Not exactly new, townhouses are an import from Europe. They’ve been around for centuries, and it looks like they’re coming back into fashion. As rates ease up and goals of homeownership seem more realistic, you want to know the options available. Let’s get into just what sets townhouses apart and where insurance factors in.
What Makes a Townhouse, A Townhouse?
First off, they aren’t always in towns. Townhouses (AKA townhomes) can be found in cities, suburbs, and other transitional zones within a city’s outskirts. You may even come across townhouse communities in some rural areas–they’re pretty much everywhere! Townhouses may be owned by an individual, rented from a landlord, or even owned by a condo association.
That said, they aren’t condominiums. But they’re awfully close sometimes. While the profile and overall setup is similar to condos–tall, narrow, multi-story, with at least one shared wall between units and access to shared community amenities–unlike condos they aren’t part of a larger unit that may include apartments. Instead, townhouses lie somewhere between the traditional single-family home and a condo. They may or may not be governed by a Homeowners Association (HOA) like a condo, which could offer a more hands-off approach to maintenance as opposed to a typical single-family home.
Like other forms of housing, townhouses can be both rented or owned, and both options come with their own set of things to know. Also like other homeowners and renters, townhouse residents who are not part of an HOA typically will also own or rent the land surrounding their home and the home’s exterior–that naturally means a higher level of maintenance. But if a townhouse is under an HOA, then owners likely aren’t responsible for exterior maintenance and repairs.
Townhouse ownership can give folks a taste of responsibility without the potential overwhelm that comes from all the tasks piling up all the time. But one thing is for sure–if you are tired of limited space but don’t want the full-blown maintenance that comes with typical homeownership, a townhouse strikes a clear balance between the two. You can still enjoy a private outdoor entrance and relaxing or entertaining space, and you can actually spend time in it, since most of the upkeep can be handled by the HOA–they set rules and exact fees, but you do get amenities in return.
Given townhouses’ normal proximity to cities, they also offer the draw of easy access for work, school, and play. You can get acquainted with neighbors, but still have enough personal space to live your life. Whatever folks’ reasons are, the interest in townhouses is on the rise.
Townhouse Pros and Cons
We’re in the “you do you” camp, but if you need some reasons why other buyers are choosing or steering clear of townhouses, here you go!
Possible pros of buying a townhouse:
Cost can be comparable or even lower than similar-sized detached homes
Smaller yards mean less maintenance, if the HOA doesn’t take care of it already
Amenities (i.e. community pool, gym, picnic area, clubhouse, playground, dog park, various sports grounds) can eliminate the need for memberships
Private outdoor space is always a plus
Potential cons of buying a townhouse:
HOAs can be a blessing or a curse, depending on who you are and what you like
Neighbors are close and at least one wall is shared between units
Plenty of stairs could cause issues for folks with mobility challenges
All that said, buying or renting a townhouse requires the same level of decision making as any other major purchase. For individuals looking to start out in life without too much added responsibility, they could be just the thing. And they’re often located in historic or trendy neighborhoods, which could be a scale tipper.
Insurance and the Townhouse
If you own a townhouse, you own a home, and likely have a mortgage. These days mortgage lenders almost always require homeowners insurance. A solid policy will protect personal property and the home itself. Coverage can also shield homeowners from liability in the case of third party injury or damage. And if something catastrophic happens and you can’t live in your townhouse while repairs are being made, a homeowners policy can pay for additional living expenses.
Townhouses can take various forms, and sometimes fall within a condo association. If that’s the case, then common areas and building exteriors are covered by the association, and everything inside plus personal property would fall under the townhouse owner’s insurance. For that reason alone, the association itself may require owners to take out an insurance policy. It may be a specific condo coverage, or a homeowners policy. Get in touch to chat with a Zinc Insurance agent to learn the ins and outs.
If you completely own the home, its exterior, and the land it sits on, a robust homeowners policy is in order. And if you rent your property, then you know that a renter’s policy is a must to ensure that your personal property and visitors to your home are safe, come what may. Whichever way the wind blows, know that Zinc Insurance is here to help, with knowledgeable agents and reliable insurance products. This isn’t a “cheap insurance” gimmick–we’re all about value here. Get anonline quote now, and reach out to speak to a real, live person.