The pros and cons of buying a freehold townhouse
Finding the perfect home that suits your lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint. But this process can be a bit easier once you’ve narrowed down the type of home you're looking for. For many aspiring homeowners, a freehold townhouse can be a great option: it offers the space of a single-family house without the maintenance fees of a condo. This is the primary difference between a condo townhouse and a freehold townhouse.
Owning a freehold townhouse is similar in nature to that of a semi-detached or detached home, in the sense that when you purchase the property, you’re the owner of the entire physical house, as well as the land. Compared to a condo townhouse, where you own just the unit and the exterior and amenities are owned by the condo corporation. A freehold townhouse does provide more ownership autonomy, but there are a few other factors to consider as to whether it’s the right fit for you.
The pros of a freehold townhouse
It’s more affordable than a detached home
Looking into purchasing a freehold townhouse over a detached house will come at a more affordable cost while still getting similar advantages to a detached house. These advantages include having things like a backyard, lawn space, and a multi-level dwelling. And with a lower total price tag, you could be able to put down a larger down payment, have smaller monthly mortgage payments, and potentially forgo getting mortgage insurance if you’re able to put down 20%.
The maintenance is in your hands
For many aspiring homeowners, making your house feel like a home is a top priority. That’s why having ownership over your property aesthetic is very appealing for many buyers. With a freehold townhouse, maintenance is all up to you. This means you have full control over your exterior appearance, your backyard, and any design elements you want to incorporate into your home.
You’ll get a higher property value over time
Freehold townhouses tend to be in higher demand than condo townhouses due to the added appeal of no maintenance fees. Because of this, owning one will, over time, increase your property’s value. So whether your townhouse is a stepping stone or a forever home, it’s an investment that has a promising return based on existing demand.
The cons of a freehold townhouse
You might have noisy neighbours
Freehold townhouses are also known as row houses, which means you’re side-by-side in a connecting row with your neighbours. This means–if your home isn’t located at the end of the row–you’ll be sharing two connecting walls with different neighbours, which ultimately means you’ll also potentially be sharing the noise levels that come with your neighbours. In addition to noise, you also won’t have the full privacy as you would in a fully detached home. In order to minimize any surprises, it might be a good idea to try and meet the neighbours before putting in an offer. This gives you the chance to understand what their lifestyle is like and what you might be able to expect from a noise perspective.
You’ll have more maintenance responsibility
While it’s nice to have ownership of the exterior appearance of your house, this also comes with the responsibility of regular upkeep of your property. Additionally, because you share your yard space with neighbours on each side, you don’t have control over what your neighbour decides to do with their yard or how they choose to keep their home. Let’s say you like to keep your grass freshly cut but your neighbour only wants to cut theirs every few months–unfortunately there isn’t any way to stop that from happening. Situations like this can create a bit of a mismatch for your curb appeal and could result in some difficulties down the line when you plan on selling.
The high demand means higher prices
Freehold townhouses are becoming more in demand as many homeowners aspire to transition into a single-family home. And while a freehold might be more affordable than a detached, the demand for these houses could send prices higher than expected or have you caught in a bidding war. In scenarios like this, you might end up stretching your budget thin or end up with less options than you were hoping for.
Picking the right house comes down to you
It all comes down to your preferences when choosing the type of home you want to live in. A freehold townhouse could be a great option for purchasing your first single-family home, but it needs to be right for you. Make a list of your top must-haves to help you narrow down whether it may be a good fit. And once you’ve found your potential dream home or have questions about your mortgage options, one of Pine’s mortgage agents would be happy to speak with you to help kickstart your home ownership journey.