Monday, 19 October 2015

4 Questions to Ask When Buying a Townhome

Like condos and co-ops, townhomes are common interest developments (CIDs). In a CID, neighbours share more than a street name, their properties are entwined through the sharing of a common wall. Because townhomes are typically owned, owners are bound by some basic agreements, including easement rights. That means that while you don’t own your neighbour’s half of the party wall, you do have certain rights, including its demolition (which would damage the integrity of your wall); and the same often goes for fences and driveways. Owners of townhomes are also obliged to maintain the exterior of their homes. So townhome living becomes a combination of condo living and single dwelling living.

With that in mind, here’s a few questions to ask that are specific to buying, and living in, a town house:

1.    Tell me about the Homeowners Association

Most communal areas, for example parks or recreation centres (and even the parking lot), are regulated by the homeowners association. The Homeowners Association can really set the tone of any neighborhood, and often include some fees, whether to fund holiday parties or maintain those common areas.

2.    How thick are your Walls?

Just because you share a wall with your neighbours, doesn’t mean you want to share their day-to-day activities as well. Take the time to see how well sound travels through your home, whether it’s taking to tenants, or visiting the townhouse at several different times throughout the day

3.    How’s the Natural Ambiance?

Is your town house near a park or lake? Does it have access to a walking system? Touches of nature like these can easily enhance an urban townhome. End units often have a little more outdoor space, and if your potential town house is in the middle, having an outdoor haven is a great plus.

4.    Talk to me about the CC&R

Covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) are rules that are part and parcel with living in certain communities. A CC&R can dictate anything from whether you’re allowed to have pets to whether you can hang a clothesline. But don’t fret, because of CC&Rs, rows of townhouses often look nicer, are safer, and maintain higher property values (while keeping your neighbor from blocking your parking space).

House hunting can be stressful, but with a clear idea of what you want, and knowing what to look for, you can minimize risks and find yourself in the home, and community, of your dreams.

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