What Type of Housing is Right for You?

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/4/14 11:33 AM

Topics: Home Buying

Determining what type of housing is right for you can prove to be a difficult task. Because you cannot always control or predict when a job promotion, out-of-state move, marriage, birth of a child, etc. will occur, it is important to choose what fits your needs and budget in the present moment and factor in what could happen in the next 5-10 years.

Types of housing include single-family detached homes, condominiums, duplexes and townhomes. Consider the following when looking at the advantages and disadvantages of each:


  • Privacy & Responsibility – Is it important to you to have complete privacy and control over decision-making or are you willing to share amenities and decisions with neighbors?
  • Maintenance – Are you someone who enjoys yard work and routine home maintenance or would you rather have someone on hand to take care of these tasks?
  • Budget – How much do you have to spend?
  • Family Size – Are you okay with living in tight quarters or do you need space to move about freely? Are you hoping to start a family in the near future or are you empty-nesters?


Condos are individual units in a multi-unit structure. Residents have joint ownership of common areas, such as yard, hallways, stairways, etc.

  • Typically lower priced than detached home
  • Low – no maintenance required
  • Usually include resort-like amenities such as swimming pools, barbecue areas, tennis courts, etc.
  • Value appreciation is less than houses and townhomes
  • Association fees
  • Little privacy – walls and yard are shared with neighbors
  • Owners only own the space inside the condo, no land



A townhouse is classified as a unit having 2 or more floors and attached to multiple similar units, sharing at least one common wall.

  • More privacy than condominiums – private parking, lawn, etc.
  • Good starter home for those with a limited budget
  • Price of a townhouse is usually cheaper than a home of similar size
  • Common area maintenance such as landscaping and snow removal is taken care of by the homeowners association (HOA)
  • Owners must pay HOA fees
  • Tenants must agree to the restrictions set by the HOA which may include pets, tenants, personalization of the home’s exterior, etc.


Detached Home

  • Full ownership of the lot and building
  • Highest level of privacy
  • Greatest amount of creative freedom
  • Value appreciation
  • Requires highest maintenance and repair efforts
  • Typically higher utility bills than apartment or condo living

Buying a home is a big decision! For more information on what is right for you as a homebuyer, check out our Mortgage 101 Handbook.

Download: Mortgage 101 Handbook

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