I'm 52, a veteran, first time home buyer. great credit, live alone. Should I buy a single family or a townhome? What are?

Asked by Mr, 75254 Thu Dec 2, 2010

advantages/disadvantages ?

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Elizabeth Fe…, Both Buyer And Seller, Dallas, TX
Fri Dec 3, 2010
When we bought our first home, we opted for a townhouse. The advantages are that it is less expensive than a conventional home, the front lawn and building are maintained by the HOA, community pool, clubhouse, and buliding insurance is part of the HOA.

The downsides are that I have to pay an HOA, I'm attached to my neighbors, there is a higher chance of owners renting out their units (my community is still mainly owner occupied), small yard, and they are harder to sell than a traditional home.

It really depends on your lifestyle. For our first home, it was a perfect transition from an apartment to a house. We never worried about mowing, or roof repair. But now that our family has grown, we want to move and are not going to get what we paid for it. We've even put in hardwood floors, upgraded the appliances, and fixed up the backyard, but will be happy to come out of pocket slightly for closing costs. Despite all of the disadvantages, we are really happy that we bought our townhouse. Our neighbors are great and the landscaping of the neighborhood is always so beautiful and the whole street is always nice. We never had to worry about that "one neighbor" who didn't mow or the kids that always left their junk in the yard. The neighborhood is always beautiful!

Good luck and I highly recomend that you have your agent show you a bunch of townhomes, condos, and single family homes before you buy. Once you find "the one" be sure to go there during the day, evening, night and over the weekend. We quickly learned that different times of days have different traffic patterns and you get a more complete feel for what type of neighbors you have. Your relator can't tell you if it is a "good" or "bad" area, you have to go and experience it to decide for yourself. Thnakfully, our first choice home fell through. We live nearby, but that neighborhood wouldn't have been one that I wanted my childern to grow up in. Hang out at different times to see if it is full of kids, or on a bus line which leads to lots of pedestrian traffic, and just make sure you are comfortable with the neighbors. Good luck!
1 vote
The United H…, Agent, Mansfield, TX
Wed Dec 5, 2012

I am a 3x US Army Vet. of the Iraq campaign please feel free to contact me directly I would love to bring you up to date on your lending option and even help you find an agent that fits your needs.

Keller Williams Realty
3xUS Army Veteran
Joseph Fernandez
cell: (817)975-7258
off: (817)635-1157
website: http://www.blissful-estates.com
1 vote
Elizabeth Fe…, Both Buyer And Seller, Dallas, TX
Tue Dec 7, 2010
Mr Renter, in response to Linda's answer below, yes, you may have HOA dues and let's say that they are $200 each month. Those fees are for costs that you'll end up spending anyway, and include building maintanence, building insurance (you still need a small condo policy which runs about $20 a month), lawn care, and ammenities such as pool use, gates in a gated community, jogging paths, etc.. Yes, you may have more buying power, but you will have to include your home owners insurance in your monthly mortgage payment if you go the single familly home route.

As a first time home owner, I did not want to worry about siding, roofing, or lawn care. I was willing to pay $200 each month for this peace of mind instead of $10,000 if I had to replace my roof or siding.
Honestly, it is just a preference. There are pros and cons to both types of housing, but don't let someone simply say that they don't want to pay an HOA. Most HOA's cover a lot of things that you'd have to come out of pocket for if you were going to "do it yourself." My next home will be a single family home becuase I need more space and a bigger yard, but when my children grow up and I want to travel more, I will be in another townhome.
1 vote
Jeanne Feeni…, Agent, Basking Ridge, NJ
Thu Dec 2, 2010
Hi there, agree that this is all about personal preference and lifestyle. I'm a bit older than you are and first owned a condo, now a single family home and can't wait to return to a "right-sized" townhome. Some of that is downsizing, but much of it is that I'm ready to let go of the maintenance burden that comes with a single family home.

Your agent can help you get your head around the resale stats for single family homes as compared to townhomes in your area. Location is always important, no matter the style of living. And with community living, do check on the financial condition of the HOA. Community living comes with shared ammenities, but also shared troubles if you have too great a proportion of owners that fall behind.

