You’re ready to buy, you’ve either decided you want a townhouse or you budget has told you that is your next step, now what?
So first steps first. If you are preparing yourself to shop for a town house know that there is a large variety of townhome styles.
They come from very entry level (possibly needing work and updates) to high end luxury homes for the very wealthy. Gone are the days where “townhouses" were just the cheaper option. Over time a market of buyers has created an interest in townhouse where finishes are very luxury, finishes are high end, and everything on the exterior of the home is taken care of for them by their condo fees. It’s a lifestyle choice. It’s expensive, and not many of us head down that road.
Maybe you are of the majority, you either want a town home because the style of living relatively low maintenance fits for you, or your budget has lead you in that direction.
Shopping for any home should be enjoyable so make sure you know what to expect so there are no surprises in the midst of your “fun”. Sometimes, as with many styles of homes it is an investor that may own the property you have an interest in seeing. Don’t be surprised if there are tenants that they ask you for 24 hours notice of your request to see the home.
Next consider freehold or condo. A freehold home is one with no additional fees. You, as the owner, are responsible for the maintenance of the property inside and out. If it needs windows or a roof, that is your financial responsibility. The grass needs cutting in your front yard, that is your time and lawnmower doing the work. But if it is a condominium then much of the exterior work and maintenance that may be required day to day or over the years (like a roof) will be taken care of through the condo corporation and the fees that you pay on a monthly basis. Depending on your stage in life, your lifestyle and expectations of your home and demands on your time this may be just the perfect arrangement for you. What’s the downside? Perhaps you pay the fees for 5 years, month over month and the condo complex or building is relatively new. You may not see a “return” on your money, the money that you pay on condo fees that is. “Young” properties don’t require as much work so it may be 10-20 years (on a new condo) before things like windows and the roof are replaced. If you decide to sell in say 5 years, the money you’ve paid into the condo fee stays with the condo. However, at the same time, the cost to cut your grass or have the snow removed, that comes from the condo fee too and you get all the convenience enjoyment right away! It becomes a matter of your personal preferences - what’s important to you?
Things to consider…
So you have your work cut out for you. You need to decide if townhouse living is for you. If you’ve landed on the townhouse decision due to your budget but you’re not happy with it, maybe take some time and work at saving a larger downpayment that might get you into a home that suits more of your wants. Or go ahead and take the plunge but make it a stepping stone to where you want to end up and set your goals today so you can reach them on a schedule that you feel is achievable. Maybe a townhome is exactly where you want to be and this bit of reading has helped you reinforce that decision, in that case, get to it! Start shopping!