Did you know that 13% of new home construction is made up of townhouses?

These unique, single-family homes are growing in popularity, but have also been around forever.

They tend to be in walkable, urban neighborhoods with easy access to shopping, nightlife, and other urban amenities. Plus, they are easier to maintain than normal single-family homes but offer much more than apartments.

But what is a townhouse, and how do you know if they are right for you?

Keep reading to find out exactly what a townhouse is and is not, to decide if they are right for your next move.

What Is a Townhouse?

A townhouse is essentially a rowhouse. They are single-family homes, usually 2 or more stories, built-in rows of adjoining homes.

Townhouses usually share at least 1 wall with their neighbor. They often look identical, or at least very similar.

Each townhouse has its own private entrance and is owned by the individual. They may or may not be built in townhouse specific communities with HOAs, or Homeowners Associations.

Because townhouses are built in conjunction with their neighbors, the footprint is much smaller than the average single-family home, allowing more homes to be located in a given neighborhood.

Townhouses tend to be located closer to city centers and offer a more walkable lifestyle with easier access to work, shopping, and dining.

The smaller footprint and shared walls also mean less maintenance for the owners.

One potential downside is that townhouses typically have little or no yard, which saves money. Those with dogs or children may opt for a townhouse near a park.

And once you are ready to move out, selling your townhouse shouldn’t be too difficult. They are a great option for first-time home buyers and usually sell fast.

What a Townhouse Is Not

Townhouse suites are very similar to other home types, such as condos, duplexes, and apartments.

But they have their own distinct characteristics. Here are some examples of what a townhouse is not.

Condo vs Townhouse

Though very similar, condos and townhouses are not the same things.

A condo is

Similar to that of a townhouse, a condo is typically owned by the individual, as opposed to a landlord. However, individuals only own the interior of the condo, not the exterior. The exterior, including the roof, walls, driveway, lawn, and so forth, are owned by the HOA.

A townhouse, though attached to its neighbor, is owned wholly by the individual, and is the responsibility of the individual.

Duplex vs Townhouse

A townhouse is also not a duplex (2 units together), or a triplex for that matter.

A multifamily home is just that; one home for multiple families. It is typically owned by a landlord and rented to tenants.

A duplex will have 2 separate entrances and completely separate, private units. They may share some common areas, like a covered entryway or laundry area.

Duplexes may be located in normal, single-family neighborhoods.

Is a Townhouse Right for You?

So what is a townhouse and who is it for?

They are simply a more affordable home in an urban location, with fewer maintenance requirements. If you value walkable neighborhoods over a large yard, are okay with 2 or 3 story homes, and don’t mind sharing walls, it might be time to start looking for townhouses for sale.

Though even if you aren’t ready to purchase, you can likely find townhouses for rent as well.

They are a great budget-minded option for those who still want a lot of space.

If you are ready to get started, start researching townhouse communities in your city and list out your must-haves. Call a realtor today and start looking for your new home.

Provided by Chicago Real Estate Institute, offering real estate broker class