Work with a good agent to guide you - from there I think this decision is yours to make with lifestyle as a primary focus. Visit both types of homes and trust your instincts - when you feel like you are "home", you've found it!

Good luck,
Jeanne Feenick
Unwaveirng Commitment to Service
Web Reference:  http://www.feenick.com
1 vote
Don Maclary, Agent, Virginia Beach, VA
Thu Dec 2, 2010
Single family or town house is more of a prefrence thing. On the advice side buy either as long as you have a min of 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. Less than that takes longer to resell.
1 vote
Suzanne MacD…, Agent, Succasunna, NJ
Thu Dec 2, 2010
I faced a similar dilemma a few years ago and chose to buy a single family home. My reasoning was I wanted a back yard of my own and the absolute freedom to do as I pleased with my property. I stubbornly refused to even consider a townhome even though everyone was pushing me in that direction because I, too, am single. However, with any freedom comes responsibilities, right? I am responsible for lawn maintenance, exterior maintenance, and snow removal. And if I want any of the amenities that some times come with townhome living, a swimming pool, community center, tennis courts or gym, I am on my own.

Now that I have been in my own single family home I think I am better able to see the advantages to a townhome community. It's not that I mind the work involved in lawn maintenance, I enjoy being outdoors and doing yard work, but I am finding I have less and less time for these chores. And I do NOT enjoy shoveling snow! I may save on association fees, but I had to pay dearly to have my home vinyl sided. And, while I am quite the home body, I do wonder now if I would have enjoyed living in a 'community' where I could make new friends.

You have to weigh your own reasons for considering both options and then decide for yourself which is best for you, but do yourself a favor and be very open minded. Think not just in terms of costs but also in terms of time. There are some lovely townhouse communities now with outdoor living areas, large decks and so forth. And many have very, very reasonable association fees these days. If I were choosing today, with all I know now, it would probably be a 50/50 toss up.
1 vote
Amy Arey, Agent, Allen, TX
Sat Aug 9, 2014
Single family homes (in most areas) have better resale value and overall lower HOA fees (so that more of your payment is going to your principal, and not just your HOA Fees). If you are considering a townhome due to no yard or a smaller yard, perhaps also look at patio homes or zero lot homes. If you have aging relatives, you may consider a single-story townhome (they do exist, but are sparse and few) to avoid the stairs. The rest of your decision should be based upon personal preference.

-Amy S. Arey, Realtor
Halo Group Realty, LLC
0 votes
James Exum, Agent, Dallas, TX
Wed Dec 5, 2012
Hi Mr,75254
How about you visit 3 people who own a townhome in the area you are thinking about.Do the same with a single family home visit 3 people.If you do this then you will have your answer.

james exum 214-499-7413
0 votes
Texas Homes, Agent, Plano, TX
Wed Dec 15, 2010
Do you consider an apartment ? Email me if you need more info twong@txdfwhome.com Thanks
0 votes
Jeremy Garcia, Agent, Dallas, TX
Thu Dec 9, 2010
I have over 13 years of assisting Veterans like yourself. My experience is that most go with a zero lot line or a garden home over a town home. I just recently assisted a veteran with making this same decision. If I can be of any assitance please message me through my profile. Thanks, Jeremy Garcia
0 votes
Charles Husen, , Pleasant Hill, CA
Wed Dec 8, 2010
Thanks for the question Mr. Renter.

If you are not sure whether you want to live in a townhome or a single family residence them maybe you should take option number three. How about a Planned Unit Development or PUD. They allow you to own the land around your home but you are still a part of an association that takes care of the common area.

Take a look at what's available in your area.

My only other advice is that when you decide to select a real estate agent to help you don't under any circumstances sign an "exclusive" buyer's agency agreement. It would tie you to a single agent and could really limit your ability to make the best deal for yourself.

Once you pick an agent that is interested in your best interests and not just pushing a commission let them show you what is available in a PUD. Compare it to the single family homes and townhomes in the area.

