A row house, more commonly known as a townhouse, is a row of nearly identical single or multi-story homes that share a wall. This style of home offers several of the advantages of a single family home without a lot of the maintenance. However, owners of row houses have less freedom with their property than many single-family homeowners.
A row house is one of the ideal ways to fit a large amount of residential real estate in a small area. Unlike apartments, row houses offer owners or residents more square footage, private entrances and more often than not, a small front and back yard. Most row houses have homeowners associations that take care of much of the maintenance of the outdoor areas, as well as offer access to fitness centers, parks and pools in the area. Row house owners enjoy the financial benefit of owning not only a home but also a piece of land, without a lot of the work of owning and maintaining a detached home.
While more private than apartments or condominiums, row houses do not offer the privacy of a detached home. Sharing walls with one’s neighbors can be uncomfortable where noise is concerned, as well as add fuel to the fire of local gossipers. If located in the center of a row house complex, moving items from the front of the home to the back, or vice versa, can be quite a long walk. There is also a lack of freedom with row houses verses detached homes. A homeowners association must approve most changes to the exterior of the home, and uniqueness is frowned upon.
Row houses make owning a family home a real possibility for city dwellers, as well provide architectural interest in a mass of skyscrapers.