MONDAY, MARCH 26, 2012
The townhouse – sometimes called a row house or row home, and regionally referred to as a terrace house or a brownstone – is growing in popularity, and for good reason. With a spotlight on sustainability, townhouses just might be the new, forward-thinking approach to progressive residency.
“Townhouse” actually describes a loosely defined set of building characteristics. Essentially, they are three or more units sharing only side walls, with multiple floors, to create a tall space on a small lot. Unlike an apartment or condo, ownership of a townhouse includes ownership of the land beneath it.
Why are townhouses considered to be a green choice of house? Because they are built up instead of out, the units share walls, so they each require fewer resources for construction, and less energy to maintain, as compared to single-family homes. The smaller footprint means more people can fit into the same city block, which of course prevents sprawl. It also means that residents can live close to the center of the city, enjoying all of the amenities that a metropolis offers.
So, if you are considering townhouse living, here are a few things to keep in mind in order to maximize the experience:
HOA: Is it worth the cost? Most townhouse developments have a home owners’ association (HOA), which is an organization that maintains the property and shared resources (such as roof, paint, and landscaping). This can be a huge benefit, since you won’t ever have to worry about that stuff yourself, or it can be a huge bummer, if their rules are super restrictive. It can also be expensive, with monthly dues ranging in price from under one-hundred to nearing one-thousand dollars. However, some townhomes have no HOA. So make sure you understand what you are getting into, what it covers, and how that factors into your monthly expenses.
Look for new construction. When you are buying a detached single-family home, there is nothing quite as charming as a quaint little village bungalow. But with row houses it’s a bit different, and new construction is best. This will help ensure energy efficiency, proper building materials, and, perhaps more importantly, the best insulation.
Look for a lot of light. One drawback to townhomes, as opposed to detached single-family dwellings, is that shared walls make for fewer windows. Most townhomes are tubes that feature windows at the front and back but not along the sides. This can make for some pretty dark spaces, so pay attention to how the light fills a room. Make sure the existing windows are well positioned. Skylights on the top floor are a big bonus!
Befriend your fellow residents. It is in your own best interest to make nice with your neighbors. You’re sharing much more than a backyard fence, after all, and you’ll want to be on their good side if anything ever turns sour. Dog barking all day or night long? Ugly, unkept landscaping? It’s always better to establish a relationship before you lodge a complaint.
All of us at Insurance Planning Service hope these tips help in your search for the perfect townhome, and we can help by crafting the perfect townhome insurance policy just for you. Call us today at 800-220-5582 or use our online contact form.
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