The last thing to remember about chosing a real estate agent. If they say anything about this being the best time in history to purchase a home. Start running in the other direction and find someone that is not pushing a sale but is about to give you honest answers and work in your best interests.

Thanks again,

Charlie Husen
Tax Home Realty
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

(925) 482-7891
Web Reference:  http://www.incometaxhome.com
0 votes
J's Roofing, Other Pro, Richardson, TX
Tue Dec 7, 2010
A lot of answers, and a lot of good information! IF we can be of help to you, just let us know. We can assist with a roof inspection or do small roof repairs if needed. BUT, if everything is fine, we are happy to tell you that too.

Let us know if we can help!
Web Reference:  http://www.JsRoofing.com
0 votes
Linda Lorenzo, Agent, McKinney, TX
Tue Dec 7, 2010
Personally I would buy a single family home, you have a lot more purchasing power. For instance if you purchase a townhome for say $100,000 and the monthly dues are $100 - you could take that $100 per month and purchase a single family home for $120,000 (since you would put the dues amount into the mortgage). Also townhomes do take longer to resell and that is pretty much true anyplace you buy. Good luck to you on your first time purcahse.
Web Reference:  http://www.LindaLorenzo.com
0 votes
Anne Bokalo, Agent, CANTON, TX
Thu Dec 2, 2010
I think it's a personal preference and your lifestyle. Do you want to do yard work or would you hire someone. Are you a fix it kind of guy and can fix things around the house since hiring trades people can get expensive.
I have mowed my own yard, front and back, and trimmed my bushes but I like gardening. I have female friends who mow their own yards. Also I personally don't want to be close to anyone and like having separation from other buildings. Depending on the area some condos are as high as single homes, in other areas condos are much cheaper. Check into VA loans as well, it would be nice to see what you can get a loan for and that could possibly determine what you can afford. Good luck in you search.
0 votes
Brian Rayl, Agent, Dallas, TX
Thu Dec 2, 2010
Good Afternoon Sir.

The choice between townhome and single family is truely a choice of preference. As was mentioned by others, a townhome is 99.9% of the time in a home owners association which comes with additional fees. You can really find any size of townhome depending on how much you have available to spend. There are small single story townhomes that can be very small (1500 square feet) to 3+ story townhomes that are 3000+ square feet. I personally live in a town home and I love it. I have a small backyard that is perfect for my 2 dogs and it is very low maintenance.

Single family residences may or may not be in an HOA. Typically, they do have bigger lots, but not always. Just like townhomes, Single Family homes can come in any variety of sizes and price ranges.

Personally, I wouldn't rule either of the two out when looking for a new home, but make sure you take in all factors and compare apples to apples.

As a veteran, a first time homebuyer, and having good credit, you have a wealth of finacing options that are open to you including VA loans, FHA (depending on the price of the home) or traditional financing. Within the 75254 zip code, price should not exclude FHA, so you should be fine on this.

If you would like to take a look at what type of homes are available in that area, you can go to my website at http://www.brianrayl.com and go to the Home Search tab to search all of the houses listed on the MLS. An agent in my office has several listings in that area right off of Belt Line. If you would like to take a look at any of them, feel free to email me.

Good luck with your home search and thank you so much for serving our country. Freedom is not free.

Brian Rayl, REALTOR®, e-PRO
Keller Williams Elite - Dallas/Park Cities
Web Reference:  http://www.brianrayl.com
0 votes
Susan Hanson, Agent, Plano, TX
Thu Dec 2, 2010
Hello Sir,
I join the others in thanking you for your service to our country and would welcome the opportunity to say thank you by assisting you in this big decision!
All of the info below is excellent - I haven't seen anyone mention the special programs in Texas for veterans. I recently received the Texas Home Affordability certificate from our local Association of Realtors where I learned about some special offers to veterans who are residents of Texas.
Feel free to call me at your convenience to discuss! I truly enjoy working with first-time home buyers and would be glad to furnish references from some of those clients. I'm very familiar with the condo/townhome market as well as single family homes. Hope to hear from you soon!
Susan - 972-489-0228
0 votes
Roxanne DeBe…, Agent, Plano, TX
Thu Dec 2, 2010
Great Question! I also want to thank you for serving our country. The preference of owning a single family home can depend on many factors based on your own wants and needs. The upkeep on a single family home may be more over the long term than living in a townhome. You will also need to think of the extras you may need to purchase like blinds, lawn mower, and other items that you will need to keep your single family home in good shape. As an investment, I do believe the single family home has more potential than a townhome. But I don't think you should look at it that way. The best thing to do is to go preview some homes in both categories, talk with the neighbors if at all possible, and get a feeling what would really suit you. As a realtor we can advise you on the financial consideration and help you decide based on your specific needs.

