What Is a Single-Family House?

Father and sons bicycle past a single-family house.

Many people aspiring to homeownership envision themselves living at some point in a classic single-family house.

A single-family home stands apart from any other structure, usually comes with at least some yard space, and is typically more expensive than a condo or a townhouse. The single-family house gives homebuyers privacy, space, and the opportunity to build equity.

The owner owns both the building as well as the property it sits on, which gives you greater autonomy over the changes that can be made to the property. That also means the owner of a single-family house is responsible for all maintenance and repairs.

Some houses belong to a homeowners association, in which case you’ll need to pay dues and adhere to its rules on remodeling and land use.

How Much Does a Single-Family Home Cost?

The cost of a single-family varies greatly by size, location, and property type. That said, single-family homes usually are more expensive than townhouses and condos. You also usually need a higher down payment and pay more in closing costs.

Costs of Buying a Single-Family Home

Upfront costsRecurring costs
Down payment.
Closing costs.
– Monthly mortgage payment.
– Homeowners insurance.
– Property taxes.
– Possible HOA fees.
– Interior and exterior maintenance.
– Utilities.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Single-Family Home

Buying a single-family home comes with certain advantages and disadvantages, so be sure to consider the trade-offs.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Single-Family Home

ProsCons
– More space and privacy.
– Freedom to do what you want with the property.
– Outdoor space.
– Better resale value than condos and townhouses.
– More expensive than condos and townhouses.
– Higher down payment and closing costs. 
– Maintenance and repairs are your responsibility.
– You may have HOA fees and rules.

Is a Single-Family Home Right for You?

If you can afford to make a down payment and keep up with your monthly mortgage payments, then a single-family home may be within reach. Just remember that you also are responsible for all repairs and maintenance. It’s recommended that you set aside 1% to 4% of the purchase price each year to cover home maintenance and repairs.

Single-family homes are great for homebuyers who want autonomy to use and change their property as they see fit. Just remember, if your single-family home belongs to an HOA, then you’ll need to follow its regulations and pay dues.

Single-Family Home FAQ

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about single-family homes.

Are single-family homes a good investment?

In addition to offering a place to build a life, single-family homes can be a great investment opportunity. Unlike with renting, single-family homeowners build equity with every mortgage payment. In general, home values tend to rise over the long term, so you can reasonably expect the value of your investment to grow over time.

What is difference between a single-family home and a multifamily home?

Single-family homes stand alone and share no walls with other structures or residences. Multifamily homes are separate residential units that share common walls within a larger structure. Multifamily homes also are known as duplexes or triplexes, depending on how many residences they contain.

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