Thinking about buying a townhouse in Pensacola? You aren’t alone! Townhouses have quickly become one of the most popular types of residences for families. They are a great option for first-time homebuyers or recent retirees looking to downsize. Plus, there’s never been a better time to move to Pensacola. This coastal community ranks in the top five best places to live in Florida, according to the US News & World Report.
If you’re considering this type of property, here are some tips for getting the most out of your investment. But first, let’s cover what makes townhouses unique in comparison to other types of residences.
What Is a Townhouse?
A townhouse is a multilevel house that shares one or two communal walls with other residences. They share commonalities with both detached single-family homes and condos, offering buyers a happy medium. As with single-family homes, townhouses are usually individually owned with their own entrance and outdoor space. They also have separate heating systems and individual meters for public utilities.
Owning a townhouse can be similar to owning a condo in that townhouse communities may be part of a homeowners association (HOA) which grants access to community amenities and maintains the common areas. The HOA may also impose rules on what changes owners can make to the exterior of their townhome.
Benefits of Buying a Townhouse
According to the 2021 Home Buyers and Sellers Trends Report, townhouses are the second most popular choice for buyers after detached single-family homes–and for good reason. Buying a townhouse offers you many benefits:
1. They are more affordable
When compared to single-family homes of a similar size in the same neighborhood, townhomes are far less expensive. You’ll automatically save on land costs because it’s more space-efficient to buy attached homes, just as long as you don’t mind sacrificing some privacy.
2. You get more ownership
Owning a townhouse gives you more leeway to make changes to the exterior and interior of your home than condos do. HOAs may dictate certain aesthetic codes, but in general, you have more freedom to change aspects of your house’s appearance, making it a more desirable option.
3. They are low maintenance
Smaller lots mean less yard work, but that’s not all. HOAs often take care of exterior and grounds maintenance, along with other common elements like sidewalks and lawn care, as part of a monthly fee. This is good news if you’d rather let someone else take care of the landscaping and not have to worry about the upkeep.
4. Access to amenities
Community living has its perks! A big reason why homebuyers love townhomes is the amenities that some HOAs provide. Much like condos, owning a townhouse can grant you access to exclusive community gyms, pools, parks, and green spaces.
5. Better financing
Compared to purchasing a condo, it’s easier to get approved for a mortgage for a townhouse. With townhomes, you avoid undergoing an extensive vetting process with your lender, making it easier to get into your new home quicker.
5 Tips to Keep in Mind When Buying a Townhouse
Working with a trusted real estate agent can help you find your dream townhouse at the best price. These professionals can help scope out the best neighborhoods, take care of all the paperwork, and negotiate a fair deal. Additionally, real estate agents work on commission; therefore, it’s important to ask their rate so you can factor that into your budget.
2. Get savvy about HOA fees and CC&Rs
Before purchasing a townhouse, be sure to look into what is covered by the HOA and what fees it charges. HOA fees in Florida will cost you anywhere from $100-$500+ per month for general property maintenance, etc. Naturally, you’ll have to factor HOA fees into the overall cost of the home so it’s good to do your due diligence before settling on a townhouse.
It’s also a good idea to look into the CC&Rs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions) outlined by the HOA. These are the rules and regulations owners need to adhere to when living in the neighborhood.
3. Scope out the neighborhood
Although townhomes offer some privacy, you’re still in close quarters with your neighbors. Take the time to explore the surrounding neighborhood to see if you can picture yourself living happily in this community. Do the neighbors seem friendly? How noisy is your street? These are especially important to consider when buying a townhouse.
4. Get preapproved for financing
As exciting as it is to browse homes on Zillow, buyers should always get preapproved for a mortgage before starting to look at townhouses. This will give you a good idea of your price range, including HOA fees which get factored into the purchase price when applying for a mortgage.
5. Get a home inspection
Even if your townhouse is part of an HOA, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. We recommend hiring a third-party home inspector to go over the property and make sure that everything is in good working order.
Is Buying a Townhouse Right for You?
There are many benefits of buying a townhouse if you know what to look for. While they can be a great investment, these tips are here to guide you toward finding the best townhouse for you and your budget. Ultimately, this type of residence is best for first-time homebuyers looking for an affordable, low-maintenance property in the heart of Pensacola.