Saturday, February 20, 2021 / by Teresa Dipeso
With people busier than ever, many Jersey Shore home buyers are looking closely at purchasing town homes rather than single family properties. Before you begin your home search, here’s everything you need to know about buying a townhouse in 2021.
Two Main Types of Town Homes
These are the two main types of town houses, and understanding the differences between them can set you down the right path and save you a lot of time while you search.
Fee Simple Town Homes
Fee simple town homes may be attached but the home owner owns the land out right. They do not have a “common space” generally found in traditional town homes or condominium style properties. Nothing is co-owned or co-managed with other nearby owners. The owner is responsible for the upkeep including exterior maintenance, landscaping, pool/spa maintenance.
Fee Simple townhouses typically give the home owner control of the interior and exterior of the home, giving you the freedom to make changes to your property as you see fit. They usually come with zero condo fees, no risks of special assessments, and more maintenance work for the owners. More on these pros and cons later.
“HOA” Town Homes
Town homes that belong to a Home Owners Association typically give you ownership rights to everything inside the unit’s structure, leaving the exterior ownership and maintenance to the condo association. This means additional fees for owners every year, but also less maintenance work to do on your property. If you’re moving from a detached home where the upkeep proved to be overwhelming, a condo townhouse might just be the perfect fit.
Unlike fee simple, these types of townhouses may also come with shared amenities including pool, spa, tennis courts, gyms in their common areas. You’ll be paying for the upkeep, which is something to consider when evaluating properties.
Typically, townhouses fall somewhere in between detached homes and condos in terms of average pricing. In general, townhouses offer more space than most condos while not having as high a price tag as a detached home, making them a great middle-ground for potential buyers. If it’s a mix of space, location, and affordability you’re after, a townhouse is a good option to consider.
Besides being an affordable alternative to a single family home, town homes offer perks that should be considered when searching for your next home. One of the significant advantages that townhouse owners often point to is the low maintenance lifestyle of owning a condominium townhouse. If you’re moving from a single family property, the reduction of maintenance work is desirable. You will quickly notice that some of the joys of homeownership, like cleaning your gutters and power-washing your driveway, weren’t joys at all.
Another major perk of buying into a condominium townhouse is the shared amenities. Always consider which of these amenities you’ll use regularly and which you won’t, as you’ll be paying for their upkeep either way. If your townhouse includes access to a shared gym that you’ll use every day, that’s worth taking into account when looking at your budget.
Fees and special assessments are the two major expenses to watch out for when owning a townhouse, as they can add up quickly. Association fees are a monthly fee you’ll need to pay to take care of any maintenance, amenities, and general upkeep.
Keep in mind that you do get something for these fees. While you could see extra costs as a negative, it doesn’t have to be viewed this way, especially if you love the lack of maintenance work and use any amenities regularly. HOA fees generally cover fire, flood and liability insurances, exterior maintenance and lighting and landscaping. These are costs you would incur if purchasing a single family home.
Special assessments may also hurt your pocketbook, and they can come on quite suddenly. It’s important to make sure any home owner association you buy into has a healthy contingency reserve which will be indicated in the budget Read through HOA documents to see if any major repairs have been done recently or have been discussed.
Lastly, shared walls and closer outdoor boundaries with your neighbors are to be expected when you opt for a townhouse over a detached home, but that shouldn’t necessarily be a dealbreaker for you. If you’re moving from a traditional condo, you’ll be thrilled to have no footsteps above you, which can be a real nuisance in a wood frame building. End units will only share one wall with a neighbor and are often very desirable in townhome communities.
Overall, townhouses in 2021 will attract plenty of buyers and help drive some of the hottest real estate markets at the Shore even higher. The lifestyle, space, and low maintenance requirements make townhouses an excellent choice for new families and couples looking to downsize. To see what’s available in your market, search Shore Town Homes here and call our team to see these properties in person.