Townhome vs Standalone Family house

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Kluch, Apr 14, 2015.

  1. Kluch

    Kluch Member

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    I'm interested in getting feedback from anyone who's owned/lived in both or either. The wifey and I are getting ready to buy a house here soon when our lease is up and we've been debating between a standalone family home or something like a townhouse. We currently live in a one bedroom apartment and we're expecting a baby in the next couple of months so another bedroom or two is a must. We're relatively young (in our mid-late 20's) and I like the idea of a townhome because it's (generally speaking) less responsibility... on the other hand being a musician and wanting to have a room to jam in, makes me want to have a stand alone home. I realize there's going to have to be compromises at some point, but from those with experience what say ye? Any advice or stuff I should keep in mind between the two?
     
  2. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    For a musician. A single family detached home, hands down!

    My first home was a fixer upper, even though I could have had a loaded, brand new townhouse for the same money. In the long run, the single family home appreciated much faster and of course, I could play my amps any time I wanted to.

    The smart way to buy, is to find a lot that you love and build stick or Foremost modular. Build 2X6 exterior walls not 2X4.

    Building, you gain 15-30% equity as soon as you have your occupancy permit.

    Either way, buy/build within your means.

    The house you can afford comfortably on a 15-20 year note will be much easier to keep if theres any kind of change in your income down the road.

    Every real estate office and every courthouse has what is known as The Lusk Directory.
    It tells you who is paying taxes on any property.

    I used it to find my lots. Called up the owners and asked if they would consider selling.
    Saved realtor fees and got two adjacent lots that weren't even listed on the market.

    The modular kit 23 years ago was $44K, the finished house was $120K
    Two 10 acre lots for $118K combined.

    Property is now worth about $750K
     
  3. mikebat

    mikebat Member

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    This is coming from a person who prefers stand alone homes, so take this with that grain of salt.

    Regarding responsibility, it is the same, it's just that in a twon home complex you have rules (not set by you) that you have to live by. I suppose you say less responsibility because there may be owner fees which take care of grass cutting/maintenance. Don't forget to include those fees in the monthly expenses of your personal budget. They can turn a cheaper home into a the same monthly cost as a more expensive stand alone home, and when it comes time to sell, you will have built less equity, and not make as much money on the sale of your home.

    If the idea of your grass being cut for you is important, you can have that done at a stand alone home too.

    The biggest issue I have is that when you live in a multiple family dwelling, you need to accept others making decisions which impact you personally and financially. Sure neighbors affect you in stand alone homes, but nowhere to the same extent.

    I just prefer to be as much my own master as possible.
     
  4. H. Mac

    H. Mac Member

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    I like owning a house. For the most part, maintenance and general fixing up is enjoyable, and not overly time-consuming.
     
  5. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    Do not ignore the area impacted by the Nashville Flood a few years ago.
    Steer clear of anything in that area and look for high ground.

    I cannot stress this enough!

    Also as a young couple, buy with your head, not your heart.

    The smallest house in a great neighborhood can always be added onto.

    The house that looks like someone should bulldoze it, right on the edge of commercial
    is likely pure gold in the long term.

    I found an old beat up, 1 bedroom house, no one wanted on 11 acres.
    Could have had it for $90K. The wife said she couldn't live like that. Grrrrr!
    The property went mid rise office commercial and sold for $1 Mil per acre just 10 years later.

    Grrrrrrrrrrr!
     
  6. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    I've lived in multi-tenant complexes a number of times in my life. I prefer not to.

    After both living in 4000+ sq ft homes in the past, we bought one with 1550 sq ft on an acre. It is just us, so plenty big, and having the bigger lot is nice. Room for gardening, dogs, etc. Would be pretty limited if we went condo.
     
  7. Bob Maximus

    Bob Maximus Silver Supporting Member

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    Truth. Check the 100 yr flood plain for the property. It is probably available online. Considering the rain we've been getting and are expecting to get, checking the flood plain would probably be in my top 5 things to look at.

     
  8. T Dizz

    T Dizz Member

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    sharing a wall with your neighbor? ... no thanks.

    We have full on band practices in the basement of our house and never had a complaint.
     
  9. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    As a young couple, your first home will probably not be your last home.
    This is why you need to be keenly focused on investment potential and equity growth.

