What is a Townhome? (must read before buying a house)

If you moving to the U.S. or perhaps already live in the country and want to buy a home but don't understand what a townhome is, this article definitely will you. Just keep reading.

What is a Townhouse

A townhome is a single-family dwelling that has a minimum of two floors and has it walls shared with another house.

According to the United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov) townhomes represent 5.6% of the houses inventory.

so when looking for a house there's a good chance you will hear the real estate agent talking about this type of house.

Where to find townhomes

It's very common to find townhomes in areas where the land is not widely available and the price for properties are increasing.

Since this type of house shares walls with neighbors, the space they take is reduced and optimized, as well as the price for construction.

Advantages of buying townhomes

Certainly there are some advantages of buying a townhomes and I'm sure you are interested on them. Just Take a look at the list below.

(I'm talking about the advantages of a townhome in a community).

Reduced price and savings

The first advantage of buying a townhome is the price because this type of property is less expensive than a single-family home in the same area.

Utility bills are also usually less expensive because the shared walls can help to keep the temperature by not dispersing the heat or cold with the external environment the cost of air conditioning is reduced.

Community (when living in a condo)

By being in a community the amenities are another big advantage of a townhome. Usually, a gym, pool, recreation area, tennis courts, etc are available to everyone with a shared maintenance cost.

Get help

Having people living in a community is always interesting as they can help each other, especially in the case something bad happens.

Just imagine a senior falling or having some health issue, neighbors can make a huge difference in a situation like this by helping when necessary.


I'm sure you will make new friends in the community while walking your dog (if your allowed to have one) or sweating in the gym. Most of the people make new friends somehow while living in a place where other folks are around.


Disavantages of buying townhomes

No matter what we do in life, there's always some disavantage

Buying a house is not different, and if you decide to invest your money on a townhouse there are some things you may not like, let's talk about them.

Paying the homeowner association (HOA)

I'm assuming you are buying your house in a condo, because this is the most common way to go with the new townhomes...

It's necessary to pay a monthly fee that is used to keep everything working in the community. You don't expect to have the pool ready for you without somebody working to keep it clean and in the right temperature, right?

That's the price of getting things done for you, but there's no reason to worry too much about the HOA, usually it's not that high and you can afford it.

Shared walls

Yeah, you will share a wall with your neighbor, and perhaps even hear what he is singing in the shower and vice-versa ! I'm just kidding, it's not that bad.

With the modern building techniques usually this is not a big problem, but sometimes you can have some kind of issue sharing walls. You never know. 

Later in this post you can read more about the problem with the sound.

Follow the rules

How about having a dog in your new house ? Ask for the rules first !

Rules for living in a community

When living in a community you must obey the rules that are created to keep everybody safe and happy and perhaps other people don't share the same interested as you for cute dogs. ( I bet yours is cute ).

Sometimes the rules allow you to have a dog, sometimes you can't.

Some places allow homeowners to have small pets such as cats, but for some reason, dogs are not allowed, perhaps because they bark or because they can be big and it's not fair to approve just the small ones.

I've seen a condominium that allows dogs born before 1989 to live there, but the youngest cute dogs can't (I don't know why, but the rule exist).

What's the difference between a townhome and a condo ?

That depends on the way you buy the house. 

If you buy it as a condo you own only the interior of the building, which means that outside of the house doesn't belong to you and must follow the rules of the homeowners association HOA).

The interesting part of living in a community is that as a townhome owner you have the ownership of a percentage of the shared facilities.

Let's say for example that you live in a condo with 100 units, you own 1% of the pool, laundry room, gym, etc. That's cool, huh ?

Are townhomes soundproof ?

Basically, when buying a townhouse there's the risk of hearing your neighbor nailing something in the wall. That means you can lose some privacy.

There are different products and techniques to build the wall that separates your house from your neighbors, so if you buy a house with a soundproof wall you probably won't hear your neighbor's son playing his loud guitar 🙂

Soundproof Wall

So, your privacy could be at risk, but that doesn't mean it will be. Just make sure the walls are soundproof (most of them are not).

It's possible to soundproof a townhome wall

An average ambient noise is around 60 decibels for somebody talking and that shouldn't be enough to disturb you in in the other side of the wall, but if your neighbor starts listening to a stereo radio that can go up to 90 decibels.

The townhome walls should be able to drop around 40 decibels on average for this particular case to bring the sound to around 50 decibels, so you can't hear the sound from the stereo (and the neighbor's taste for music). 

If the townhome wall wasn't built with a sound isolation technique or material, is still possible to fix that. Of course that will have some cost.

There are some specialized companies that sells soundproof materials that can isolate the annoying sound coming from your neighbors house.

To learn more about walls soundproofing visit the soundproof cow website.

Ask berfore buying

For first time buyers, there's a chance to ask the seller if the walls are soundproof or even test them yourself before buying.

Final considerations

Buying a new house is an important step in your life and I hope this post can help you understand a little bit more about the details of a townhome.

Please share this article so it can help other people.

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