08 Jun Is Townhome Living For You?
Townhome living has become very popular for retirees, empty nesters, and first-time homebuyers! If you are considering the townhome lifestyle, here are some things to help make your decision.
Are you ready for townhome living?
Townhome living can be quite an adjustment. It’s important to carefully consider key factors before making the move. For many buyers, it’s a wonderful adjustment which provides the feeling of an ‘unburdened lifestyle’. However, some townhome buyers experience a feeling of ‘being trapped’ and regret their decision. I’ve met townhome owners from each side of the fence and listened carefully to their individual experiences. Below is a list of the most important factors to consider before deciding to move to a townhome.
Your current lifestyle, or the lifestyle you desire, may work well in a townhome. Consider how often you travel. It’s nice to just go away and not worry about mowing the lawn or shoveling snow. Do you have a second home in a warm location? If you are gone for long stretches of time, owning a townhome can be more practical. Do you have hobbies or interests which take a lot of time? You may simply not want to upkeep the outside maintenance of your property.
Home Maintenance, Snow and Lawn Care
Living in a townhome usually means all exterior maintenance is done as part of the associated services and fees. Most associations include an extensive array of maintenance. These services include shrub/tree trimming and replacement, gutter cleaning, landscaping rock/mulch updating, fertilizing/sodding the grass, raking leaves, driveway seal-coating, driveway/sidewalk/patio repair or replacement, roof and siding maintenance, caulking, front door painting, and overhead garage door repairs or replacement. However, not all associations cover all of these maintenance items. You will want to carefully read the documents for your association which outline the items covered by your particular association.
Privacy and Outdoor Space
How much do you value your outdoor space and feeling of privacy? Living in a townhome means living more closely with others than in a single family home. Some townhomes are designed and built with residents’ privacy and personal space in mind. Although, that is the exception rather than the rule. Usually, in a townhome setting, you will experience less privacy living closer to your neighbors. You will likely feel this closeness in many aspects including on your patio or deck, in the common parking area or guest parking, when walking in the common space or any of the other shared amenities. Many people select townhome living precisely because it will allow them to meet and get to know their neighbors. This allows for a strong sense of community!
HOA Fees and Rules
Not all townhome associations are created equal or cover the same expenses. When buying into a common interest community (townhome/condo), the buyer gets a copy of all governing documents and has 10 days to review them. If you don’t like what you discover, you can rescind your offer and keep your earnest money. It’s important to read those documents in depth. The following are the most common items which are covered: lawn care, snow removal, grounds maintenance, exterior building maintenance, hazard insurance, professional management, and water/sewer. Less common services include heat, air conditioning, and cable/internet.
Another important note, townhome association fees include a portion going to reserves. This is an amount set aside from every monthly association fee to invest for long-term projects. Reserves are in place to cover insurance deductibles and unexpected expenses. It’s important to use your 10-day time frame to review how much money your association has in reserves. When working with buyers purchasing into an association, we always focus on the financial health.
Current Market Conditions
When thinking about moving to a townhome, it’s wise to consider the current market conditions. Right now, the inventory level of homes for sale is low. This translates to a higher value for your current home. Of course, it’s wise to look at your own personal finances. Many times the move to a townhome can mean saving money in the long run. This is especially true when you factor in all the future maintenance which will be covered for a fixed fee.
If you have any questions, please let us know! We’re always happy to help.