Real estate investors, property owners, and landlords need to take some time to think about which property they should buy. Not all houses are the same, and each one of them can bring you different benefits and disadvantages. One of the most difficult decisions for people is whether they should buy a single-family home or a townhouse.

Both options are beneficial for some people, so choosing one can be highly stressful. However, instead of thinking about which alternative is best, you should think about which one suits you better.

Not all people can take advantage of townhouses, while others wouldn't be comfortable in single-family houses. Deciding in a rush only brings problems, so you shouldn't pay for anything before being fully sure that you want the property you are buying.

If you are wondering if you should get a townhouse or a single-family home, this is your page! Here, we tell you the main benefits of each option and recommend what to do depending on your situation. Read this page if you want to buy the best property for yourself!

What Makes Townhouses Different from Single-Family Houses?

Although there are many of them across the U.S, many people don't know what townhouses are. A townhouse is a small and narrow building with multiple stories attached to other properties on the same street (in some cities, like Manhattan, townhouses and brownstones are the closest that residents can get to the experience of living in a single-family home).

Considering that, the main difference between houses and townhouses is that townhouses are smaller and attached to other buildings, while houses are bigger and offer more privacy. However, even if you own a townhouse, you can't do everything you want with it.

Every townhouse in your street is under the management of the Homeowners Association (HOA) of that zone. Therefore, you have to pay HOA fees from time to time if you want to keep living in that townhouse. Paying HOA fees gives you benefits, though; one of them is, for example, that the homeowner's association takes care of the maintenance of the property.

Apart from that, the HOA also makes sure the outdoor space of your property is clean enough to fit the aesthetic of the townhouse community. Yes, you are part of townhouse communities when buying a townhouse, but the other townhouse owners may not bother you unless you disturb them or damage the street's aesthetic.

Townhouses are common in bigger cities, and they are most likely occupied by people looking for an entry-level property or a place that doesn't take a lot of money from them.

When you get a townhome, both the structure and the land around your property are yours. However, it's not a free-standing house.

Benefits of Getting a Townhouse

Townhouses Are Less Expensive Than Houses

As we mentioned before, living in townhouses is more affordable than getting a whole new house for yourself. Although townhomes are not that expensive in the first place, you still can save a lot of money because of HOA'S rules. The reason for that is that you don't have to take care of your common area maintenance.

It's true that you still need to pay HOA fees, but doing it represents a considerable investment in the long run. These properties are the must-go option for people working on a limited budget. You can also live in a townhome to save money for a detached house.

You Don't Have to Worry About Exterior Maintenance

HOA rules require the HOA to take care of the maintenance of your living space, backyard areas, exterior walls, and communal spaces. Money is not the only thing you save from that, though; many people tend to stress a lot because of house maintenance, so these properties are excellent for them.

Paying an HOA fee can also bring you other benefits. Have you ever wanted to have a swimming pool or a tennis court close to you? Many people have, but they don't have the money to maintain those things. Fortunately, the HOA can solve that for you and only requires you to pay not-so-expensive fees.

Properties Keep Their Real Estate Value

Real estate investors wanting to sell their properties after a time of living there tend to struggle since the property's worth can decrease because of the house conditions.

Townhome owners don't need to worry about that, though. Since the HOA requires you to keep the building clean and free of any major or visible problems, townhomes, its common spaces, and surrounding common areas' worth don't change a lot. Therefore, you can sell it at its original price with no trouble. Additionally, townhomes have better resale value in general.

Cons of Getting a Townhouse

You Can't Repaint It or Make Any Major Change to It

Being part of a community has its pros and cons, and this is one of its disadvantages. The HOA usually wants every townhouse in the street to share the same aesthetic, so you can't repaint your property or change anything about it without the HOA's approval.

Although the HOA can make some exceptions for small changes, you can't expect it to let you change everything about the house. People who love seasonal decorations may not go for a townhouse. However, if you don't care about painting or decorating your townhouse, then you have nothing to worry about.

Townhouses Are Small and Narrow

As you know, townhomes are typically smaller than single-family homes, which is one of the reasons houses are more expensive. You must not go for a townhouse if you have a family or children since they tend to need more rooms than townhomes and other residences typically have.

Regardless of that, townhomes are perfect for people who live alone or have one or two roomies. Those roomies could also help you pay for each HOA fee, so you have to pay less money at the end of the day. Since the properties are next to other townhomes, you can't make a lot of noise.

Benefits of Getting a Single-Family Home

Houses Have a Lot of Space

Getting to why single-family homes are a nice option for you, we have space. Yes, detached homes are more expensive, but they typically have way more rooms for you to use in the way you like better. Apart from that, detached houses also tend to have more outdoor space and multiple floors.

Investors also love using a single-family house as an investment property since they have more space to offer and sell in the future. Additionally, these properties have more freedom, so your front and back yards are yours to change. However, living in urban areas also means that your neighbors can make more noise, so prepare for that.

You Can Make Any Change You Want

When you get a detached home, you may think you can't change many things about it or that it works the same as townhomes, but that couldn't be further from reality. As long as you follow local ordinances, zoning laws, and pay for property taxes, you can do anything you want in your desired location.

First-time homebuyers may not want to make a lot of changes, but growing families tend to adjust many things about the house so that it's safer for kids or offers more space to them.

Houses Give You More Privacy

Since you are not sharing walls with other people, living in a house gives you more freedom than townhomes. You, naturally, can't do things that could disturb your neighbors, but you still can make more noise than you would if you were living in a townhome with a homeowners' community.

You also have your front yard or small patio available for you to use in the way you like best. Considering how big a house can be, not many people spend time trying to see what their neighbors are doing.

Cons Of Getting a Single-Family Home

Houses Are More Expensive Than Townhouses

Although having more space and freedom is excellent and significantly better if you get free-standing homes, houses are way more expensive than townhomes. You don't have to pay for HOA fees, so that's an expense you don't have to worry about, but you still need to save some money before buying a full house.

However, even if you don't have HOA fees, the additional square footage that a house gives you comes for a price. You can always ask for a bank loan if you have a good credit score.

You Have to Take Care of Your House's Maintenance

One of the reasons why townhouses tend to be more affordable when you compare townhouses vs houses is home maintenance. You are not part of a community when you get a house, so HOA rules can neither limit nor benefit you. House owners have to take care of their house's maintenance and cleaning, and properties can stay dirty if you leave them as is.

Real Estate Value Can Go Down

The only reason some investors prefer going for townhomes to houses is that single-family homes' value can go down at any time. Homeowners are the only ones responsible for maintenance, so if they don't address the property's issues, they can make the house's worth go down.

Thanks to that, some investors get houses to address any problem they have to then sell the property. Going through this process is not something bad, but it still takes more time than just selling a townhouse.

Townhouse VS House - Final Verdict

As we mentioned at the beginning of this page, it's not about which option is better but about which one is best for you. People must analyze what option suits their budgets and needs in the best way. Choosing one of the two in a rush can cause some people a lot of trouble.

People who don't need a lot of square footage and that don't want to take care of things such as lawn care or snow removal may want to get a townhouse. When you do so, you may also get subscriptions to gyms, tennis courts, and other amenities.

However, if you don't like to share walls or to be in close proximity to other people, it's best if you get a house. You have more land to work with and a front yard to use in any way you want, so it's perfect if you have the money to get it and maintain it.

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!