Single Family Attached vs Detached 101: How To Choose?

When looking for a home, the type of house is one of many decisions you'll have to make. Location is important, but so is the type of house.

Choosing the right home can be overwhelming.

Understanding the differences between single family attached vs detached housing will help you choose a style that matches your needs, reducing stress with your search.

Even if you are thinking of building, this article will help! Let’s dive in, shall we?

Firstly, What Does ‘Detached’ Housing Mean In Real Estate?

The term "detached housing" refers to a single-family house that is unattached to any other residences or buildings.

More common terms include: “standalone house”and
“single detached house”.

What does this mean for you?

This means a lot more space to do what you want, with a lot less neighbors in your proximity. You could even buy land way out in the country to build your new home and live off the grid!

What Is A Detached House? (And Why It Matters)

When selling off-market, you can use a real estate agent or do the entire procedure yourself. Real estate agents can be very pricey when it comes to selling your home. The second method is far less expensive. Here is some advice on house selling for individuals who choose the DIY route:

Single-Family House Definition

A single family house is a house that is occupied by a single family household and is used as a single living unit or suite. It typically has one owner, no shared walls, and is on its own property.

Not included in this definition are hotels, motels, inns, rooming or boarding houses, apartments, or condominiums.

Detached House Definition:

A detached house is one that does not share a wall with any other houses or buildings. This includes, other single family houses, multi-family houses, or commercial properties. Row houses and tower blocks are not included.

What Is A Semi-Detached House?

Semi-detached houses are often known as semi attached housing. A semi-detachedhouse is a single-family house that shares only one common wall.

These types of homes comprise of two separate dwelling units that join by one wall or sit on top of each other. This is not to be confused with terraced homes or townhouses, which share a wall on each side.

Often, semi-detached houses are built in pairs. To make construction easier, each house's plan mirrors the layout of the other.

Another term for semi-detached housing is an "end-of-terrace" property which only shares one wall with another house.

Now that we understand semi-detached houses, let’s look at their pros and cons.

Semi-Detached Homes And Their Advantages And Disadvantages

Single Family Attached vs Detached

Advantages:

Lower Cost

Low cost is the most compelling point for home buyers and builders. Typically a semi-detached home is cheaper than a detached home because of their smaller size and shared wall.

Shared Maintenance Costs

If you and your neighbor can share costs you will save money. Examples include property repairs, maintenance, roof repairs and yard care.

More Space than Condominiums

Compared to condominiums, semi-detached homes offer more room. If cost is a concern, a semi-detached home can be a happy medium between a condominium and a detached home.

A semi-detached home can offer you many of the same luxuries of a detached house at a lesser price. This is because you will be sharing a wall with your neighbor.

Disadvantages:

Privacy

A major disadvantage of living in a semi-detached home is the lack of seclusion. Depending on the design, driveway, back yard, and front yards could be connected resulting in a lack of privacy.

Noise Levels

Despite the builder's efforts to soundproof the wall, sounds will penetrate through it.

The amount of noise will vary. The noise will be amplified if the house is old or if your neighbor is loud.

Scents

If you are sensitive to smells, don’t overlook this! It's common for semi-detached property owners to pick up strong scents through the walls. This is especially true when cooking fish or foods with strong spices, or if there is cigarette smoke.

Less Space than Detached House

Semi-detached houses are smaller than detached houses. Semi-detached houses sell for less than detached houses because of their smaller lots and overall home size. If you plan to expand your family or simply desire more space now, a detached house might be best.

Unattractive Curb Appeal

Your home's curb appeal is the general attractiveness of your home’s exterior. If this is important to you, note it may suffer if you and your neighbor disagree on the aesthetics.

Many semi attached houses have mismatched roofing materials, door colors, and exterior wall materials. There may be a lovely front porch on one side and weeds on the other. Curb appeal is not only important for aesthetic viewing, but resale value.

Repairs

Depending on the repairs, you may need to ask your neighbor such as roofing or landscaping. Property borders also complicate things like fencing and shared driveways repairs.

