As a first-time homebuyer, the litany of home types can be overwhelming. The right choice for you will largely depend on your wants, lifestyle, and budget. Let’s explore some common house types in Montgomery County, MD and beyond, and address considerations for buying a home in used or new condition.
There are two categories of residential building types: detached and attached.
A detached single-family home is the most sought-after home type in the US, with approximately 80 percent of Americans indicating that it is their preferred house type. Detached single family homes often provide a larger yard, more space and privacy, and more freedom to do what you choose with your property. The downsides of single-family detached homes are maintenance and cost – both are generally more than attached houses. Detached house types run the gamut and include: ranch, bungalow, carriage house, split level, colonial, cottage and more. In most markets, split levels, ranches, and bungalows are less expensive than, say, a colonial.
Attached homes are simply those with shared walls. Condominiums, co-ops, and townhomes are all examples of attached homes. These house types offer the benefits of lower cost, less maintenance, better amenities, and often a better location. Attached homes are also commonly more walkable to shopping and dining. The downsides of attached houses may include: less privacy, HOA fees, and similar exterior appearances.
Regardless of whether you buy a detached or attached home, you will need to choose the condition you will accept for the house. A “fixer upper” is heralded as a wonderful way to make a house your own, spend less, and gain sweat equity – but close attention to cost is important.
Before buying a fixer upper, consider hiring a contractor to walk through the property and provide an estimate for the work that you want to do. You can also explore financing options that will enable that renovations, such as with FHA’s 203k mortgage program or Fannie Mae’s HomeStyle mortgage program. In both instances, renovations must be completed immediately after closing on the purchase with funds made available as part of the mortgage financing. Keep in mind that renovation loans may appeal less to sellers that conventional loans, however, and assess your competition accordingly.
New construction offers the opportunity to get the exact home you envision with the modern benefits of energy efficiency, more space, and higher value. Those advantages aren’t free, however: on average, Trulia reports that new construction is typically 28 percent more expensive nationwide. Luckily, in the Silver Spring-Rockville-Frederick MD area, we rank among the top locations where you’ll spend the least for new construction.
Due to the cost premium, first-time homebuyers do not typically consider new construction. If you are, however, learn more about protecting yourself when buying new construction here.
There are pros and cons of every house type, but with so many great options out there and with the right financing, your ideal house is on the horizon. To find out more about the home types in your areas and the financing to match, contact us.