The Thai Townhouse: An Attractive Compromise

When it comes to choosing a home for the future, one oft-overlooked example of a viable option is the little townhouse. Between the countless offers for beautiful three-bedroom bungalows and luxurious condominiums within an hour’s commute of the city center online on sites like DDProperty and in newspapers, there lurk the posts for the little townhouse – also known as the terrace house.

Originally a European idea, terraced housing basically had one real requirement – it had to be compact. Really, really compact. In a time when condominiums simply weren’t architecturally or economically viable for anyone, let alone the working class, people began to build townhouses instead.

And the concept worked really well. It became common throughout Europe and its colonies – and today, most developed and developing nations in the world use the townhouse model. But it’s not just a model for reducing the effort and cost associated with a house and lot, or bypassing the costs associated with funding and building a condominium – townhouses can be luxurious and comfortable places to live in, especially for young couples and retirees.

As Thailand’s housing market continues to do well, townhouses in the outskirts of metropolis and special economic zones such as the ones reported on One Asia news will continue to drop in price. And as per World Bank, Thailand has many other projects slated for the next few years.

If you’re looking for a home to invest in, or a house to buy, then chances are that you’ll find exactly what you need in a cozy little townhouse – and here’s a couple basic ideas why.

They’re Easier To Maintain

The basic gist of a townhouse is that’s it’s a small house without much of a lawn and shared walls. That means that within your two walls (since the other two are shared), you have the freedom to maintain your home as you please – much like in a single-dwelling home, also known as a house and lot.

If you’re living in a condo, on the other hand, your monthly fees would include maintenance for your unit and others – and you’d have to pay them month after month. This means that your association fees within a townhouse community are generally lower than those within condos, and you can deal with the upkeep of your house’s exterior as you please.

You Change A Lot – But Not Too Much

Owning a townhouse basically means controlling much of it – but not everything. You can replace your furniture, tear out a dividing wall in the kitchen, and replace the front door – but you can’t do anything that would compromise the integrity of the entire row’s structure.

Furthermore, how much you can really do depends entirely on your Homeowners Association. Some HOAs are fine with a little modification – others are strict in making sure you maintain the uniformity of the homes, even as the principle owner.

Since townhouses are stringed together, each one plays a role in keeping the other structurally sound – that includes a continuous fence, shared walls, and often a shared roof. Modifications to any of these are typically not allowed.

Access to Shared Amenities

Like a condominium, living in a townhouse means being a member of that townhouse’s Homeowners Association, and the Homeowners Association typically uses association fees to install and maintain some basic amenities found in high-quality communities, such as a well-maintained shared pool, a tennis court and basketball court, and other such amenities.

The HOA may also cover maintenance for parts of a townhouse, such as the paint on the walls and your fencing. However, being the owner of a townhouse doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about insurance payments. In Thailand especially, getting some flood protection isn’t a terrible idea – and depending on the tectonics of your area, earthquake protection can be a necessity as well.

You’ll Have Your Neighbors Close

This can be a pro, or it can be a con – or it can be both at once, varying now and again. On one hand, having your neighbors closer can help you foster a more pleasant relationship, and a greater sense of community. Neighbors don’t have to be a nuisance – they can be good friends, great company, and an essential and integral part in your social life.

On the other hand, obnoxious neighbors can be the antithesis of a peaceful life. It’s best to always check your prospective next home – and its neighbors – before you make any purchasing decisions. Always get someone to inspect the state of the home, and speak with your possibly fellow homeowners to get a feel for the community.

A townhouse doesn’t have to be a permanent thing – you can own one until the time comes to upgrade to a condo or house, or like a condo, you can rent it out once you feel like upgrading to a single-dwelling home.

Owners Live By the CC&R

Once again, this is a boon and a bane – although it is mostly a boon. Townhouses, like condominiums, have what is called a CC&R for the most part. The covenants, conditions and restrictions are a community-specific document that all owners have to co-sign and agree upon, outlining the strict rules of the community for homeowner conduct.

While the restrictions may be annoying, they also ensure that you get the most out of your townhouse – that is, a happy co-existence with other owners on a cost-effective budget.

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