Homebuyers opting to buy multifamily style housing (condos, townhomes) do so for reasons that include budget, location, lifestyle, convenience, and the prospect of less maintenance. When considering what type of multifamily home to buy, however, it pays to do a bit of homework on these different types of purchases.
An empty nester looking to downsize will often go from a single-family house to a condo or townhome. A condominium (condo) is a re-sellable unit within a larger structure, sometimes several stories and often within a high-rise building. They may feel like apartments because of shared walls and elevators, but the space inside their unit is their own, and not a landlord’s.
Of all the types of multifamily homes on the market, condos require the least amount of maintenance. While you need to maintain the interior of your own unit, a leaky roof, peeling paint, window replacements, and garbage pick-up are left to the property manager or condo association to fix using funds from the monthly maintenance fees you pay. The more amenities in the building or on the property, the higher the maintenance fees. Many homebuyers buy condos so they may dispense with gym memberships, instead opting to use the complex’s pool and fitness center.
Along with all those privileges come restrictions, however. Even though you buy the air between the walls of your unit, you may not be able to customize it the way you want. Privacy may be compromised as well, since living is fairly close-in and all amenities are shared with others.
By contrast, townhomes are small-footprint dwellings, using multiple floors and shared exterior walls with neighboring homes within the community. Some townhouses offer small yards or patios but can be much less expensive than single-family homes with bonafide yards.
For many, townhomes are a great choice. You usually get more space than a condo offers and townhome communities generally allow property owners a bit more autonomy when it comes to things like the color of your shutters or front door, even though HOA-approval would apply. Many townhome communities offer proprietary garages within the same unit and share garage walls only, making the privacy aspect a bit more palatable.
Townhouse and condo complex maintenance fees can increase over the years as the property ages — something to be considered before purchasing. To make the right choice, consider your budget, how much square footage you’ll require and how much savings you’ll have to put toward things like repairs and maintenance.
Both these types of home purchases are often location-based as well. The closer to city amenities you are, generally the more costly the property of any type. Eliminating a commute, and walking to shops and restaurants as well as entertainment are all attractive qualities of many multifamily locations.