When looking for homes for sale in California, you are going to come across listings for Los Angeles townhomes, which may be a term you’re not familiar with. The housing market in Los Angeles is so tight that you may want to consider a townhome instead of a single-family house, but you need to know if the features of a townhouse make it the right choice for you.
Shopping for Los Angeles Townhomes
What Is a Townhome?
Essentially, a townhome is a multi-floor house that is attached to other multi-floor houses. Each townhouse is individually owned and each owner is responsible for both the exterior and interior of the townhome. They are common in dense urban and suburban areas, where space is at a premium. They’re often managed by a homeowners association (HOA).
Many Los Angeles properties for sale are townhomes that use vertical space instead of taking up square footage of land in populous areas and are a necessity in many parts of this busy city. A townhouse differs from a condominium in that condos usually resemble apartments but are individually owned instead of leased. Additionally, a condo owner is usually only responsible for the interior of their units and doesn’t often have a yard, which is a common feature of townhomes.
What Is a Homeowners Association?
Prior to considering a townhouse, you must be familiar with the concept of a homeowners association or HOA. This is because most townhouse real estate in California is managed by an HOA, so yours likely will be, too. An HOA is an organization that consists of all homeowners who own a townhouse on the property and has the function of creating and enforcing rules for the property and residents. An HOA board is periodically elected to oversee these rules.
The rules of an HOA typically govern what you can and can’t do to the exterior of your home in terms of putting up a fence, the paint colors you use, items you can display, and even whether you can park outside your house. It is also responsible for choosing vendors for garbage collection, snow removal, and other collective services. Finally, they are charged with maintaining communal use areas like clubhouses, swimming pools, and general grounds.
Each homeowner pays monthly or annual dues to the HOA to cover expenses related to managing the property, and Los Angeles townhomes usually have lower HOA dues than condominiums because there are fewer maintenance tasks that the HOA has to perform. However, as an HOA member, you could be required to pay a special assessment if an expense arises that must be paid for beyond what the regular dues cover, but this is true for any HOA.
Benefits of Townhomes
There are quite a few benefits that may be enough to convince you to look for townhomes for sale in Los Angeles. To start, they offer a minimal amount of maintenance when compared with single-family homes. The yards are usually smaller, and there is less exterior surface area to maintain since at least one side and, often two sides, of the home are shared with other owners. Some services are provided by the HOA as well.
Pet owners often prefer townhomes over condos because of that little bit of yard they own, since they can let their pets outside without putting them on a leash. Additionally, townhouse HOAs are usually somewhat more lenient with door and shutter colors and other exterior features than condominium HOAs, which means townhome owners are allowed to personalize their homes a little more than condominium owners. Townhouses are often perfect starter houses for brand new homeowners.
Townhomes are usually cheaper than single-family houses, which can be important for first-time homebuyers or for people looking to move into Los Angeles from a city with a lower cost of living. Real estate agents in Los Angeles often show townhomes to small families, couples, new homeowners, and new Los Angeles residents as an affordable alternative to pricier options in the city. Don’t be fooled though: townhomes can be as luxurious as any other housing option.
Drawbacks of Townhomes
The main drawback of townhouses is that they’re almost always governed by an HOA, and while the appeal of the property being managed by a third party is a priority for some homeowners, others dislike the relative lack of freedom they feel they have from the various restrictions placed on them as members of an HOA. However, it’s important to realize that the restrictions are voted on by the HOA members, so you would have a voice in the HOA rules.
If you don’t like sharing walls with your neighbors, you may want to consider other Viewpark properties for sale because you’ll share at least one wall, and probably two, if you buy a townhouse. That being said, townhouse builders are much better at sound dampening these days, so ask your Inglewood, CA realtor to show you more modern townhouses if you are attracted by other aspects of owning a townhouse but are concerned about the noise from shared walls.
People who dislike maintaining their home’s exterior and lawn will likely want to look for a condo to own instead of a townhouse. Even though a townhome has less maintenance than a single-family home, it has more than a condo, and if you don’t maintain your home, you will be fined by the HOA for not following maintenance rules. These can add up quickly if you neglect your property, so be sure you’re aware of your responsibilities.
Choosing the Right Housing Option
Where you live is a highly personal choice, and townhouse living isn’t for everyone. In general, though, Los Angeles townhomes are excellent for younger people who don’t want to spend a lot of time on lawn and exterior home maintenance. They’ll still be required to perform some maintenance tasks, but they will be far fewer than with owning a single-family home. Additionally, there will be guidelines that need to be followed, which is easier for some than for others.
Speaking of rules, you’ll need to be comfortable with having an HOA dictate what you can and can’t do to the outside of your home. Some people can’t imagine not being able to customize their home’s color or put up a fence of their choosing. If this resembles you, it might be better for you to only consider single-family homes that aren’t in HOA-governed communities. If you’re not sure, ask a current townhome owner for their opinion of their HOA.
Older homeowners and people who have mobility problems will probably want to avoid townhomes and look for other options simply because of the number of stairs most townhouses have. It may be challenging for them to move between the levels of a townhome on a regular basis. Look for single-story homeowners who are selling a house instead of a townhouse to better meet your mobility needs.
Buying a townhouse in a big city is an excellent way to become a property owner and not have all the headaches that can come with owning a single-family home. Contact Teresa Mack today to see what townhouses or other properties are currently for sale in your area.