What it really boils down to is your specific individual requirements such as is there other single people living in the neighborhood or are there single activities that you may be able to participate in. Just think it through on what suits you and then the realtor community may be able to assist you with what you really want in a home. Thank you for allowing the realtor community to assist you.

Thank you for serving!
0 votes
Rosalyn Tray…, Agent, Dallas, TX
Thu Dec 2, 2010
Good morning, Sir,
Thank you for serving our country; my son is in the Air Force, stationed at Maxwell in Montgomery AL.
Regarding Single Family vs Townhome (zero lot line & patio home included), townhomes may have a homeowners fee and single family normally does not, unless it is in an association.
Usually the land is smaller with a zero lot line, patio home, and townhome. The townhome also can be attached to a neighbor's home. The single family home land is usually larger. There are more restrictions with a townhome regarding the association guidelines.
Keep in mind, when you are ready to sell it, more buyers prefer single family to townhome, no hoa fees or regulations, larger land, more privacy.
Hope this helps with your decision.
Rosalyn Traylor
0 votes
John Safstrom, Other Pro, Allen, TX
Thu Dec 2, 2010
As the agents have said, it all depends on your personal preferences, how much space you want/need and Home maintenance vs. no maintenance. I bought a townhome 2 years ago to live in and now lease it out due to the increase in rental price and demand for townhomes in the area. Depending on where you want to live, you can get a nice single family home for the price of a townhome.

Find yourself a good agent and whatever you decide to buy get a home inspection.
0 votes
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Thu Dec 2, 2010
Recommend for your preview both types of properties . All is based on personal lifestyle and much more.

Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
0 votes
Andrea Brooks, Agent, Plano, TX
Thu Dec 2, 2010
Good morning - it looks like you've gotten lots of feedback already, but I thought I'd chime in too! While I'm sure you plan to buy and stay put, resale is usually a concern for most buyers. In many areas townhomes are slower to sell and can even lose value in a down economy...which means there may be some great values to be had right now! Other factors to consider are privacy - you'll likely share a common wall with your neighbor - and HOA fees. Typically HOA fees are higher in a townhome community, but that often will cover maintenance of grounds, common areas, ammenities, and insurance. Townhome owner insurance needs are slightly different from those of a home owner. As a townhome owner you own only your unit within a much larger structure or complex. You share ownership in the overall structures and all common areas for upkeep and maintenance. Insuring these common structures and areas is the responsibility of the association, and part of your association dues pays for this coverage. However, that coverage will not protect your personal property within your own unit or your liability if someone is injured on your property.

A single-family home will probably offer the most privacy, control over your property and flexibility with how you live. Aother option to consider might be a patio home or zero-lot, possibly the best of both worlds. My suggestion would be to work closely with your Realtor to evaluate your needs and how that can be best achieved in the area you wish to live.

All the best,

Andrea Brooks, Kller Williams
0 votes
Nancy Monts, Agent, Dallas, TX
Thu Dec 2, 2010
You have so many great choices and options. You need to sit down and weigh them out and decide what is best for you and your investment. Think of maintenance of a house, yard, uttilities, etc. Work with a professional that can answer all of your questions and assist you in making the best decision for you. Also include your hobbies in your decision, if you like to garden, want a garage workshop etc. I would be more than happy to sit down and have a first time home buyer's meeting with you and go over the entire process and wiegh your options with you. It always helps to write things down and talk with someone. I am a Dallas native and I have lived here my entire life. My father and brother are vets as was my grandfather (WW1). It is a great time to buy and I would love to help you find your perfect home as well as make a great investment.