What Does ‘Attached’ Housing Mean In Real Estate?

Attached housing are dwelling units on separate land parcels that share common walls and are connected by a shared property line. Examples include townhouses, rowhouses, and similar structures.

Attached housing makes up a tiny proportion of homes in the USA. In 2020, a million homes were sold of which 83,000 were attached.

What Is A Semi-Attached House?

A semi attached home is also known as a “semi-detached,” or “semi home.” This type of home shares one wall within a single-family house.

Single Family Attached Vs Detached Major Differences

Attached Vs Detached Major Differences

Now, let's look at the fundamental differences between attached and detached houses.

In attached houses, there are at least two units that share a wall with each other. Examples include Rowhouses, townhouse-style condominiums, and even two-story houses with distinct entrances. Apartment complexes are, in fact, attached.

How does this differ from detached?

In a detached house, there are no common walls and in most suburban areas these are commonly houses. Importantly, there is no minimum distance required for houses to detach. Even with six inches of separation from your neighbor, it’s still detached.

Does Ownership Differ Between Attached And Detached Homes?

Rules and Regulations:

Attached Houses

Attached houses usually come with at least one restriction on what you can do with it. This is because an HOA, or homeowners’ association, owns or manages attached houses in most neighborhoods. They set and enforce rules for the properties and residents.

Detached Houses

Detached houses often come with their own lot. As a result, it is now yours and you have greater control over it. Detached houses have a lot more freedom than HOAs since you can do whatever you want with them.

History:

Attached houses

Attached houses are often ran by associations with strict standards. A tight ship means less likelihood of running into significant issues with the house.

Detached houses

Detached houses are less restricted, so there’s more potential for a shaky past. You can investigate the history of a home through various methods. Because many people want this info, knowing the history can help if you decide to sell the home later.

Pros And Cons Of Attached And Detached Houses

Pros of Attached Homes

  • Rentability - Attached houses are more rentable. This isn't always true, but it's often enough to remember. than detached homes. Many people investors who buy residences like multiple apartment complexes rent out the unit next to their own. It provides which provides stable income.
  • Supply - Attached housing is more available and common in major cities. This means they are close. Their proximity to parks, hospitals, banks, freeways, and shopping centers makes them more attractive. They may also be closer to family and friends.

Cons of Attached Homes

  • Contamination - Attached homes can be riskier depending on your neighbors and the home itself. If your neighbors' building property catches fire, it's likely to spread to yours. Pest infestations can spread between houses through tiny cracks in the walls and foundation.
  • Size - Attached houses are likewise generally more compact and smaller in size. Due to increased demand, attached houses are becoming increasingly compact.

Pros of Detached Homes

  • Safety - Detached houses are typically safer and because they give you offer more space from your neighbor. Detached dwellings are also a symbol of a more affluent community and can often be in gated areas for added protection.
  • Acreage - More single family detached homes are being sold than ever before as buyers seek more acreage to produce crops, small gardens, or raise animals.
  • Privacy - Due to buyers enjoying added privacy and better social separation afforded by with a detached house, more people are choosing to live in these properties.
  • Value - When it comes to getting "more for your money," these houses are usually the best bet. Detached properties offer more value as they feature more room, fewer neighbors, and less stringent laws and regulations.

Cons of Attached Homes

  • Affordability - Detached houses are often more expensive than their attached equivalents.. If you’re buying, consider taxes and other home expenses before purchasing.

Which Is Right For You: Attached Or Detached Homes?

Both attached and detached homes have benefits and drawbacks. Here are some valuable insights that will aid your decision.

attached house

Location, Location, Location!

Choose an attached house if you enjoy city living and having neighbors. Most attached houses are in urban regions and densely populated suburbs. Detached houses are usually in less congested locations, providing you greater independence.

Pricing and Cost - How To Spot Value

Attached houses

Pricing - Attached houses are often less expensive than detached houses. Attached houses each have their own value, with some slight variances.

