What's Best For First-Time Buyers: Condos, Townhomes or Single-Family Homes?
First-time homebuyers need to weigh all the types of homes available to them to determine which offers the best ability to meet their current and future needs. The three most popular options are single-family homes, condos, and townhomes.
Single-family homes are stand-alone structures. Borrowers purchase the property they are on along with the house itself. Condos are a bit different. The buyer purchases the structure itself, but other property, such as the yard and other property, is shared with other condo owners in the community. Townhomes are a slightly different version in that they may be attached to other properties, but the townhome buyer typically owns both the structure and the property it sits on.
If you're ready to buy your first home, keep reading to find out if single-family homes, condos, or townhomes are best for first-time buyers.
Are Condos Good For First-Time Buyers?
Condominiums are residential communities where each unit is separate and owned by an individual. Condo owners maintain responsibility for almost all condo repairs. They typically pay a condo association fee, which contributes to the costs of maintaining shared space.
These are areas of the condo community with shared ownership with other condo owners and may include common areas, exterior areas of the community such as pools or fitness spaces, and other amenities. Condo owners share responsibility for these spaces with other owners in the community.
Pros of Condos
Condos have many exciting benefits. Typically, they offer more amenities than single-family homes, such as shared swimming pools, rec centers, and fitness centers. Owners may be able to style their condo the way they want, though some restrictions may apply. They also require less maintenance, especially when it comes to snow and grass care. Condos may be more affordable than purchasing a larger townhome or a single-family home, but this depends on the location.
Condos are everywhere, but they are often in the heart of urban areas. When in these locations, they may provide owners with good access to the city's amenities, transportation, and commuting opportunities.
Cons of Condos
Condo communities typically have numerous regulations. This may include things like what an owner can do with the outside of their home or rules about living arrangements. Community associations may place numerous rules on these properties, including whether they can be rented and what type of pets are allowed.
They also have the least amount of privacy since they may be stacked on top of each other or located in a tighter, smaller lot. That's also why most condos have a smaller footprint with less overall square footage. Another critical factor to keep in mind is selling a condo. Typically, condos are more challenging to sell overall.
Are Townhomes Good For First-Time Buyers?
The townhome design allowed community builders to create a more densely populated area by placing homes next to each other, often with shared outside walls. Today, townhomes come in numerous styles and shapes with various layouts overall. The only true characteristic that defines a townhome from other structures is that they share walls with their neighbours.
Another factor is what is owned by the buyer. Typically, the townhome buyer owns the structure and the land it sits on, much like a single-family home. It's important to note that not all townhomes have outdoor spaces, like front and back yards or property to the side of the townhome.
Pros of Townhomes
Townhomes have several benefits, starting with their affordability compared to single-family homes, even if they have a similar amount of square footage as a detached house. That's because people live very close to each other.
Townhomes are smaller than homes, typically requiring less overall maintenance. In some areas, a community association may exist, and in those areas, exterior maintenance is covered by association fees. Some townhome communities have onsite amenities, such as a pool or a fitness area, though they may be shared with others in the development.
Cons of Townhomes
Many townhomes have community association fees and restrictions, though this doesn't apply to all properties. If there is an association, that may limit some of the ways a person may use the property, such as having pet restrictions and limitations on renting out the property.
Many townhomes are in smaller, denser areas than single-family homes. As a result, there is less privacy in these homes. It's also likely that the neighbours will be very close, which may mean dealing with more noise than in a detached house.
Also important to consider is multi-floor living. Typically, townhomes have two or three levels instead of being more spread out to save footprint space. That may be difficult for some who do not want to deal with steps.
Are Single-Family Homes Good For First-Time Buyers?
All single-family homes are detached, which means the owners do not share any walls with other property owners. It's an independent residential structure that sits on the property buyer's land. Typically, a home like this has a single kitchen and has unshared utilities with others in the area.
Pros of Single-Family Homes
Single-family homes offer more privacy because the neighbours are further away. There are no shared spaces, which means noise levels may be lower. Often, these homes have square footage and more storage space than other types. They may also have multiple exits into them. Single-family homeowners also can update and change their homes to fit their needs.
Cons of Single-Family Homes
Some single-family homes are in community associations, which come with restrictions on use and, in some cases, fees to pay for area maintenance. There's also more responsibility in maintaining this type of home than others. Of all the housing options listed here, single-family homes also tend to cost substantially more than other property types. One of the reasons for this is their larger size and, in some cases, more outdoor property to own.
Which Property Type Will Be Your First Home?
There's no hard rule about which property style may be best for first-time homebuyers. Buyers need to think about their homebuying budget, where they hope to live, and the amount of space they need when making this decision. They may also need to consider privacy, maintenance, and association costs when determining which home is suitable for their needs.