Nancy Monts
RE/MAX Premier
Web Reference:  http://www.aboutdfwhomes.com
0 votes
Bruce Lynn, Agent, Coppell, TX
Thu Dec 2, 2010
Hello Vet....thanks first for your service.
Congratulations on your decision to buy.

I think the decision really comes down to a couple of decisions.....one is how big a place do you want or need and how much do you want to spend. Homes are typically a little further apart and give you more yard space and a little more space between the neighbors. Most single famiy home will like be 3 bedroom 2 bath with 1 or 2 car garage. My question would be at this point do you want or need that much space? You will pay taxes, insurance, and utilities on that space if you don't need it.

Perhaps a townhome could be less expensive, smaller, less yard, and less expenses.

If you ever want to sit down and talk through it I would be glad to do it with you. You can also look at a few of each to see if there is one style you like better than another.

Bruce Lynn
Keller Williams Realty
Web Reference:  http://www.teamlynn.com
0 votes
Stephanie K, Agent, San Antonio, TX
Thu Dec 2, 2010
Hi Mr.! Sounds like you are in a great position! And in the Dallas area, except for that occaisional ice storm, you really shouldn't have too much of a snow problem.

Are you planning to use your Veteran's benefits for financing? Don't forget Texas Vet - it affords some great opportunities, too. You really need to look at all your options.

Do you like yard work/gardening? That would be the primary difference for me in deciding whether or not to choose a townhome. In San Antonio, we also have garden homes, which offer yard maintenance included as part of the package, but also allows you a little of your own "greenspace". These are not really restricted "senior" communities, but tend to be adult oriented, with more professionals and singles.

Some condos and townhomes include exterior maintenance of the properties, but the fees can vary greatly.If you plan to sell in the future, you will want to consider what has historically sold easier and for more money in your area. A good, experienced agent that knows your local area should be able to show you new and re-sale listings of townhouses and single family homes and should be able to get you in to see both and see what you prefer.

We specialize in helping military and veterans ! ( We are in military city, USA) Please call if we can help or send you a referral.

Stephanie Kelley, ABR, CRS, GRI
Keller Williams, Legacy
0 votes
dave, Agent, Charlotte, NC
Thu Dec 2, 2010
It sounds like you are looking to see which wil have the best return for you. There are pros and cons for each one.
A lot depends on what you are looking for in a home. Do you want amneties? Are you looking for a single family home in a community or with some land? Do you want the exterior upkeep of a home or pay a HOA and have someone else do that for you?

Each person is different in their wants and needs. Resale value depends on the area you are in. No two markets are the same for return on investment. But, I think you need to decide what you want in a place first....there are really no wrong one if it is what you want.
Web Reference:  http://www.davedicecco.com
0 votes
Brenda Feria, Agent, Richmond, VA
Thu Dec 2, 2010
Mr. Renter,

It sounds to me that your question is more about which is the better investment - single family or townhome. A real estate professional in your area can tell you whether or not it is better for resale to purchase a single family home or a townhome. Each locale is different so you really need information about your particular area in the country. Another thing to consider are the townhome fees which you do not have in a single family home. When a lender qualifies you for your loan, those fees will added to the principal, interest, tax and insurance as part of your overall payment. Let's say that the lender has told you that you qualify for up to $100k. With a townhome, it would be less because of the added fees.
0 votes
Greg Fowler, Agent, Dallas, TX
Thu Dec 2, 2010
Mr Renter,

Sounds like you are in a great position to buy either. I believe your decision is a lifestyle choice. A townhome can offer reduced maintenance, common area features, a close community and other benefits of close by neighbors. A single family home has the benefit of being a bit more private.

When making this decision, I would purchase the type of home in which you will be most comfortable as a primary goal.

I would be happy to send you a copy of my home buyers guide which has a number of great questions to help you identify the best type of home for your lifestyle. Working through this guide will help you focus on the features that are most important to you, and I believe will help you clearly answer whether a townhome or a single family house is best for you.

Greg Fowler
Keller Williams Dallas City Center
0 votes
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