Value -Condominiums, as an example, are popular because they are small and easy to maintain. They are also less expensive than a larger detached house. This provides value to a certain type of person. Perfect for someone who likes amenities, easy maintenance, and a leisurely lifestyle.

Detached Houses

Pricing - If you buy a detached house, expect a price increase since you'll be the property owner for the property. Not only will the cost of the home be higher but maintaining it will add extra expenses as well. You must consider taxes, property maintenance, and home repairs.

Value - Maintenance is no big deal for someone looking to have ample space and privacy. They find value in caring for their own yard and having control over the home’s aesthetic inside and out.

What About Privacy And Soundproofing?

Attached houses limit control and privacy compared to single family detached houses. You might be limited on aesthetic choices. This is because what you do to your home has an immediate impact on your neighbor. This can be both a gain and a drawback when dealing with many units. Attached houses tend to be more cohesive.

A detached house is best for those seeking privacy and avoiding noise concerns. But a standalone unit can feel isolating at times. If you're afraid of living alone, stick to an attached home.

Availability - Does It Matter That Much?

Availability will affect your decision, especially if you are not flexible with location. Some housing options will be more available than others depending on location.

In cities, the chances of finding detached houses are slim because there is less available space and buildings construct up rather than out.

High Or Low Maintenance

The amount of maintenance for an attached house versus a detached house varies.

For instance, condominium owners the maintenance is low as they are only responsible for maintaining the interior of their unit.

For detached homeowners, the maintenance cost is high because the exterior, interior, and landscaping of a semi-detached or detached home must be maintained regularly.

Beware Of Homeowners Associations (HOA) Costs and Bylaws

HOA costs cover the upkeep of the shared areas in your building and amenities. High HOA fees are often included in the purchase price of a detached house such as a condominium or townhouse.

HOA bylaws have a wide range of covenants, conditions, and limitations that must be adhered to. Exterior alterations, such as painting your property a certain color, are subject to these rules.

Homeowners Associations

Things To Know About Townhouses

Let’s define what a townhouse is first.

Townhouses are attached dwellings since they share walls. Sharing walls is a fundamental requirement to be considered an attached dwelling.

Why would anyone buy one if it’s attached?

Good question.

Buying a townhouse is often less expensive than purchasing a detached house, depending on location.

Another reason is larger families living in condominiums often need more space which a townhouse provides.

More importantly, as the townhouse owner, you are accountable for more than the unit. Townhouse HOA fees often include insurance, community amenities, and landscaping costs.

Is A Townhouse Considered Attached Or Detached?

Townhouses are often referred to as "attached houses," along with duplexes and condominiums. "Attached" is a phrase realtors use when they are unsure about the property's class.

To be a classified as a townhouse, it must be connected to other housing and is therefore not detached.

If a detached home listed as a townhouse, it is more for aesthetics than ownership stake. It might have the look and feel of a townhouse, but if it is detached, it is not a townhouse.

“Attached” House Vs. Townhouse - What Are the Differences?

Townhouses are attached houses since their outside walls come into direct contact with their neighbors. There are many types of attached houses aside from townhouses. For example, condominiums, apartments, and duplexes are also attached houses.

The difference is that townhouses typically provide more space than other attached house types. The roof and land beneath the house are usually included as well.

Townhouses have multiple levels, and often have an attached garage. They are much like a detached home in this way, except they share walls with neighbors.

What Is The Difference Between SingleFamily Attached And A Townhouse?

Although townhouses are single family attached houses, they are distinct from other attached house types such as condominiums and duplexes.

For example, older townhouses have a small footprint in a city, with many levels (often six or more). City townhouses are within walking distance of business and industrial sectors. If you like the hustle and bustle of a major city, a city townhouse could be perfect for you.

Newer townhouses are often equipped with modern and energy-efficient features. They are built with luxury and convenience in mind. This is perfect for those who want less maintenance.

Thinking Of Condominiums?

When purchasing a condominium, there are some things to keep in mind.

Firstly, condominiums are distinct from detached houses. Neighbors are likely to share walls and other physical elements such as your roof and yard.

