I often get asked, “what’s an attached house?” They are aren’t common in a lot of places around the U.S., so it’s reasonable to wonder if you haven’t seen or heard of the term.
A lot of folks think of attached homes as apartment-like buildings, or row-houses, or brownstone walk-ups in New York and the like. But attached homes are just that…two (or more) separate homes that share a single, common wall. The properties are each individually owned, with their own mortgages, no shared expenses and typically NOT oriented toward each other.
Why would anyone want an attached home?
When most buyers think of owning a home, they are thinking of a place with a yard or buffer on all sides, not connected to anyone else. But an attached home is a great concept. You get a full-size house, typically with outdoor space on at least three sides, for less than a traditional, stand-alone version. These homes are often built on parcels of land that are too small for a single home, but are perfect for an attached home, and are usually oriented so that garages, entrances and windows never face your attached neighbor.
Newer construction is usually well-made, so noise isn’t an issue and privacy, except for shared backyard space, is not often a problem.
Attached homes can often be less expensive to build since they share a smaller lot and are designed to share some economies of scale when it comes to building. There are lots of well-made attached homes that are very expensive, too, so this is not always a place to seek a bargain.
Why would anyone NOT want an attached home?
For some people, the idea of sharing anything with anyone when it comes to housing, is a real turn-off and feels too much like renting. Often a single wall is shared, and in poorly constructed homes, you might be able to hear your neighbors.
Likewise, outdoor space can be private on some sides of the house, not on others, so someone will likely always be able to know what you’re up to.
In terms of resale, if they are not popular in your area, you may find buyer-resistance when it comes time to sell.
And finally, since a wall is shared, one entire side of a home is often windowless. Depending on how a home is oriented on a property, this can mean a very dark home in certain times of year. Sometimes skylights are added to increase natural light, but if you crave windows, keep this in mind.
When you’re inside an attached home, you usually can’t tell. The construction, orientation and finish are like any construction. So unless you’re specifically against the concept, check one out if your area has them as a purchasing option. They can be a lower-cost alternative to a stand-alone home.
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