Pros and Cons of a townhome versus a patio home
Purchasing a home is one of life’s defining steps. This is true if it’s your first home, your dream home, or a place to settle down and retire. Townhomes and patio homes are popular options for homebuyers who want a great deal on a quality home that will still offer an element of privacy.
But the differences between these two very similar types of houses can be confusing. In many ways, they are a lot alike, but they are built with some key differences.
A patio home is a single-family home with one or 1-1/2 stories that does not share any common walls with its neighbor. Patio homes generally do not have a basement, and they are commonly found in lovely, maintenance-free communities…which is the primary difference between a patio home and a traditional single-family home: all the maintenance is provided by the HOA…snow removal, landscape upkeep, exterior home repair (including roofs), fencing upkeep, and so on.
Patio homes generally have similarly designed homes built near each other. They usually have a two-car attached garage, and the owners generally own the lot the house sits on. Many patio homes include a fenced-in backyard, which is why some refer to them as garden homes. Patio homes are usually more affordable than traditional homes, but in today’s robust metro Denver real estate market, this is not necessarily the case. The HOA’s in patio home communities almost always have a lengthy list of dos and don’ts, and these should be considered carefully before a purchase.
The pros of owning a patio home include: Proximity to neighbors can mean access to a close-knit community; exterior home maintenance and landscaping will be minimal; they offer a larger living space than a condo or apartment; they are generally more affordable; patio home communities tend to be quiet and upper-class; these communities almost always offer a spacious recreation or community center with swimming pools, tennis courts, and even golf courses; patio home communities are also nearly always close to shopping, dining and entertainment amenities.
Cons of owning a patio home: Close neighbors can infringe on privacy and seclusion; HOA rules might limit what you can and can’t choose to do with your home; you will have expensive monthly HOA fees; patio home yards tend to be on the smaller side; being close to a neighborhood can result in unwanted noise.
So now let’s move on to townhomes. A townhome is technically an attached home, either one or two-story, and with no homes above or below you, as you will find in condominium enclaves. Townhomes look like apartments from the outside, but they offer a more “house like” experience on the inside. They have front (and sometimes back or side entrances), they usually include an attached garage, and the interiors are surprisingly spacious. A two-story townhome will usually have a full bath upstairs and at least a half-bath on the main level.
Townhomes are similar to apartments because owning a townhome doesn’t usually require dealing with outside maintenance, including painting and roofs. Snow removal from driveways and walkways are usually included within the HOA fee. When you own a townhome, you generally own the interior and the exterior, as opposed to a condo where you own only the interior. Townhomes will normally have a similar design style, a small yard maintained by the HOA, and common areas for swimming pools, picnic tables, tennis courts, etc.
Townhomes are generally a good investment if located in a desirable neighborhood, but like patio homes, the HOA fee can be rather large. Also, make sure your HOA rules do not impede your decision to sell your property. Ideally, purchasing the “end” townhome in a cluster is the ideal location with only one common wall with your neighbor.
The pros of owning a townhome: They’re more affordable; they come with community amenities; professionals do the exterior home maintenance and lawn upkeep for you; close neighbors facilitate a close-knit neighborhood; they are usually within walking distance of grocery stores, shops, markets, and most things you need in your everyday life; since maintenance is minimal and there’s usually security on-site, so they’re great for people who travel often.
The cons of owning a townhome: Proximity to neighbors may have undesirable downsides, such as a lack of privacy and unwanted noise; townhomes may have two stories, or even three stories, which may not be suitable for you if mobility is an issue; the cost may appreciate at a slower rate than single-family homes; HOA restrictions may limit what you can and can’t do with the property; minimal private yard space may keep you from utilizing your yard for things like barbeque grills, picnic tables and lawn chairs, and family gatherings.
In closing, do your research before choosing a townhome or a patio home. Due diligence is always paramount when buying real estate. It’s essential to be aware of your options and always do your homework before signing those all-important closing papers.