Secondly, for first-time buyers or for those wishing to downsize, condominiums offer many advantages over detached houses including reduced costs on maintenance. Most of the time your HOA handles yard work and overall exterior care of the home.

Condominiums

Single Family Attached Vs Condominium

In short, condominiums are under the single family attached classification.

Single family attached is a broad term that classifies a property as being connected by one or many walls of another property.

On the other hand, condominiums have specific features that typically make up the classification. These features include pools, parking, a clubhouse, and an administration facility.

Condominiums are usually one level, although larger than your standard apartment. An apartment is often smaller in size than a condominium, and does not offer as many, if any, amenities.

What Is A Detached Condominium?

Condominiums can be detached. Detached condominiums are sometimes known as "ground condos" and "free-standing condos."

Detached condominiums have no common walls and are frequently found in densely populated areas of cities.

Detached Condominium vs Attached Condominium

Similarities

  • Like regular condominiums, detached condominiums have homeowner associations. They also offer buyers the benefits of single family houses without maintenance.
  • They provide easy access to neighboring cities and a code of behavior for residents to follow.

Differences

  • They are more expensive than an attached condominium, as they offer more outside space and independence.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

If you still have lingering questions, keep reading. Here’s some frequently asked questions about attached and detached housing.

What Is A Detached Garage?

A detached garage is one that stands on its own, whether it is a few feet or a few yards away from your home. Because it is not tied to your home, a detached garage can be larger than an attached garage. People who own a large piece of land and have a detached house can take advantage of this.

When living in an attached house, the garage is usually attached. This applies to those who live in townhouses. Some condominiums and apartments offer garages for residents. Some offer separate, unattached parking or storage units.

There are several advantages to owning a detached garage.

For example, detached garages are great for storage. You can also keep the house warmer without heat loss or be subject to fumes from a parked car.

How To Attach A Detached Garage To A House?

To connect a detached garage to a house, you will need to do two things. Firstly, you’ll need to construct walls or a framework to link the new sidewalls. Walls can be placed according to your personal preferences, budget, and design.

Secondly, you need to add a roof structure.

If you already have a detached garage near your home, you can always connect them. For example, create a breezeway or roof the gap between the home and the garage. Make sure the driveway and access to the house is clear before choosing the connection.

It may get complicated.

If you aren’t sure where to begin, hiring a local contractor could help. Find those who offer a free assessment, so you can compare options and pricing.

How Long Should An Attached House Last?

If you build an attached house with standard materials, you may expect it to survive between 100 -120 years on average. There are many houses that can endure much longer than others. Brick apartment buildings, for example, have been known to last over two centuries.

While it's impossible to forecast how long a house will last, the Census estimates that over one-third of the almost 140 million residences in the US were built before 1970. So, if you aren't buying new, consider age: An older home often requires more care and may require more frequent repairs.

What Is The Difference Between A Single Family Attached vs A Duplex?

Duplexes are attached houses on only one side, technically making them a “semi attached house.” They share a wall with only one other neighbor.

A single family attached house is attached on both sides and is a part of many homes that are in a row or stacked. 

The Verdict On Single Family Attached Vs Detached

Searching for your new house doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, with the right knowledge on what you are looking for and where to look, it can be an enjoyable process!

If you value saving, semi-detached or attached houses can be a great option. They provide many of the benefits of detached houses at a lesser cost. Yet, you may make some tradeoffs for a reduced price, such as less space and shared walls.

For example, if you aren’t much of a socializer, or you prefer seclusion, an attached house might suffocate you. A semi-detached house such as a duplex might be less constricting. But you are still connected to a neighbor.

A detached house is often the most expensive type of house. But with a higher price often comes more luxuries and space. A detached house can also give the privacy needed for someone who isn’t much for socializing or answering to neighbors for their lifestyle habits.

Overall, both attached and detached houses offer similar quality of life and economic possibilities. Weighing all the positives and negatives can help you determine the best style for your needs, desires, and budget.

If you feel unsure, always ask a real estate agent for advice!

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