Buy a Townhouse – A Good Move for a Single Homebuyer
If you are a single homebuyer, an excellent choice in real estate would be to buy a townhouse. Since most of the maintenance will be done by one person rather than two, many single buyers prefer to buy a townhouse or condominium where some or all of the exterior maintenance, landscaping, snow removal, etc. is handled by the homeowner’s association. The community aspect of these types of homes and the sense of safety by having neighbors close at hand can be a big advantage, especially for single homebuyers. Communities with recreational facilities also provide a means to meet neighbors and to escape from isolation which can sometimes be a part of single life.
Alternatively, single homebuyers may prefer to opt for lower maintenance single-family homes (those with vinyl siding, brick, vinyl windows, etc.) to decrease the time devoted to maintenance. Keep in mind that large lots with large amounts of grass will take time and effort to maintain. In addition, lots with trees will require raking and bagging; this can be a hardship when you buy a townhouse without lawn maintenance included. Garden beds will require weeding and mulching. And snow removal on a long driveway can be expensive and/or labor intensive. This is one of the key advantages when you buy a townhouse – no maintenance!
Many single homebuyers are single parent families. While they might initially think they will require a smaller space when they buy a townhouse, it may require virtually the same size home as married buyers.
It is important to consider future resale and not just current needs when you buy a townhouse. A common mistake is to consider only current needs. A one bedroom, two bath single-family home with a huge great room and kitchen may be perfect for you, but it will be next to impossible to sell. When you buy a townhouse, it would be far better to have an additional bedroom or two sit empty (or use as an office, exercise room or even storage) than to not have it at all. As an alternative to buy a townhouse, a single buyer may want to consider a condominium, where one bedroom units are more common and thus easier to sell. However, the high fees associated with condominiums can often impair resale.
Considerations for choosing to be a single homeowner impact areas beyond repairs and maintenance. A single income (rather than the dual incomes with many couples) will affect mortgage qualifications. This may have an effect on the amount of mortgage available to a single homebuyer–simply because there may be less total income available. Singles can improve their ability to qualify by keeping a close tab on their budgets and other debt.
With a lower income will come a lower price range. This is one of the best reasons to buy a townhouse. For the same amount of square footage, you can get far more bang for your buck when you buy a townhouse. Be careful to factor in the HOA (homeowner’s association) fees when calculating the total monthly outlay. Some communities charge a substantial fee. After the heavy snows last winter, many are adding a special assessment. Ask your Realtor for these details when you buy a townhouse; you will be glad to have her expertise.