When you are searching for a townhome, there are some key factors to consider beyond the standard home buying criteria of location, size, and price. Over the next 3 days, I will post the three top elements that buyers should contemplate when searching for a townhome, starting with the floor plans that are unique to townhomes.
There are two basic differences in townhome floor plans. Traditionally, the kitchen, dining and living rooms are upstairs on the second floor, to leave room for the garage on the first floor. Alternatively, there is the “first floor living” floor plan, where the kitchen, dining and living rooms are on the first/ground floor when you enter the home. There are pros and cons to both types of floor plans.
The traditional one with the kitchen upstairs means that you will have a built-in work-out every time you bring home groceries or Texas-sized purchases, unless, of course, there is an elevator installed on site. (Some townhouses may not include an elevator, but were designed to be “elevator capable” so that one can be installed should the need arise later.) This floor plan typically includes a bedroom downstairs, possibly with a private entry for guests. This separate entry can come in handy when hosting overnight guests, especially in-laws, but may not be so desirable if you have a teenager to contain. And while your teen may covet this private ground floor bedroom, your younger child may view this room as a dungeon, too far removed from your bedroom for his nighttime comfort.
On the other hand, the “first floor living” plan is obviously more logistically convenient as far as grocery delivery is concerned. However, this typically puts the kitchen and dining/living room somewhere behind the garage, so you may not get a window view out the front of your house to see who’s at your door.
Also, you may not get any windows directly in your kitchen, so pay attention to the amount of artificial lighting in the immediate area, and look for the presence of indirect natural lighting from a nearby window or glass door (more on this in Part II tomorrow).