Is a Single-Family Home the Right Choice for You?

by Christy Bieber | Updated July 19, 2021 - First published on May 18, 2021

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There are pros and cons of choosing a single-family home.

When you're ready to buy a home of your own, you'll likely have a few choices. These could include single-family homes, condos, townhouses, or apartments.

Single-family homes are popular because you buy an independent structure that's not attached to your neighbors' properties. You own both the house and the land that your house is on.

While there are advantages to single-family houses, they aren't the right choice for everyone. To help you decide, here are a few key considerations to think about.

The pros and cons of a single-family home

Living in a single-family home has some big benefits compared with condos, townhouses, apartments, or other housing alternatives. These include:

  • More privacy: When you don't have neighbors physically attached to your home, you tend to have more privacy in your space.
  • Quieter: Without shared walls or floors, you won't be as likely to hear noises from neighbors around you.
  • A broader ability to customize: With a single-family home, you own both the outside and inside of the space, so you have more freedom in how you design your home.
  • More space: Single-family homes are often (but not always) larger than condos, townhomes, or apartments. And they often have more outdoor space.
  • Access to many communities: Single-family homes can be found in most communities, including rural, suburban, and urban areas. Condos, townhouses, and apartments aren't as common in suburban and rural areas.

However, choosing a single-family home can also come with major downsides. Here are some examples of the disadvantages of living in one:

  • Higher costs: Single-family homes are almost always more expensive than condos, townhouses, or apartments in the same location. Your utility costs may also be higher if you have more space.
  • More maintenance: You'll typically be responsible for maintaining the inside and outside of your space. People who live in condos, apartments, and sometimes townhouses are generally only responsible for issues inside the home.
  • Fewer shared amenities: Often, condos and apartments come with shared amenities such as gyms or pools. While some single-family neighborhoods offer shared spaces, it's less common.

Which option is right for you?

Ultimately, there's no one right answer to whether a single-family home is a better choice than other housing options, like a condo vs. a townhouse. A lot will come down to your preferred location and your chosen lifestyle.

If you'd like to have a doorman who signs for your packages and you want to live in the heart of a major urban center, you'll probably need to opt for a condo or apartment. But if you're hoping to live on five acres in the country, then a single-family home would likely be your only option.

The important thing is to consider your finances and think carefully about your preferred way of life before you make the decision. After all, a home of any type is a big purchase, and you're making a major financial commitment when you take out a mortgage to buy one. Take your time looking over all the factors so you don't end up regretting your choice.

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