And, this is not an easy question to answer. I wrote down and thought about the pros and cons of each before buying – and I want to share what were some of my thoughts then as well as some things I've learned being a homeowner for several years now. You may come to a different point of view – and I would welcome hearing it and the why behind it!
|Little to no outside maintenance||Monthly association dues|
|No large-scale outside repairs to budget||Occasional assessments|
|Often house older residents (quieter)||Sometimes management or board slow to move|
|May have pets||Need to stay within rules/regulations|
|Lower cost to own||Limit on pets|
|Easy to maintain||Can hear neighbors through walls|
|Lower utility bills||Bad management or board|
|No mowing or shoveling||Don't appreciate as fast as single-family homes|
|No landscaping||Exteriors must be “uniform”|
|Board/management company can assist with repairs||Not as much house|
|Chance to meet more residents||Sometimes harder to sell|
|Opportunity to be involved on the board|
|More community feel|
|Home is stand-alone||Need more tools|
|Yard is yours||Have to manage exterior|
|Can make loud noises in house||High-cost repairs (roof, siding, doors, etc)|
|No limit on pets||Often higher utility bills|
|Do anything to your landscaping||Lots of hours to keep up|
|Add on – remodel without approvals from board||Must mow, shovel, paint, water…|
|Appraise faster – sell easier||Harder to just leave if traveling a lot|
Of course, not exhaustive – but pros and cons are always a good step in making a decision. For me, the townhome was just more attractive of an option.
But, now, let's consider costs. And, this isn't as easy – because every place is different. For the sake of argument and consideration, I'm going to do rough estimates about what things might cost in my area.
|Dues||$ 181.00||Maintanence||$ 100.00|
|Utilities||$ 200.00||Utilities||$ 250.00|
|Cable||$ 0||Cable||$ 0|
|Taxes||$ 150.00||Taxes||$ 183.00|
|Mortgage||$ 1,100.00||Mortgage||$ 1,500.00|
|TOTAL||$ 1631.00||TOTAL||$ 2033.00|
Of course, these costs are pretty simplified and ball-park. But, we can assume that most single-family homes are going to pay higher taxes (depending on location), higher mortgage (larger home) and will likely pay more in utilities (larger home).
Our tallies do not take into consideration the idea of deferred maintenance on things such as roofs, siding, etc. Whereas a townhome owner's dues go towards “reserves” for the association – the single-family home owner does not have this luxury and will end up paying a lump sum in one sitting when repairs need to be made. Associations do impose assessments from time to time to get caught up on reserves or to pay for a capital project (which just happened to us) – all in all though – it's up to the single-family owner to be saving for the large future expenses.
I'll let my hypothetical numbers speak for themselves. There are probably more scientific and better cost-analysis ways to go about this – but this has been good enough for me.
What are your thoughts? Do you live in a townhome or single-family home? Which do you feel is the cheaper one?