Select The Best Home Today For The Life You Dream About Tomorrow: |
It wasn't so long ago that most people visualized the "American Dream" as ownership of a single-family home. Today, home buyers have — and appreciate — more options for meeting their lifestyle preferences and budgets, including townhomes, condos and co-ops.
Lifestyle preferences and income tend to change as people journey through the different life stages.
-> The housing needs of singles quickly change with marriage and children. Small families often outgrow their starter homes, and can afford to "move up" as more babies arrive and kids grow older.
-> Couples who've sent their last grown child into the world may start thinking about whether their suburban home with yard is still the ideal setting for how they want to spend their time.
-> As people approach or reach their later years, they may focus more on how easy it is to live and move about in a home.
If you're in one of those transition periods of life, take some time to consider how your time, needs and budget might be better served by a change in housing type. Selling your current home and buying a more suitable one (or your first one!) could improve your quality of life on a daily basis. Your timing could be perfect today, as mortgage rates are oh-so-low and there's plenty of housing inventory to choose from.
Here are some things to consider about the various housing options available to today's homeowners. And they're all available new or as resales.
- Single-Family Homes:
Available in many styles, sizes and price ranges, single-family detached homes are the traditional preference of most home buyers.
-> Homeowners are responsible for all costs associated with the home and the property it sits on, including maintenance, repairs, property taxes, utilities, upgrades, etc.
-> Many newer single-family developments come with features formerly associated with townhome, condo and co-op communities. "Common interest subdivisions" and "planned unit developments" have homeowner's associations — to which homeowners pay dues — that maintain common grounds and recreational facilities and often place certain restrictions on homeowners' properties.
-> Detached homes offer a greater sense of independence and privacy than other multi-unit options.
-> In recent years, the size of yards associated with detached homes has shrunk — so small that some are known as patio homes. Smaller yard, less work!
Townhome communities typically consist of multi-story row houses (though they can be single story), attached by at least one common wall.
-> They allow individual ownership of the unit and the land it sits on.
-> Owners are responsible for paying utilities and maintaining the interior and exterior of their unit along with the owned area around it.
-> The homeowner's association, to which homeowners pay dues, maintains common grounds and may provide other services such as trash removal.
"Condos" can come in a variety of forms — high-rise units, attached units, duplexes, even detached homes. The key difference is how they are owned.
-> Condo owners buy the right to live in their unit — they buy the "airspace" so to speak — along with an undivided interest in the surrounding structure/s, common areas and facilities, which are owned together by everyone with an ownership stake in the complex.
-> Typically, the condo owner is responsible for maintaining the interior of his or her unit, while the condo owner's association is responsible for maintaining the exterior, as well as any grounds and common areas.
-> Owners pay a monthly assessment, sometimes higher than for a comparable townhome, to the owner's association.
-> Owners may pay some or all utilities, while many services, such as trash removal, lawn maintenance, etc., are often provided by the association.
"Co-ops" are actually corporations that own housing units, typically in multi-story buildings, but sometimes in other forms.
-> Buyers of co-ops purchase shares in the corporation, which allows the buyer the right to occupy (by lease) a particular unit.
-> The number of shares the buyer purchases determines the monthly amount that is paid in "rent" — the more shares, the lower the monthly rent per share.
-> Because the co-op buyer does not "own" the property, the unit usually cannot be used as collateral to secure a mortgage loan, and buyers work with lenders that specialize in co-op financing.
-> Co-op buyers may need a substantial down payment (say, 20% to 30%) to purchase the shares that give them the right to live in the co-op property.
- Take your pick:
Generally, single-family detached homes tend to be more expensive than townhomes, condos and co-ops, in that order. However, "luxury" non-traditional homes can certainly cost more per square foot.
Message us to find out how we can help finance your next home — whatever you decide is perfect for you.
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