Townhouse vs. Single Family House: Battle of the Century

This is how I’ve been feeling lately:

My thoughts send me on a carousel...
My thoughts send me on a carousel…

I feel as though I paid for a ride, and I knew what I was paying for, but that the ride won’t stop even though I’m ready to get off. I keep passing the same sights: the salt water taffy shop, the fortune telling machine, the pizza stand… over and over and over. I have to make the biggest decision of my life (thus far) in order to get off, but every time I think I’ve made the decision, I go in another circle.

Townhouse! Single family! No, townhouse! Wait, definitely single family! No, wait…

Last night I googled “townhouse vs. single family home” to read the opinions of others. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being most helpful, I would put it at a 6.5. While there were a lot of websites that did a great job of laying out the pros and cons of both, they all basically came to the same conclusion: YOU NEED TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU.

No! What I needed was someone to tell me what is right for me, because I’m having a hard time figuring it out on my own. My mom, aunt, and BFF are all saying townhouse. My realtor and coworkers are saying they can’t tell me what to do. My heart and gut are saying single family house but my brain is saying, “Are you sure though?” I keep going back to my list of must-haves. Which meets my needs better?

Here is what I have learned so far:


– Yard maintenance, roofing, siding, snow removal, and sometimes water and sewer are covered by the monthly HOA fee –
– When I go home for long vacations, I won’t have to worry about taking care of a lawn –
– HOA fees make my monthly payment go up, sometimes up so far as to be more expensive than buying a SFH –
– My current apartment has all the amenities a townhouse community would have (gym, pool, community center, movie theatre room) that I never use. I go to the Y. So why pay a monthly fee for something I already have and never use? –
– Unless I’m in an end unit, I will have limited natural light –
– Unless I’m in an end unit, I will share walls with neighbors, and after listening to my neighbors play video games, argue, yell at their kids, walk around, and their dogs barking for years and years, I’m not feelin it. –
– Limited yard space, and I really want space for plants and a hammock –
– In my area, they don’t appreciate as well as SFH’s do and they don’t sell as quickly –
– It just occurred to me that I would still be responsible for electric and plumbing costs… –

Single Family Home (SFH)

– Not having to listen to my neighbors through a wall (Is it obvious I have noise issues? Like, when I get home from work all I want to do is sit and relax but instead I listen to howling dogs and children and arguments and footsteps and video games and I can’t relax at all. I realize that all neighbors make noise but at least we wouldn’t be sharing a wall/end rant) –
– I can plant a garden! –
– I would have more privacy if I wanted to sit in my yard or have people over during warmer weather. –
– Houses appreciate more and sell better in my area. –
– Replacing the roof/siding/windows is on me. So if there is an emergency, and I don’t have money and insurance doesn’t cover it… I dunno. SOL I guess. –
– Everything is on me. But then again, a lot is on me in a townhouse too… –
– I’ve never lived in a house so I have no idea how much work it really is. –

Judging by this list, I think its pretty obvious that my preference lies in a single family home. Perhaps it’s the opinions and advice of others that is making me hesitate? Perhaps I need to look at a few places and not ask people their opinion and just go with my gut. My gut has been telling me to go back to the house I wrote about here. I even drove past it after work today and as I rolled by I said, “Ooh, I really like that place….” As far as I know, the plan right now is to look at a few more places this weekend. Let me do that, and see how I feel. Maybe I still haven’t found The One I’ve been seeking? Maybe I’m that girl on Say Yes to the Dress that shows up at Kleinfeld’s like, “Hi I’ve tried on 200 dresses” and then Randy does some serious psychological trick where they realize there is a wall up.

I think my wall is made up of Fear of the Unknown.

One thought on “Townhouse vs. Single Family House: Battle of the Century

  1. Sarah, here’s a possible decision-tipper, since you say, “My heart and gut are saying single family house but my brain is saying, “Are you sure though?” I keep going back to my list of must-haves. Which meets my needs better?”:

    You do need to do what’s right for you, by answering the question, “Which meets my needs better?” , not just for today but **for the duration of your ownership.** It can sometimes be scary to contemplate the future, but tomorrow’s needs could be greater than today’s, which might then tip you today toward a single family house (and explain where you heart and gut are coming from). 🙂

    According to the 2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, by the National Association of Realtors, buyers expect to live in their new home an average of 12 years ( ). Historically though, people have moved again after an average of closer to 7 years. 7 years might be low nowadays, given our economic uncertainty and the likelihood of higher interest rates in the future, but either way, definitely ponder your wants and needs not just for today but well into the future.

    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

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