Townhome, Condo Offerings Attract Downsizers

When an area couple begins thinking over the pros and cons of downsizing their family’s home base, one increasingly attractive possibility is a move into a local condominium or townhome (yes, they’re different—more on that later).

Several factors combine to make that choice worth looking into. One is demographic: town homeowners approaching retirement age typically discover that much of the effort and expense of operating a larger home plant is being wasted once children are no longer at home. Given the choice between mowing the lawn and golfing, or vacuuming a largely unused game room or visiting the mall, eventually the decision gets clearer. Because downsizing can mean significant savings in time and money, checking out the current town condo/townhome choices can make a lot more sense than it ever did before.

The differences between condos and townhomes vary, although townhomes are usually considered to be the more similar to a single family home—with the notable exception that they are designed in a group, with walls shared. Most townhomes have two or more stories, but unlike condos, do not have units above or below.

In most townhome situations, the owner owns the land the townhome is built upon, as well as the land in front and behind. Because most condominiums have neighboring units above and below—and sometimes on either side, like apartment complexes—land ownership is not part of the package.

In both types of arrangements, maintenance obligations are shared, with monthly fees apportioned at set rates, and associations in charge of oversight. Fees usually include garbage pickup, lawn and garden upkeep, exterior insurance, roof and siding maintenance, etc. Owners are responsible for insuring the inside of their unit, including belongings. Because so many upkeep expenses are shared, the economies of scale tend to make condo and townhome maintenance expenditures less costly than single family homeowners experience—and being suddenly freed from the feeling of sole responsibility can come as a major relief! For the eco-conscious, a certain amount of self back-patting might be in order—even though some of today’s area townhomes are actually as spacious as many single family dwellings.

The move from single family home to a local townhome or condo can make for a truly dramatic adjustment in lifestyle—or simply be a reflection of a change already under way. If such a move could be in your future, this winter finds a number of possibilities for you to explore. Give me a phone call if you’d like to take a look!

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