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Is a townhouse right for your lifestyle?

So, you’re on the hunt for a home but how do you know what house style is best for you? With so many options on the market; single-family home, apartment or townhouse it can get confusing. This blog will focus on townhouse living and outline what a townhouse is and how a townhouse can be suitable for an array of lifestyles, maybe even yours.

When choosing between a house, townhouse or apartment there are a number of factors to consider, including your priorities (big backyard, space for a family etc.) and the purpose behind your purchase e.g. for investment properties, the location might be your highest priority. Unsure of what a townhouse actually is? Not to worry, the team at Lofty Building Group are here to help. A townhouse is essentially the middle ground between a home and an apartment, they are typically two or more stories, with small outdoor space, but shared walls, yet they are smaller than a home but larger than an apartment. Due to this, they are an affordable way to enter the housing market and own your own home as they are generally cheaper than most stand alone homes. 

Like anything, townhouses have their pros and cons. To decide whether a townhouse is right for your lifestyle, take into consideration these pros and cons and apply them to your personal situation. Let’s go!

PROS

#1 AFFORDABILITY

The most prominent pro of townhouse living is the affordability factor. Townhouses are an affordable housing option, particularly for first home buyers, those on a strict budget or anyone really. They are a cost-effective option for those wanting to live in a particular neighbourhood but are unable to afford a stand alone home. Whilst they may not have a large backyard, townhouses are compact, yet spacious meaning you are sure to get value for money.

#2 LITTLE TO NO OUTDOOR MAINTENANCE REQUIRED

Townhouses fit a low maintenance lifestyle like a glove, from inside to out. Townhouses tend to have small front and backyards or courtyards. Due to this, not much yard maintenance is required. Being that townhouses are smaller than a family home, they also require less cleaning and maintenance inside too, leaving you free to get on with other things. Therefore, if you don’t enjoy maintaining your yard or do not wish to pay someone to, then this is another tick on the townhouse checklist.

#3 LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION

Whilst townhouses are nestled in most suburbs, many are built in thriving and upcoming communities, close to schools, shops, cafes, parks, roads and public transport. There are townhouse developments springing up all over Adelaide, which also offer the opportunity to live in an established suburb without the associated price tag. Being close to these amenities can prove to be convenient in everyday life. And what’s better? Owning a townhouse in these types of areas can double as an investment opportunity. This is because these bustling up and coming areas have big room for financial growth opportunities. Although, all the hustle and bustle can double as a con for some people, but we’ll chat about that later.

#4 CALL FOR COMMUNITY

Due to townhouses being built right next to each other and sharing walls and sometimes the same driveway, it unwittingly creates a sense of community for home owners. Townhouse living produces the opportunity for occupants to create new friends of all ages and demographics. Even if you are not looking to find new friends, just knowing you have neighbours close by can provide a sense of relief should you require immediate help, a favour or a cup of flour.

#5 AESTHETIC APPEAL 

Whilst the aesthetic appeal of a home is not the be all and end all, it’s up there. Townhouses without a doubt have fantastic street appeal. They’re modern, often with striking designs that no doubt turn heads. They can also be packed full of the latest technological features (did someone say smart home tech?) Who doesn’t want an eye-catching looking home?

#6 LESS SPACE = MORE SPACE?

Earlier, we touched on the idea of getting value for money. Townhouses provide this AND more. Their multi-level design ensures the most is made of an often small block. Whilst living areas may be separated, this sense of separation creates spaciousness, noise reduction and privacy for those living in the home – something that is often not achieved in apartments. The whole essence of a townhouse is that you can have all the rooms you want, yet on a smaller scale, without feeling cluttered. Townhouses don’t have space to waste so are cleverly designed to fit everything (or almost everything) one could desire, which also means there is no such thing as dead or un-utilised space. This makes it a perfect option for those wanting to downsize, retirees, professionals, couples and even first home buyers and young families. 

CONS

#3 LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION 2.0

We mentioned that the location of townhouses is often a pro, but this can also double as a con for many people. Due to townhouses being located in thriving and upcoming communities, they are often near the hustle and bustle of busy shops, schools and roads. With this comes noise and traffic. In addition to this, due to townhouses being situated on a shared block of land or courtyard, there is often ample foot traffic in and around the townhouses themselves. Our suggestion is that; if you are one that needs their privacy or gets easily frustrated by noise, traffic and people always around, then a townhouse may not be for you.

#2 NO INDIVIDUALITY IN TERMS OF DESIGN

Whilst townhouses often look great, you just have to look around to notice that each townhouse on the block most likely looks the same or incredibly similar. Of course you can bring in furniture and accessories to change the interior of the home, but the exterior and interior layout will remain the same as the others. There is little room for individuality. 

#3 STRATA & COMMUNITY TITLES

If you purchase a townhouse that is part of a strata title, you have individual ownership of your townhouse, but not the land it sits on, and also shared ownership over the common property such as the driveway, gardens etc. Any areas are the shared responsibility of all property owners within the title. It is important to be aware of your responsibilities if buying into a strata title, any by-laws and the continuing fees. A community title, while similar to a strata title, differs in the fact that you have individual ownership of both the townhouse and the land on which it sits. In community titles, there is also common property, which relates to the land that is shared within the community scheme such as service infrastructure and driveways and has shared ownership among occupants. Also similarly to strata titles, community titles have excess fees (paid to maintain common areas), by-laws and responsibilities which are not incurred if buying a torrens title property. 

#4 STAIRS

Due to townhouses being designed as double storey homes, stairs are without a doubt involved. Whilst this may not phase some people, it may be a problem for some; particularly those with general mobility issues, those that are elderly or those with young children (stairs can become a safety hazard). 

TIPS FOR INVESTORS

For those wanting to invest, townhouses are often a great investment option due to their size. In addition to this, owning a townhouse in up and coming areas can provide big room for financial growth opportunities. Keeping this in mind, our top tips for those wanting to invest are:

  • Be mindful about what area you purchase a townhouse as not all areas are set to increase in price and not all areas rental yields are made equal. 
  • Assess the proximity of amenities such as shops, schools, parks, public transport, etc. it pays to consider what school zone the townhouse sits within, as this is a big drawcard for many. 
  • The design and inclusions, has the townhouse got curb appeal, upgraded items such as stone benchtops, is the layout functional and free flowing etc. as all of this combines to determine who the townhouse will appeal to. 

So there you have it, an overview of townhouse living! Whilst it is hard for us to give a definite answer as to whether a townhouse suits your lifestyle, this is a start. Take into consideration these pros and cons, apply them to your personal situation and go from there.

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