Buying A Single-Family Home Vs. Townhouse: Factors to Consider

single family home vs townhouse

Buying a home is a huge milestone in anyone’s life. It is a big decision—one that will affect you for many significant years of your life.

Whether it is your first home or a new home to start a family, a home is closer to your heart than any other inanimate object. There are many housing options available that make the decision even more challenging. If you have narrowed your prospects to a family home and a townhouse, this article will help you determine the winner in your single-family home vs. townhouse debate.

Single-Family Home


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A single-family home is a standalone home that is isolated from other houses. It is the ideal independent property that your mind conjures up when you think of a home.

Unlike townhouses, a family home does not share walls with neighboring homes. Also, family homes have to follow stiff architectural rules and can be made in the size, design, and layout of the owner’s choice.

Family homes are often large, so you have ample space, but on the downside, they are also costlier to maintain than a condo or townhouse. As it is an individual standalone property, you have to work on maintaining and caring for the property. So, maintenance work like repair, snow removal, and lawn mowing all falls on your shoulders.

Also, you do not have any shared amenities, and any amenities you have will be the ones that the house came with or those you added after buying.

As you have more space, you can add new spaces according to your desires and needs at any given time. Think garages, basements, attics, kid’s play areas, shed, and other such structures and areas.



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A townhouse is a multi-story dwelling that shares one or two exterior walls with the adjacent property. You can consider these row houses, but there are a few legal differences.

Townhouses are narrower and smaller and are often seen in rows. They are found in urban areas, mainly in the center of the town. Most townhouses come with either a front yard, patio, or backyard.

The owner of the townhouse also owns the land it sits on. But they also need to factor in the Homeowner Associations (HOAs). Homeowners must pay the HOAs a fee, as they are responsible for taking care of and maintaining the community. They supervise the common areas and make sure the community is clean.

Some HOAs also have very stringent rules regarding the exterior of the property. Some may require all townhouses to have the same exterior color, while others may have strict regulations about fencing.

This means you would need permission from your HOA for remodels and renovations. As townhouses are smaller, they are the best option for people who do not want to live in a shared apartment but do not want to maintain a large property either.

With a townhouse, you can enjoy the amenities the community offers, like fitness facilities, green spaces, and pools. You can live in a tight-knit community in areas where finding a large home is difficult.

Single-Family Home Vs. Townhouse: 7 Differences


When deciding what type of house to buy, you must consider what each one offers. If you are unable to choose between a family home and a townhouse, here is a thorough single-family home vs. townhouse comparison that will help you make the final decision.

1. Price

Price is often the defining factor when it comes to real estate. While townhouses come in a range of prices, they are still less expensive than detached houses. The cost of family homes also varies, depending on the property’s size, location, and amenities.

Townhomes are low maintenance. The HOA takes care of most of the maintenance at a low cost, even that of the property’s exterior, landscape, and lawn. But with a detached home, you will have to take care of all the maintenance, which can be a costly affair.

2. Amenities

As a townhouse has shared amenities, you can enjoy many facilities like a fitness center and pool. Also, townhouses are often located near public amenities like transportation, restaurants, and shopping centers.

Detached homes are very costly, and owning one close to the city center is out of budget for most people. Hence, family homes are often located on the outskirts of the city. As a result, finding public amenities is not that easy.

Also, the amenities in a family home are the ones that you add. You need to consider the cost of construction and maintenance and your property size when adding an amenity to your property.

3. Size

Townhouses are generally smaller, and the size is predetermined. They match the neighboring townhouses and often share walls, but they can also be detached buildings placed next to each other.

On the other hand, a family home varies significantly in size but is often large and is built on a large property, so they also have big outdoor spaces. You will have more storage space, rooms, and yard space. This large space is exceptionally beneficial for couples who plan on having a family or pets.

4. Fees

In a detached family home, you are the property owner and do not have to pay any fees. However, in a townhouse setting, although you own the land your townhouse is built on, you still have to pay ongoing fees to the HOA for the maintenance of the community and to enjoy its amenities.

5. Responsibilities

In a townhouse, your fees to the HOA cover all the upkeep and maintenance, so you are not responsible for maintaining the property. While in a family home, you are the property owner and have to undertake all the responsibilities, like mowing, repairs, and snow removal.

6. Privacy

In a family home, you do not share any walls with another property and you have a big space around your home. Moreover, you can install fences to make your property more private.

However, in a townhouse, you will share at least one of your walls with your neighbor, or you may be sandwiched between two neighbors. If your neighbors are noisy, this can turn into a nightmare.

7. Flexibility in Decorating or Renovating the Property

In a townhouse, you do not have the liberty to make structural changes. Even if you want to change the exterior paint, you must seek permission from the HOA.

In contrast, you can decorate and design your family home whenever and however you like. You have complete authority as long as you follow local zoning and ordinances laws.

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