Home Buying in New Jersey>Question Details

Anthony, Home Buyer in New Jersey

Townhouse or Single Family? First time buyer

Asked by Anthony, New Jersey Wed Jan 28, 2009

My wife and I are tired of paying rent and want to purchase. We are debating between a TH or SF. While a SF would be ideal, a TH fits more into our budget and are newer. A SF in our budget would need a lot of upgrades that we cannot afford right now. Is there a downside to getting a TH for first time buyers?

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A townhouse is a great idea for first time buyers. Like you mentioned, it fits your budget, which is the most important thing. Typically maintenance wise, a townhouse is easier to handle. My first home was a condo, my husband's first home was a townhouse. Both were excellent places for us to start. It fit our busy lifestyles and our budgets. I don't see a downside to a townhouse, unless you just need the space and yard of a Single Family house. Go with what you can afford comfortably, you will be glad you did. Best Wishes!

Jen Bowman, Broker Associate
Success Realty
Web Reference: http://www.JenBowman.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 3, 2009
Anthony - You are in such a great position right now to buy! As to which is property will be a better investment, single family homes generally improve in value faster than townhomes. That said, they do involve more upkeep than the "turnkey" lifestyle of the townhome. In exchange for that convenience, you will pay a maintainance fee, increasing your monthly payment. What is really comes down to is life-style. I have a home in Westfield that might just work out for you- it's been completely redone, and is located less than 1 mile from the NYC train (njtransit), shopping, restaurants, schools. It is a wonderful option if you choose not to go with a townhome, yet offers 4 levels of living. Go to http://409WGroveSt.com for virtual tour and floor plan, etc. Good luck with your search! Any questions, you can contact me at dachisen@optonline.net

Web Reference: http://www.LynnDachisen.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 3, 2009
Hi Anthony, I concur with the advise given thus far - if "newer" and "affordable" and "low maintenance" are part of your plan, a townhome presents is a great entry level opportunity. As you evaluate options, remember money is money, and so watch carefully differences in monthly maintenance fees and taxes. There are so many options available today and with prices relaxed and rates low, it is indeed a great time to be in your position. Two communities that have many options are Bridgewater and Bedminster. I've included below a link to a townhome in Bridgewater that is packed with upgrades. This can provide an interesting spring board for a discussion on value of upgrades and how it plays on pricing.


In any case, dollar for dollar, you'll likely find newer townhomes than homes in the entry level budget range. You can search freely at my website http://www.feenick.com - I encoruage you to visit!

Good luck!
Jeannie Feenick
Search and connect at http://www.feenick.com
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 28, 2009
Anthony, since there are a lot of affordable townhomes and single family homes available, you really are making a wise decision in taking this step towards homeownership. It's really going to come down to personal preference when talking about style of home. A townhome is great starter home since you pay a homeowner's association fee that typically covers exterior maintance while in a single family you'd have to invest time and money to upkeep a single family. Maintaining any home is going to be an ongoing process so if you have some time to spend, there can be a sense of pride when you do the work yourself.

In terms of upgrades or home repairs in older single family homes: there are FHA loan programs that can add in a renovation loan to your monthly mortgage payment to allow you to do some initial projects. Things like flooring, painting and maybe updating a kitchen or bathroom can be budgeted into the mortgage. This works well with short sales or foreclosure properties that are being sold as. You typically can find some homes in a lower price range due to these cosmetic repairs needed (so it's another option).

I recommend teaming up with a Realtor and having them show you what's currently available in your desired area in a given price range. From there, visit a few townhomes and any single families - you'd be surprised what you can get! For more information, feel free to contact me directly!

Christine Markow
ERA Statewide Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 28, 2009
Hello Anthony! Great question in a great market to be a buyer! In the Phoenix area, single family homes will always appreciate at a faster rate then Townhomes, purely because they appeal to a broader group of people. That is not to say that buying a townhome is a bad idea, you just want to make sure the location is "as good as it gets" with respect to buyers desires. The old claim still holds true: Location. Location. Location. If you get that, you got a deal!
Good luck to you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 28, 2009
I would investigate the townhouse a little closer than most. I want to know what is covered under the HOA for the money they get and what if anything is in reserve for future problems. And, don't beleive its for trash and snow removal if the taxes you pay also cover those services. Maybe even the owner/tenant ratio is helpful to let you know who the neighbors are and what stake they have in ownership. SF has its own pitfalls. Do you have time to cut the grass and make repairs that a SF would require? Would you be upset if the neighbor did something that would not be allowed in a HOA development? Home is where you hang your hat. Take your time and be sure you will enjoy hanging it there.
Web Reference: http://GregoryBain.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 28, 2009
Hi Anthony,

First I want to say that it is a great time to buy in today's market. If you are renting and can purchase right now you are thinking along the right track. Each option has it's pros and cons. It really all depends on what is more important to you. Alot of first time buyers buy TH or condos because of the reasons you have stated - budget. You need to decide how long you plan on staying in that home and whether it will suit your needs down the line. (For example - space, growing family, etc.) Some of the pros for TH option... less upkeep, price, sometimes community positives... some cons... no yard, rules on what you can and can't do outside (planting flowers, painting, bbq's), close neighbors and can be noisy. I am not sure it has been mentioned but you also want to make sure that if you are moving into a TH you check to see if there is an association fee per month/per year. You didn't state where you were purchasing but I will suggest that you honestly go with your "gut" and don't "settle" because you don't think you can get a single family home. Right now in this market things pop up all the time and you honestly can take your time to find what you want and are a great plus to a seller since you don't have a home to sell.

If I can help you with anything else, please feel free to email or call me anytime. I wish you and your wife the best of luck!

Angela "Angie" Allchin
Century 21 Rauh & Johns
856-582-0366 x 172
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 28, 2009
Hi Anthony. A townhome is a great option for a first time homebuyer. Just make sure your family has enough room to grow and that you and your wife are okay with not having a large yard. Home ownership for a single family can be overwhelming at times, so townhomes are always great starter homes. Best of luck!

Jillian Mason
Direct: 732-586-5488
E-Mail: jillian@jillianmason.com
Web Reference: http://www.jillianmason.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 28, 2009
Hi Anthony,
You should speak to a financial advisor and figure out the amount which you are comfortable spending on a home. Your next step is to decide the towns that you are interested in and which work best for your commute. After you've done this, find yourself an agent that you like and who is professional. Go and see all the properties in your price range - regardless of whether they are a townhome or single family home. Remember that you will have additional home owner association costs with a townhouse. Once you have seen specific properties and been able to put together specific numbers, it should become clearer to you which way you want to proceed.
Good Luck,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 28, 2009
We have clients in same circumstance recommend for them list on an excel spread sheet pro's and con's for both location INCLUDING their short / long term goals. Rule of thumb is purchase a home you can grow into than out of . EXAMPLE: if couple planning a family does TH have a yard for children to play? If couple does not have children or older choice to travel perhaps a SFH not a decision for requires lawn maintance. Families busy live styles who dont want to tend to yards TH is an option. OR couple young TH is located walking distance to where they enjoy personal time purchase TH as a future investment property to lease out when they purchase a SFH in future.

Few suggestions hope that assist you.
Web Reference: http://www.lynn911.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 28, 2009
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