7 Pros and Cons of Buying a Semi-Detached Home

Dec 6, 2022Buying Basics, First-Time Home Buyers

When on the hunt for a home, you’ll have a lot of decisions to make – one of which will be what type of home to buy. Affordability is a significant factor in selecting the type of property you want to purchase, so a semi-detached home, depending on size and location, may be an option for homeownership.

As with any property, there are pros and cons to purchasing a semi-detached house. They may come at a lower cost and still provide many of the perks of a single-family home, but there is potential for a lack of privacy and noise from your connected neighbors.

Shop around, consult an EXCLUSIVE BUYER’S AGENT to help you weed out unappealing inventory, and weigh your options carefully before pulling the trigger. A semi-detached home may be the perfect fit for you.

What Is a Semi-Detached Home?

A semi-detached home is a multi-owner building that has two individual dwellings connected by a shared wall. Both homes will be very similar in layout, if not identical, but reversed. They’re individually owned, and maintenance is usually handled by the owner.

What’s the Difference Between a Semi-Detached Home and a Duplex or Townhome?

The primary difference between a semi-detached home and a duplex is the legal description of the property. In some parts of the United States, a semi-detached home is also called a duplex. With this type of property, there are two living units attached to each other joined by a single shared wall. A townhouse is described as a multi floor style home sharing one or two walls with an adjacent property. Each of these properties have its own entrance and often a small front lawn and backyard.

Semi-detached homes are unique from townhomes in that they typically come in pairs sharing only one wall, whereas a townhome might be one of several attached properties and can share both walls with the neighboring units. Additionally, is it possible for maintenance to be handled by a Homeowners Association (HOA) with a townhome, but in most cases, individual owners are responsible for the maintenance of their semi-detached home.

The terminology for home styles varies by location, so make sure to discuss the terms with your EXCLUSIVE BUYER’S AGENT.

Not sure if this kind of home is right for you? Let’s explore some of the pros and cons.

Pros of a Semi-Detached Home

A semi-detached property may cost less than a single-family home

Depending on where you are purchasing a semi-detached home, there can be an opportunity to purchase the property for less than a single-family home. A lower purchase price will also mean a lower mortgage payment each month which can add up to more savings over time.

Savings in Maintenance

Along with the savings you’ll make from a potentially lower purchase price, there’s also the potential for upkeep savings. You may be able to negotiate shared maintenance costs with your neighbor. For instance, if you need to replace roofing or siding, you might be able to split the costs with your neighbor. You might also be able to split the costs of snow removal or lawn care.

Square Footage of Semi-Detached, Townhouses, Condos, and Apartments

There is a direct correlation between price and square footage in semi-detached homes, townhouses, condos, and apartments. Semi-detached homes frequently have a front and back yard which can add value if the outdoor space is improved with a porch or patio.

Sometimes you’ll have access to a side yard as well and it’s not uncommon for owners to fence this area off for more space. The price point is important when deciding on a home, but so is space. A semi-detached house may be a good option if you want the best of both worlds.

Cons of a Semi-Detached Home

Potential for Neighbor Noise

One of the most bothersome aspects of semi-detached living is the level of noise you may have to deal with having attached neighbors. Since you’ll be sharing a wall with your neighbor, the noise may easily transfer through the wall. Additional soundproofing may be necessary, and this would be an additional cost to consider.

Noise could be a bigger problem with older homes that lack insulation. If you can meet the neighbor, do so. Having an amicable relationship with neighbors is always a good idea particularly when you share a wall with them.

Lack of Privacy

Because of the proximity with your neighbor in a semi-detached home, you may have a lack of privacy. Sometimes, you and your neighbor will share a driveway or have adjacent front porches. Again, developing a good relationship with your neighbor will be an important factor.

Reduced Curb Appeal

Many semi-detached homes have similar exterior designs which can add to the curb appeal. In some neighborhoods, the exterior design of a semi-detached property will look nothing like the adjacent property. If either property is not well maintained, it can diminish curb appeal.

Arranging Repairs or Renovations

There may be an opportunity to save on exterior maintenance if you share the cost with your neighbor. In some cases, a semi-detached property will have a shared roof and the cost of replacement could be split with your neighbor. Since each owner is responsible for their lot and property, renovations and repairs will be the responsibility of the individual owner. Since a wall is shared with your neighbor, it may be a good idea to inform them of any major construction projects so they can prepare accordingly.

Take Time Before Making a Decision

As with any home purchase, it’s important to gather all the available facts and the property history so you can make an informed decision. Just like detached homes, semi-detached homes vary in price, style, and size. If privacy is a high priority for you, a detached home may be a better choice. Every home will have unique factors to consider so take your time before making a decision.

Whether or not a semi-detached home is right for you comes down to IDENTIFYING YOUR PRIORITIES. When in doubt, talk with a QUALIFIED BUYER’S AGENT to help you decide. They may be able to find you a semi-detached home that comes with the right mix of tradeoffs and cost savings.


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