Buying a house is a bit like planning for your wedding day — there are months packed with excitement, stress, planning, and then, finally, the big payoff. Although I can’t help you with
If you’re tired of renting an apartment and are ready to actually own a piece of property, you may immediately think your next step is to buy a house. But, what kind of house? There are actually several methods of home ownership and each has its own benefits and drawbacks. Here are a few of them:
1. Single Family Home ($$$)
This is probably what most people imagine when they think about buying a home. It’s a free standing structure with its own yard and driveway, and it’s all yours. However, if the property is all yours, so are all the related costs and responsibilities. If you are handy enough to maintain a home and lawn on your own, or can afford to pay for professional maintenance, it’s really hard to beat the privacy, freedom, and comfort of owning a house.
If the cost of a home seems insurmountable, consider browsing foreclosure listings. These properties aren’t always in the best shape, but some elbow grease and know-how can drastically improve these more affordable homes. But, if the idea of all of that upkeep seems overwhelming, just keep reading.
2. Townhouse ($$)
A townhouse is a two-in-one building in which neighboring families are separated by a shared wall in the middle of the house. Oftentimes, a townhouse is part of a community association that takes care of some of the maintenance of the building, (so you shouldn’t have to fight over who’s fixing the furnace this time), however each community varies in what it cares for and what is left up to the individual home owners. If you’re looking for most of the freedoms of owning a house but without all of the associated responsibilities and at a lower price point, consider looking for a townhouse to call home.
3. Condominiums ($)
Condos are almost always part of a Homeowner’s Association, which means two things: less responsibility for upkeep, but less freedom. Your HOA fees will cover lawncare and property maintenance, and sometimes even community areas like lounges or pools. But an HOA isn’t just a benevolent responsibility fairy; it also has rules and restrictions for how you can use and alter your home. Don’t worry– you own the place and can paint, decorate, renovate, etc., just within parameters established by your HOA. If you’re willing to sacrifice just a little bit of individual control, or if you’re looking to save a bit more money, a condo may just be the right choice for your next place.
Home ownership is not a “one size fits all” experience. As a home buyer, do your best to resist the pressure of sticking to the status quo. Maybe you’ve grown up in condominiums, but you want to work on your green thumb and take control of the landscaping. Or perhaps you’re tired of spraying weeds and would rather be inside repainting your bathroom or relaxing with your family. Each home ownership style has its own unique features and characteristics; it’s up to you to decide what best suits your lifestyle and preferences.
Paula is a lifelong resident of the Cedar Valley. She and her husband Rich are both graduates of UNI with BAs in Business Management. She spent many years as a Sales Representative for RJ Reynolds and....