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Housing Types

By Eddie Gallese

The style of house you want to live in is one of the first and most basic decisions any potential home owner must make. The three most common styles buyers are asked to choose from are single-family homes, townhouses and condominiums, each with their own advantages and disadvantages to consider.

    By far the most common of these choices, the single family home comes in many shapes and sizes, ranging from colonials to earthen adobes. Based on a personal plot of land, completely detached from other buildings, and usually with some sort of yard space, the single family home represents the typical American home ownership dream. These dwellings offer the most amount of autonomy when it comes to making changes to your house. If you need more space you can extend your property, if your kitchen is old you can remodel, if you don't like your garden you can landscape. However, this of course also means that the cost for these home improvements, as well as maintenance, falls entirely on you. Landscaping especially often takes up more time and money than homebuyers anticipate.

    A condominium is essentially an apartment that you own. Obviously you only own everything inside your condo's walls, which can work both for and against you. On one hand you will not have to pay for a new furnace if the building's heating goes or any repairs need to be done to the exterior. On the other hand, improvements and additions to your condo are usually out of the question. They also often come with Condominium Association fees, which can be quite pricey. Still, it is important to remember that Association fees pay for other amenities such as the pool or fitness centers that you get access to and otherwise might not be able to pay for as additions to a single family home.

    Finally, townhouses occupy the middle ground between single-family homes and condominiums. A townhouse can be thought of as a single family home that is physically attached to another single family home. This gives you greater leeway in deciding the exterior features of your house compared to a condo, while still limiting your options a little. You also get a small plot of outdoor space that you can call your own. However, like condominiums, townhouses often come with a monthly Home Owner's Association fee that you need to pay.


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