

  1. Compare how much each will cost over the short-term (upfront) and long-term
    1. Townhouses are usually more affordable and cost less than single-family houses. Lower sales prices = lower down payments
    2. Ongoing, long-term costs in townhome communities are usually less than single-family costs on an ongoing, longer-term basis. Why? Townhouses are usually smaller plus some of the maintenance fees may be included in townhouse community home owners association (HOA) fees
  2. Maintenance and upkeep costs
    1. Owners of single-family homes have all the upkeep and home maintenance requirements on their shoulders alone. Think landscaping costs, smoke detector batteries, air filters, roofs, unclogged gutters, etc.
    2. Townhouses are usually part of a larger community homeowners association (HOA). That community association handles many, if not most, exterior tasks. Think landscaping, roofs, outside painting, and maintenance of all community-shared areas.
  3. Space and flexible freedom of movement
    1. Most single-family houses have more square footage, more bedrooms and more privacy for everyone living in the home spaces. The result? Everyone can do what they want in that home space unless the house is a member of a homeowner’s association. HOA rules and restrictions take precedent over individual homeowner’s wants.
    2. On the other hand, townhouses are smaller (meaning less flexible and/or private spaces within the home) and owners have less freedom of choice to do things or make changes to both the exterior and interior of the townhouse. Private ownership preferences do not take precedence over HOA rules and regulations…HOAs have the authority to decide yes or no to homeowners’ requests to renovate, enlarge or change their townhomes.
  4. Closeness with/distance from neighbors
    1. Single-family detached homes offer more space between and more privacy from neighbors around the property. Less noise usually comes with that space.
    2. Townhomes share walls with at least one and often several neighbors simultaneously. Those shared walls translate into hearing what music they’re listening to and even smelling what they’re preparing for dinner regardless of how good the insulation is.

Remember, agents, honesty is always the best policy when discussing the pros and cons of both single-family and town homes. Whether or not your client decides to go ahead with one or the other transaction is up to them. Chances are your client will stay with you because of your honesty and forthrightness to help them execute their decision.


Thanks to HousingWire.




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