    For you and others following the thread, these are the very best.
    Not sure if they have a dealer that far South, but it will give you food for thought.
    They are the best because with 2X6 exterior walls, average utilities with be 1/3 of conventional 2X4 builds.
    http://www.foremosthomes.com/
     
  10. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    Also, if you get paid every two weeks like a lot of people.
    Set up your mortgage with an equity accelerator program.
    You pay 1 month up front in advance, then they take a 1/2 payment
    from there, every 2 weeks. Much easier on the budget and builds equity faster.
    You pay interest each month on the number of days between payments.
    The bank makes the most money from you on a 30 day schedule.
    If you pay every two weeks, you cut that down to a 14-15 day cycle, so they
    make less.
     
  11. kcprogguitar

    kcprogguitar Member

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    And you actually think you'll have time to rock out loudly with a baby in the house? I'll bet mama has a say in that.
     
  12. Kluch

    Kluch Member

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    I've definitely kept this in mind as I've been looking. Came upon one house with flood insurance... I've since stayed away from anything like that.

    Very interesting. I'll have to look into this more.

    Yea.. that's why I really want a place with a bonus room or basement...
     
  13. sundog964

    sundog964 Supporting Member

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    I've lived in both, and it really depends on your planned level of involvement.

    Townhouses, less maintenance, but fees to cover common repairs and upkeep. You share a wall or two, so you will need to be aware of noise issues. Also, you can't always make improvements either inside or outside without approval of the HOA. But low to no maintenance, and usually kept up nice.

    For a single family you spend time and money for everything, landscaping, paint, interior. But you usually can do what you want to the house. More freedom therefore more responsibility.

    Neighbors are important. When looking do it on a weekend when people are out. Talk to the neighbors. And do your research, check police reports in the area. Check for flooding.

    Good luck it is exciting to buy your first house. The first year or two you might be a little house poor, but it goes away pretty quick.
     
  14. dirk_benedict

    dirk_benedict Supporting Member

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    Single family house every day of the week and twice on Sunday...especially if you have a young child/children in the mix. Despite being tiny, babies require an high amount of infrastructure....you will want/use that extra space.

    BTW - when you have a crying fussy young baby around, having an excuse to go outside to do maintenance on the house can be a godsend!
     
  15. guitarz1972

    guitarz1972 Member

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    Have lived in both. Townhome is great when you're single and enjoy having relatively few responsibilities. My 'hood was pretty much single people in their early 20s, and a few widowed/divorced retirees. Not much of a 'family atmosphere.'

    A house, on the other hand...becomes YOURS and YOUR FAMILY'S in a much fuller, rewarding way. IMO.

    One of the things to consider about townhouses: Homeowners Associations. They are, by and large, awful. You either pay a lot per month for a management company to do a reasonable job maintaining things around the neighborhood, or else you have individual homeowners banding together to do it in order to keep costs down (then it gets very disorganized, a bit political and very ineffective, usually). You really have to consider the HOA with a townhome decision.
     
  16. stratovarius

    stratovarius Supporting Member

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    We live in a condo. I have had to shovel snow five or six times this year because they show up too late to do us any good. I have to rake leaves and trim hedges, because they only do it once a year. As far as maintenance costs go, I have come to dread the phrase "special assessment". That's all for $380/month - what a bargain!
     
  17. kwicked

    kwicked Supporting Member

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    Shared walls and musicians are not a good match.
     
  18. Yer Blues

    Yer Blues Member

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    I like living in a house better. Living in a house I've never had the cops stop by or anyone tell me to turn it down during band practices or jams with drums. When I was in apartments I'd play acoustic and there were a few times people asked me to stop for various reasons. It was annoying.

    I don't really like the extra maintenance of a home, but it's not too bad considering I have a smaller house on a smaller lot.
     
  19. Nevets

    Nevets Supporting Member

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    Townhouse for me, but then again I don't have a spare 1,000,000 kicking around to buy a single detached in this city. For us it's worked out great and we have a small complex where all the neighbors know each other and get along well.
     
  20. Bob Maximus

    Bob Maximus Silver Supporting Member

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    I guess I must have been lucky when I lived in a townhome in Edinborough, PA. Double brick walls and no HOA. End unit. That type of townhome probably doesn't exist anymore. Never heard the neighbors, and they never heard my METAL band.
     

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