If you’re on the hunt for a new home, you’ve got a lot of decisions to make, including the type of home you want to buy. Of course, location is always a key factor in the search for a new home, but so is the type of space that you end up living in. You’ll want to make sure that the home you buy suits your lifestyle and offers you the commodities you need that will impact how you enjoy and use your home.
There are plenty of styles of houses out there, including semi-detached homes.
What is a Semi-Detached Home?
A semi-detached home is a single family home that is constructed as one part of a pair of homes that share one wall. Basically, it’s a type of home that is attached to another on one side. Many times, the layout of each attached home is the same, if not similar, as the other, making them easier to build and design. They differ from townhomes in that there are only two homes attached to one another, as opposed to several all in a row.
Is a semi-detached home right for you? Consider the pros and cons before making your purchasing decision.
Lower Purchase Price
Perhaps the biggest reason why buyers purchase a semi-detached home is that of the lower price tag compared to detached properties. Price usually dictates what type of property buyers purchase, and semi’s are more often less expensive than their detached counterparts.
Savings in Maintenance
In addition to the savings experienced upfront when buying the home, you may be able to experience ongoing savings in maintenance and repairs if you are able to share them with your neighbor, such as repairing the roof or sharing the cost of lawn maintenance.
More Space Than Townhomes and Condos
While semi-detached homes are often smaller than detached homes and sit on smaller lots, they still typically offer more space compared to other dwellings, including townhouses and condos. If price is a factor but you still would like to have some amount of outdoor living space and a bit more interior square footage, then a semi might make a better option compared to other types of residences.
Obviously, the biggest drawback to owning and living in a semi-detached home is the level of privacy you are missing out on that you would otherwise enjoy in detached homes. Since your homes are attached to one another, you won’t have much privacy when you exit your front door, depending on the design of the homes’ elevation. In addition, your driveways or front yards will also be attached.
Perhaps just as bothersome as a reduced amount of privacy of a semi-detached home is the level of noise that you may have to deal with. Since you’re sharing a wall with your neighbor, it will be easy for noise to transfer through, despite the builder’s efforts to soundproof the wall. If the home is particularly old, you can expect the noise to be even more prominent. This may not be a problem if your neighbor is quiet, but if there’s a lot of partying or yelling going on next door, you’ll be hearing it.
It’s not unheard of for owners of semi-detached homes to complain of food smells making their way to the other side of the wall, especially if they are cooking something with a strong scent, such as fish or dishes prepared with strong spices.
While there are definitely a lot of detached homes that have minimal square footage, semi-detached homes tend to be smaller in size. The key reason why semi-detached homes sell for less than detached homes is because of the smaller lot sizes in comparison to detached homes in the same neighborhood. When it comes to property value, land size has a lot to do with it.
Compromised Curb Appeal
Unless you and your neighbor can agree on the same exterior finishes, your home’s curb appeal can be negatively affected. For instance, many semi’s feature mismatched roofing materials, different colors on their front doors, and even different exterior wall materials. One side may have a lovely front porch while the other may have nothing more than overgrown weeds on the front lawn. All this takes away from the aesthetics of the home from the outside.
If you plan to do any major renovations, you might need to arrange things with your next-door-neighbor first, depending on the scope of the work. Things can get even more sticky if exterior work needs to be done on parts of the home that are on or close to the border of the homes.
The Bottom Line
Semi-detached homes can certainly be an attractive alternative to a townhouse or condo if price is a major priority for you. They offer many of the conveniences of detached homes with a lower price tag in the majority of cases. But you might be making some compromises in addition to enjoying a lower price, which you’ll definitely want to consider before making a semi-detached the type of dwelling you end up buying. When in doubt, consult with your real estate agent to help you determine whether this type of house is right for you.