Townhouse vs Single Family Home: Which is Right for You?

Toronto real estate listings are full of townhouses, semi-detached homes, and detached houses. When trying to decide between a regular single family house and a townhouse, there are many things one must consider. Are you looking for a house with lots of charm or are you looking for something with a modern look? Do you want a big yard and a beautiful garden or would you prefer not to get your hands dirty?

In many cases, choosing what kind of home to purchase comes down to your lifestyle needs and personal preferences, but it’s still never an easy decision. To help you find the place that’s right for you, we have broken down some of the key pros and cons to consider when choosing between a townhome and a house.


Why this option might be a good fit for you:

  • Low-maintenance: Many townhomes are governed by Homeowners’ Associations that assume responsibility for exterior maintenance including snow removal, landscaping, repairs, and cosmetic upkeep.
  • Cost: Townhomes are generally less expensive than detached homes. As an added bonus, they also often offer updated features like stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors, and granite countertops.
  • Security: With neighbours in close proximity, townhomes offer a unique sense of security. It is especially comforting when you go out of town to know that your neighbours will be there to keep watch over your space.
  • Amenities: Many come with amenities including parks, swimming pools, tennis courts, and more. These common areas are maintained by the Homeowners’ Association and their use is included in your fees.

Things to consider:

  • Privacy: Townhomes are essentially homes with shared walls. This is something to consider if you enjoy loud music or if you are frequently entertaining guests.
  • Uniformity: Many townhomes have a distinct exterior look that does not vary among the units. The yards, maintained by the Homeowners’ Association, will also generally follow suit. Many developments have a list of restrictions as to what you can and cannot do to change the interior of the townhouse as well.
  • Storage: Most townhomes will not offer much in the way of storage. If you have a lot of stuff, you may need to consider renting a storage locker.
  • Yard: Townhomes typically have a small backyard space, which is in close proximity to the neighbouring unit. This is something to consider if you enjoy a large yard or if you have a dog that requires space.


Why this option might be a good fit for you:

  • Higher re-sale value: According to a study by the Canadian Real Estate Association, the average price of a Canadian home increased in 2013 by 10.4 per cent. The ability to modify and improve your residence with renovations and additions is a strong selling feature for the single family home. You also have the freedom to enhance the exterior with landscaping and other more major improvements.
  • Privacy: There really is no better form of privacy than having a space to call your own. When you purchase a single family home, you own the land it is on and the ground beneath it. You also have the option to fence in your property for additional privacy.
  • Space: Detached homes offer the space and ability to accommodate a growing family or entertain a group of friends. Most single family homes come with a substantial property which allows space for a deck, BBQ, and outdoor entertaining.
  • Character: Many single family homes were built decades or even centuries ago, offering homeowners a rich sense of history and character that you can’t find in the newer developments.

Things to consider:

  • Repair costs: With age and character come repairs. If your new single family house is of the older variety, make sure you have some extra money in the bank to handle any repairs that might arise. Some common problems with older homes include poor insulation, drafty windows, and weathered roof shingles. Repairs to the exterior of the house, or interior issues like heating, plumbing, electrical, and any other small thing that pops up will be your responsibility.
  • General maintenance: When you own a single family home, you are also responsible for the property that comes along with it. This includes regular upkeep like snow removal, raking the leaves, and gardening.
  • Living space: While older single family dwellings offer character, not all of them work for today’s way of living. It’s not uncommon for older houses to have a few small and strangely located bathrooms or tiny closed-off kitchens. Newer townhomes often offer islands in the kitchens, better light and en-suite bathrooms.

Whether you decide to buy a single family house or a townhome, it may be difficult to find something in your ideal location in your price range. After all, heading out into a sea of bricks and mortar without extensive research can be extremely intimidating. With Zoocasa, you can search for homes via location (specific house, landmark, neighbourhood, city, region) and set filters based on price, year sold, and yes, housing type (condos, townhouse, etc.)

There are most certainly many other variables to consider in your decision-making process. Zoocasa urges you to conduct your own due diligence and consider all variables that matter to you, and seek the advise of a local experts who knows your neighbourhood of interest.

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Marketing at Zoocasa, Brokerage.

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