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What sets a Townhouse apart from a Duplex?

May 31, 2023  
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Townhouses and duplexes, also known as semi-detached homes, are two types of multi-family casting choices that feed to families seeking cost-effective casing results and are open to the idea of participating walls.

Townhouses encompass a range of attached home styles that can vary significantly from one residence to another. Various styles of townhouses exist, including those with front or rear driveways, carriage-style townhomes, as well as row housing.
On the other hand, duplexes consist of two dwellings connected by a shared wall, which can have attached or detached garages. They often feature yards that are divided by fencing.

1) Number of Shared Walls

Townhomes are multi-family housing complexes that can consist of three, four, or five units arranged in a row, or four units stacked with two on the top floor and two on the main floor. In many cases, these units share walls with their neighboring units on either side.
Duplexes, on the other hand, consist
of only two connected homes. Each owner of a duplex owns half of the entire structure and shares only one wall with their adjacent neighbor.

Having a higher number of shared walls in townhomes can result in increased noise levels. Additionally, the presence of shared walls limits the placement of windows to the external walls, potentially reducing natural light in interior units. However, this trade-off often translates to a lower cost, particularly for units located within the complex.
To mitigate noise and odors between homes, it is essential for well-constructed party walls to be in place. A reputable builder should recognize the significance of incorporating multi-layered party walls to enhance your comfort within the housing unit.

2) Condo Fees & HomeOwners Association Fees

If you’re unsure whether a townhome or condo suits your needs, one crucial factor to consider is the presence of condo fees or HOA fees, which often play a significant role for prospective homebuyers.
Given that multiple individuals or families reside within the same structure, townhomes commonly have a governing board responsible for overseeing the maintenance and operations of the premises.

To cover expenses such as roof repairs, landscaping, snow management, and other communal amenities, a fee, typically referred to as condo or HOA fees, is often collected. While many homeowners appreciate the convenience of having these aspects managed for them, such fees can pose challenges for those on a tight budget.

On the other hand, duplexes typically do not involve such fees. Since there are only two homeowners involved, key decisions and expenses, like roof replacements, are generally easier to handle and do not require a governing board.
It’s worth noting that in both cases, community or developer-imposed HOA fees may still apply. Therefore, it’s advisable to inquire about this aspect when exploring different communities with your builder to find the perfect fit.

3) Size

In Edmonton, townhomes are typically sized between 1000 to 1400 square feet, making them an ideal choice for young families looking for starter homes. While it may be more challenging to find townhouses with spacious garages and yards, it is common to come across models that feature at least a single attached garage.

In contrast, duplexes offer homeowners a slightly more generous living area, typically spanning between 1200 to 1800 square feet. These homes often feature single or double garages and share a divided yard with one other household. In duplex homes like the one we have, dividers are in place to separate the deck space and fully fenced yards, ensuring both privacy and a sense of independence.

4) Price

When it comes to pricing, townhomes are generally more affordable for first-time home builders. The specific prices are influenced by various factors, including the location, lot size, the presence of an attached or detached garage, and other considerations.

5) Privacy

Both townhomes and duplexes provide a higher level of privacy compared to apartment buildings and condos since you are not surrounded by neighbors on all sides.
Duplexes, in particular, offer a slightly greater degree of privacy as you are only attached to one neighboring home on one side. In contrast, townhomes consist of multiple homes connected to one another, which may result in more frequent interaction with neighbors.
However, both types of homes can offer satisfactory privacy when they are constructed with well-designed party walls that effectively minimize sound transmission between units.

6) Exterior

Are you someone who enjoys do-it-yourself (DIY) projects? Do you anticipate wanting to modify the exterior of your home, such as changing the paint color? If so, you may find slightly more flexibility in a duplex compared to a townhome.
In a duplex, while the community’s style guidelines may still govern the overall exterior aesthetics, collaborating with your adjacent neighbor could potentially allow for small modifications.
Conversely, townhomes typically do not permit exterior cosmetic alterations. In most cases, owners are unable to make architectural changes or exercise aesthetic decision-making. While this ensures a cohesive curb appeal, it may limit your ability to express your artistic vision.

7) Yard

If having a spacious outdoor area for your kids or furry friends to enjoy, or if you have a green thumb and value gardening, a duplex may be the ideal choice for you.
Townhouses generally provide a small grassy area at the front or back of the home, but it tends to be limited in size, often just a few feet across in each direction. In certain areas, you may come across townhouse models with yards, but they typically come with a higher price tag. If you’re passionate about gardening, townhouse dwellers might need to be resourceful and creative in finding ways to cultivate their plants.
In contrast, duplexes typically offer a larger and more secluded yard. This outdoor space is usually yours to modify, granting you freedom and flexibility to design it according to your preferences. Living in a duplex provides a sense of separate living and allows you to have your own space to enjoy.

8) Maintenance

When it comes to basic exterior maintenance tasks like shoveling snow and mowing the lawn, duplex homeowners are responsible for taking care of these duties themselves. On the other hand, townhome residents generally have the advantage of not having to worry about grounds maintenance, as it is handled and funded through condo or HOA fees.
This difference in responsibility means that townhouse homeowners experience less burden and concern regarding outdoor upkeep. Individuals who enjoy seasonal travel or extended periods abroad often find townhomes appealing for this reason, as they are relieved from the need to hire external services to assist with maintenance tasks.

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