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Should You Buy a Townhouse?

One of the many benefit s of choosing to live in Markham, Richmond Hill or anywhere in York Region, is the wide variety of housing types in the area. There’s everything from urban condos to century farm homes in the country. So, if you’re thinking you might buy a townhouse, the good news is that you’ll find many options here. Unfortunately, with all the other options for housing styles that you can find in the area, you might start wondering if a townhome is right for you.

4 Things to Know Before Buying a Townhouse

If we categorize most home types into three main groups, they would be:

  • Detached – including detached and semi-detached homes
  • Townhouses – including freehold and condominium townhomes
  • Condominium apartments

Just as they are listed above, townhomes tend to fall in between detached homes and condominium apartments in many ways. Primarily, they tend to cost more than a condo and less than a detached home. They also usually include some outdoor space, sometimes including smaller front and backyards. Of course condos apartments have no dedicated outdoor space, and detached homes will have larger front and back yards. Finally, Townhouses will generally have more floor space than condos, but generally less floorspace than detached homes.

1. The Difference Between Freehold & Condominium Townhomes

Freehold townhouses are similar to detached homes in that there are no common areas, maintenance fees or condo association fees. You are responsible for maintaining your property, including thigs like snow removal and lawn maintenance.

Like regular condominium apartments, condominium townhouses often share common areas, including yards that may be attached to your unit. You pay fees to maintain the common areas, including snow removal and lawn care, and any other shared amenities.

2. Privacy

Townhouses are often connected to other townhouses on two sides. That is far fewer than most condominium apartments, and allows for quick access to the outdoors in both the front and back of the home. On the other hand, with doorways that may be just a few feet from the neighbour’s, there is not the same level of privacy that you can get from even a semi-detached house.

3. Maintenance

Maintaining a townhouse is usually much easier than maintaining a detached house. Even if you choose a freehold townhouse, the size of the property makes it relatively easy to maintain — and you get to enjoy you own outdoor space.

4. Costs

As we said, townhouse prices generally fall between those of detached home and condo apartments. However, when choosing between freehold and condominium townhouses, you should look closely at the added costs of each one.

While freehold townhouses don’t have maintenance or condominium fees, you may need to buy things like snow shovels, lawn mowers, sidewalk salt and other ‘out-of-pocket’ expenses. The maintenance fees of a condominium townhouse replace out-of-pocket maintenance expenses. While the fees afford you many advantages, if they are too high, they can be a burden on your monthly budget.

Another thing to look for when buying a townhouse is the renovations that previous owners have made. To learn more, check out our article 6 Home Renovations that Add the Most Value.