2 min read

Single-family detached residences, condos, townhomes, and multi-family units… so many choices for homebuyers! Which option is best for you?

Single-Family Detached Home

Your traditional house is the dream of almost any homeowner. A nice little – or big – house with a yard and maybe a few trees is perfect for a couple or family starting out. Traditional home ownership means that:


  • You own the house and the property it sits on
  • It’s relatively easy to qualify for a traditional home loan 
  • You’ll have access to the most programs and loan options
  • Once the home is yours, you can decorate however you wish
  • The neighbors won’t be right up on you


  • Any repairs and maintenance are all on you once you buy the home
  • If you love city life but can’t afford real estate close to town you might have to settle for the suburbs
  • Smaller houses in good condition can be hard to find 


Living in a condo is a lot like living in an apartment except that your lease is never up! Condo owners like owning their home, and love not dealing with hassle:


  • Things like lawn maintenance and roof repair are part of the benefits
  • Insurance costs are usually lower for a condo compared to a house  
  • You can have an onsite pool, gym, playground, or coffeeshop  


  • The homeowners association (HOA) fees are usually very high for condos
  • Bad condo management can definitely sour the experience
  • Selling a condo can be tricky and take time  
  • If the building is old, be prepared for a sudden hike in fees to cover repairs or renovations 


Want to land somewhere in the middle between a single family house and a condo? A townhouse/townhome could be perfect for you. 


  • You can feel close to your neighbors without sharing your ceiling or floor
  • If you adore having a multilevel home on a small footprint, townhouse life is for you
  • Even in expensive areas, a townhome can be affordable


  • You may have to settle for a teeny tiny yard – if you get one at all
  • Even though you own your entire property, you’ll still have HOA fees
  • A townhome isn’t necessarily going to be cheaper than a house by the square footage

Multi-family Residences

If you have disposable income, can absorb the costs, and want to invest, try hacking your house payment with a multi-unit property.


  • You can live in one unit and rent out the rest for extra cash
  • You might be able to charge enough in rent to completely cover your mortgage  
  • As long as you live on site, you pay residential property interest rates, not commercial  


  • Being a landlord can be a challenge if not a downright pain
  • Vacancies can leave you floundering if you can’t pay the mortgage on your own  
  • Appreciation for a multi-family property is slower than for a single-family home

Make your own pros and cons list for each option, and then decide what kind of home is the best type for you. Then get to house hunting!

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Rates & Money is your go-to destination for free information about mortgages. Our home buyer guides and home loan articles are designed to help you make informed decisions when buying a home


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