30 Jan Am I Ready for Townhome Living? 5 Things to Consider!
Townhome Living has become very popular for Retirees and Empty Nesters! If you are wondering, “Am I Ready for Townhome Living?” there are 5 things to consider as you make the decision.
Am I Ready for Townhome Living? 5 Things to Consider!
Townhome Living can be quite an adjustment, and it’s important to consider many factors carefully before making the move. For many buyers it’s a wonderful adjustment which provides the feeling of an ‘unburdened lifestyle’ and a new sense of freedom and joy. However, some townhome buyers experience a feeling of ‘being trapped’ and regret their decision immediately. I’ve met townhome owners from each side of the fence, and listened carefully to their individual experiences. Below are the 5 most important things to consider before deciding to move to a townhome.
Lifestyle Your current lifestyle or the lifestyle you desire to have, may work well with Townhome Living. Consider things like how often you travel? It’s nice to just go away and not worry about the lawn or snow while you are gone. 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 desire to upkeep a yard and the exterior of your property. Do you live alone, do you desire to meet new friends or have more people around you on a daily basis? Then maybe a Condo or 55+ Building would be a perfect fit for you.
Home Maintenance, Snow and Lawn Care Living in a Townhome usually means all yard work, snow removal and exterior maintenance is done as part of the Association services and fees. We usually think of lawn mowing and snow shoveling as the exterior services, but most associations include an extensive array of maintenance. These services include shrub/tree trimming and replacement, gutter cleaning, landscaping rock/mulch updating, fertilizing/sodding or seeding the grass, raking leaves, driveway seal-coating, driveway/sidewalk/patio repair or replacement, Roof and Siding Maintenance, caulking, and replacement, front door painting, overhead garage door repairs or replacement, deck and deck railings painting, repair and replacement. Not all associations cover all of these maintenance items, so you will want to read carefully 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 a little more closely with others than in a single family home. Some Townhomes are designed and built with resident’s privacy and personal space in mind, but that is the exception rather than the rule. Usually, in a Townhome setting, you will experience less privacy and a feeling of living closer to your neighbors. You will likely feel this closeness in many aspects including at your front door, on your patio or deck, within your view, in the common parking area or guest parking, when walking your dog in the common space, at the pool, gym, party room or any of the other amenities. Many people select Townhome living precisely because it will allow them to meet and get to know their neighbors and feel a stronger sense of closeness or community.
HOA Fees and Rules Not all Townhome Associations are created equal and not all Townhome Associations cover the same expenses. When buying a Townhome or Condo or any property covered by an Association, the Buyer gets a copy of all governing documents and has 10 full 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. Not all Association Fees include all of the following expenses, but these 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 in Townhomes but fairly often found in Condo Association Fees include: Heat, Air Conditioning, Water/Sewer, Underground Parking and Cable/Internet.
One more important note, Townhome Association Fees also include a portion going to Reserves. This is an amount set aside from every monthly association fee paid by each owner, invested for long term projects. Reserves are in place to cover things like insurance deductibles, unexpected expenses, replacement of trees, driveways, sidewalks, decks and other large items. It’s important to use your 10 day time frame to review how much money your association has in reserves. When I’m working with buyers purchasing into an Association, I always read through the documents and focus on this aspect of the association’s financial health. If you have questions about how to evaluate the amount of reserves in a townhome association, let me know….I’ll be happy to help.
Current Market Conditions Lastly, 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 critically low, which will translate to a higher value for your current home. Also, interest rates are still very low and favorable, so you can lock in on a 4% interest rate for a Townhome you may own for the next 15-20 years. Of course it’s also wise to look at your own personal finances. Many times, the move to a Townhome can mean saving money in the long run especially when you factor in all the future maintenance which will be covered for a fixed fee.
If you have any questions, please let me know, I’m always happy to help. You can give me a call at 612-889-6496 or send an email to [email protected].