The big question on most people’s minds when they’re thinking of buying a house has to do with location. Where is the house located? What’s the neighborhood like? And how does the location fit into my lifestyle?

But the other equally important point to consider is the building style. Are you looking for a townhouse, or a single-family home?

These two types of construction offer different benefits and can fulfill different needs, so it’s well worth your time to consider whether a townhouse or a single-family home is right for you.

What’s The Difference Between a Townhouse and Single-Family Home?

The main difference between townhouses and single-family homes has to do with their proximity to neighboring houses and other buildings.

A single-family home is what a lot of people picture when they think of a home. It stands alone on the property and is its own independent building. Single-family homes come in many different architectural styles, from ranch and craftsman to colonial and Victorian, but all single-family homes have the common aspect of being standalone buildings.

A townhouse, by contrast, is what people may picture when they think of more contemporary or urban residences like brownstones. That’s because all townhouses share one or more walls with their neighboring townhouses. Although they’re often multiple stories tall, they don’t usually have units above or below them, like a condominium or apartment building would.

Townhouses are built as a series of housing units, with the exterior walls of one townhouse blending into the exterior walls of another.

You may have heard the term ‘row house,’ which refers to generally shorter townhouses that are built directly along a city street. However, townhouses can vary in the way they’re arranged, and can be built in different formations in communities and suburban areas as well. Like single-family homes, townhouses can also be found in age-restricted communities.

A row of townhouses at Casa Del Mar, in Boynton Beach, FL

Although townhouses are built up against one another, that does not necessarily mean they’re smaller than single-family homes. Townhouses can be equally spacious and contain features like garages, backyards, decks, and pools.

Why You Might Prefer a Townhouse Over a Single-Family Home

While a single-family home is one great choice for people looking to take the next step into homeownership, townhouses are attractive options for many reasons.

The first thing you should know about townhouses is that they’re often more affordable than single-family homes. If your savings isn’t in the right place for a larger investment, a townhouse may be the perfect, economical choice for you.

Townhouses also tend to have lower HOA (Homeowners Association) fees, meaning you’ll save some amount on annual expenses.

Because townhouses share certain structural aspects with neighboring units, they are also often easier to maintain and require less upkeep work from the owner every year. Generally speaking, townhouses are popular choices for first-time home buyers and people who know they may need to move in the near future, and are not looking for a lifetime investment.

Single-family homes, on the other hand, can provide a greater sense of privacy, since you’re not living right next up against your neighbors.

Single-family homes also allow for greater expansion and customization. For instance, if down the line you want to build an outdoor playground, install an in-ground swimming pool, or add an extra bedroom, you have much more freedom to do those things with a single-family home. Even smaller projects like changing the exterior color of your home are generally not possible with townhouses.

What’s Next?

Now that you know the differences between townhouses and single-family homes, let us help you figure out which one is right for you. Visit to find your dream home today.

Last Updated on February 7, 2020