7 Pros and Cons of Buying a Semi -Detached Home

Jun 13, 2019Buying Basics

Image of 3 different houses with a backyard that has a swing set and foldable chairs

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. Semi detached houses have their own advantages, but like anything, they also have their downsides. This is a type of home in which two separate homes are joined together through a shared wall. Both homes will be very similar in layout, if not exactly the same.

What is a Semi Detached House?

A semi detached house is essentially a single family home that is joined by a shared wall. This results in two separate homes being separated by that wall. Usually, the homes have very similar designs and this results in them being more affordable.

Buying a semi detached house brings on a number of pros and cons.

Not sure if a semi detached house is right for you? Here are some of the semi detached house advantages and disadvantages.

Upsides of Semi Detached Houses

1. Lower Purchase Price

Your budget will be a big deciding factor in what kind of home you buy, and semi -detached housing is usually more affordable. A lower purchase price will also mean a lower mortgage payment each month. This can translate to savings of as much as $1,000 a month.

2. Savings in Maintenance

Along with the savings you’ll make from the lower purchase price, there’s also the potential for upkeep savings. Since you both share the same lot, you may be able to negotiate for 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 the neighbor of your semi-detached house. You might also be able to split the costs of snow removal or lawn care.

3. More Space than Townhouses and Apartments

While semi-detached homes will typically be smaller than detached homes, they still usually provide more space than a townhouse or apartment. This is especially true when it comes to yard space.

Even if you’re sharing the lot with your neighbor, you’ll have more space than you would have with a townhouse. The price point is important when deciding on a home, but so is space. If you want the best of both, then a semi-detached home will do the job.

Problems with Semi Detached Homes

1. Potential for Lots of Noise

One of the most bothersome aspects of semi-detached living is the level of noise you may have to deal with. Since you’ll be sharing a wall with your neighbor, the noise can really transfer. Even soundproofing may not be enough to stop everything that comes through.

This is an even bigger problem with older homes that lack insulation. Inquire about your neighbor’s lifestyle before buying. If it’s a retired couple, then you probably won’t have a problem. But if it’s a young couple that likes to throw weekend parties, then that could be an issue.

2. Lack of Privacy

Along with noise comes the level of privacy you’ll be missing out on with a semi detached house. This is one of the main reasons why this type of living isn’t for everyone. You can learn more about making the right real estate choices in our blog.

Along with a shared wall, you’ll also be sharing a driveway and front yard, so you’ll want to have neighbors you’re on good terms with.

3. Reduced Curb Appeal

Most semi-detached homes come with the exact same exterior, but not always. If you can’t get your neighbor to agree on the same exterior, then your curb appeal will be seriously affected. If you choose to sell someday, you may have trouble finding a buyer.

The curb appeal will be negatively affected by differently colored roof tiles, door color, or even different wall finishes. A different front porch will also look unappealing. Imagine one side with an enclosed porch and an awning, while the other one just has overgrown weeds.

4. Arranging Repairs

As mentioned above, there is the potential for maintenance savings but only if you can negotiate with your neighbor. Before you can start work, you’ll need to talk with them first as you may need their compliance to get the job finished.

Things can get more complicated if you have to carry out major repairs that are on or close to the border of the homes. The same also applies if your neighbor is the one that has to carry out repairs. This could mean weeks or months of construction noise.

Final Thoughts

Semi-detached homes come with significant price savings and the potential for more space than an apartment or townhouse. But consider the significant compromises on noise and privacy levels. Whether or not a semi-detached home is right for you really 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.

If you’re thinking of buying a semi-detached house, you’ll want to find a qualified and experienced agent.


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