house vs. townhouse? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-03-2008, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
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house vs. townhouse?

I'm preapproved! So now I have an official number to work with on the house hunt. Only problem is that its about $10K less than the houses go for in the neighborhood I fell in love with.

Now, I've also got about two months until I can actually buy, so I'm still weighing my options.

There are several really cute townhomes I'm going to look at either this week or the next. There aren't a whole lot in my price range in the city I live and work in, but in the next over there are a ton... and some are VERY nice looking. And not actually far from work.

The neighborhood I love is about 6-7 minutes from work. Two of the nicer townhomes are between 10-15 minutes away. Still not bad, but kind of out of the way of anywhere I ever go since I don't really like the town itself. There are two other townhome communities just a few minutes from work but they are all much older (like 20-30 years old as opposed to the 4-6 year old nicer ones). Plus, while they are nice on the inside I think the outsides are hideous.

A few things I'm waiting on a response from the realtor about that I'm hoping you guys can help me with. The neighborhood I'm looking at has a mandatory HOA fee that I know is due yearly. I can't find any information on the fees for the townhomes, but as they all have pools and are pretty much maintanence free, I assume they are hefty - but are most of them yearly or monthly? I assume monthly but don't actually know. I've also heard that townhomes don't have the greatest resale value.

My mother keeps telling me that I probably won't be happy in a house because of all the upkeep and that I'm not thinking about how much it'll cost to maintain. However, if most of the townhome fees are as high as I think, it kind of makes it a useless argument since I'll spend just as much either place right?

Honestly, I don't like the thought of "community living." I hated living in an apartment when we first moved - sharing a wall with someoneone, the parking lots, etc. Plus, I'd really like a yard and a little space between my neighbors.

The other option is sitting and waiting a little longer. Most of the houses aren't here aren't selling well at all. So my thought was to find a couple I really really like and offer well below asking. What's the worst that can happen? They say no? Then I'm right back where I started. Even better is the possibility of someone taking a low ball offer and having the house I want in the neighborhood I want that I know will go up in value as the area around it is about booming.

Any thoughts? Pros and cons of home ownership vs buying a townhouse?

Jessie

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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-03-2008, 09:17 PM
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get your own place and avoid HOAs at all costs. You'll find that even with your own house, neighbors are still too **** close, at least thats how it was for me.

I could never do the townhouse/condo thing. no way.

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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-03-2008, 09:22 PM
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I could never own a townhouse or condo. In fact, now that I'm renting a house, I'll never rent anything else, either. I could never go back to sharing a wall, ceiling or floor. And when you own it, you're stuck with your neighbors.

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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-03-2008, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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ideally I'd be able to find a house all by itself that's not in a subdivision, but I've not been so lucky. There are a TON of subdivisions in this area and more and more are popping up on a daily basis. The few homes with land are all selling and being town down.

Plus, most of the homes on their own have a couple of acres that jack the price far beyond what I can afford.

That, or they are all super old and major fixer uppers and I'm not one for DIY projects.

I'm still keeping my eye out, but for now, the odds of me finding a house on its own are very very slim.

Jessie

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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-03-2008, 10:05 PM
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its about $10K less than the houses go for in the neighborhood I fell in love with.
Keep bidding on the houses, that's where your heart is. I'd also agree with stay out of Townhouses, the not sharing a wall, floor or ceiling really hits home, along with the point, even in a house they can be too close.
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-03-2008, 10:15 PM
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I've owned 2 townhouses and I'm now in a single family home. The comparison of expenses vs. a condo fee is based on how much you're willing/able to do yourself vs what you will have to hire someone to do. It also depends on how anal you are about maintaining your house.

For example, when I bought my house I knew that mowing the lawn and shoveling snow was not something I was going to do. I factored the $$ for hiring someone to do those tasks into my calculations when I determined what I was willing to spend. And I can tell you at the prices 10 years ago, having some one mow my lawn every week cost more than half of what my monthly condo fee had been.

I know that different areas have different conventions on what is covered with a condo fee. In this area, it covers all outside maintenance (landscaping, snow removal, painting, roof, siding, deck replacement etc. and also includes outside insurance, some include water). I found that a condo fee is very good deal compared to paying for it all yourself, even if you do all the labor yourself. I spend more just on my yard each summer (spring clean up, fresh mulch, mowing, water, fertilizer, grub control, crab grass control, lime, aerating, etc.etc) than the yearly condo fee. Now, if you don't care what the yard looks like beyond having the grass/weeds mowed every once in a while or peeling paint or moldy siding don't bother you then maybe condo fees aren't a great deal.

You also need to factor in the cost of all the tools you'll need...shovels, rakes, weed wacker, shrub trimmer, lawn mower, hand garden tools, hoses, sprinklers and the maintenance of these items.

And the time associated with it is significant. As a single woman, trying to maintain both inside and outside takes up a very significant part of your free time.

I'm telling you all this, not to discourage you, but just so that you go into it with your eyes wide open. I love my house and don't want to go back into a condo anytime soon, but I do know that time is going to come when I just don't want to do it anymore. Of course I'm quite a bit older than you, so that's not a factor for you right now.

So I suggest you do what I did when I bought the house...make a list of all the things associated with maintaining a house and which ones you're able/willing to do and which ones you're going to have to hire someone to do. And factor in the cost of acquiring the equipment you're going to need. And then figure out whether you have the time to commit. Then compare that with the condo fees. You may be surprised at how reasonable condo fees become.


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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-03-2008, 11:48 PM
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People buy townhouses for the convenience, not the resale value. The big advantage of buying a home is that it's an investment as well as a dwelling. I think if you already have a neighborhood picked out, then just keep cruising around in it and look for a house that's been on the market for a while but still meets your criteria. If the owners are getting ansy to sell, you can easily get it knocked down $10K.
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-04-2008, 09:05 AM
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We bought a house in 2003. It has been a nightmare. The improvements and renovations, the headache of dealing with contractors - and finally, needing to move to another city for work and being completely unable to sell it... it all just plain makes me angry.

I have no intention of ever purchasing a house again. It would have to be an awfully special house, and I would need some magical promise that we'd stay in that city long enough for it to matter. With today's economy, I find it harder and harder to put down roots.

I'm a happy renter. I hope to stay that way.
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-04-2008, 09:21 AM
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By the way, some condo developments have detached units. So...no one attached, but the convenience of having someone else take care of much of the maintenance. That would be my choice when I decide I no longer feel like taking care of the house.


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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-04-2008, 09:25 AM
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I take it a "townhouse" is a semi detached or terrace house?
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