What is a Patio Home?
There are so many different types of homes out there. There are condos, townhouses, cottage style houses, row houses, and the list goes on and on. When you hear the term “patio home”, it's easy to think about a normal standalone house that comes equipped with a large patio. Although it’s a good assumption, patio homes are in a class of their own and make great buys due to their versatility. Come with us as we explore patio homes and the gems that they have to offer to their owners.
What is a Patio Home? Defining Features
A patio home is a dwelling that shares at least one wall with another home, and usually doesn't rise higher than one and-a-half stories tall.
This fact makes a patio home architecturally similar to a townhouse, but patio homes have their own characteristics that make them unique. While townhouses usually have at least two floors, patio homes usually only have one floor or one and a half stories. The half story usually consists of a loft or a bedroom, but generally does not feature a full second floor of living space, complete with bedrooms and bathrooms like townhomes. However, patio homes don’t necessarily have to have a patio to be called a patio home.
Patio homes for sale can be found from coast to coast, but patio home builders have recently concentrated building these types of homes in the Northeastern region of the United States. Oftentimes, these homes are built near golf courses or wholesome neighborhoods and communities, but are often sold at more affordable price points than traditional standalone, single family homes.
What is the Difference Between a Condo and a Patio Home?
While both condos and patio homes involve sharing a wall with a neighbor, that is pretty much all they have in common. A condo owner owns the inside living space, but he or she does not own any of the unit’s exterior, such as any community areas, outside lawns, flowers or sidewalks. Patio homeowners usually own the lot that the house sits on, even though the home is connected to someone else’s property. This means that the homeowner owns their property’s exterior and its nearby structures like fencing, grass, driveways, porches, and yes….patios.
Who are Patio Homes Suitable For?
Due to their often compact size, patio homes are usually suitable for smaller families, such as empty nesters, retirees, and couples who don’t need much space. These homes give their owners the independence of owning a home without the high cost. Patio homes are also great for first-time homeowners who want to enter the real estate market but do not wish to pay the higher cost of stand-alone homes in the area.
Patio Home Buying Tips
Buying a patio home is similar to purchasing a condo or townhouse, but there are specific questions that every buyer should ask before they sign on the dotted line. Here are a few questions to ask your realtor before purchasing a patio home:
What is the HOA Fee?
If there any community amenities such as a pool, recreation areas, common areas, or community maintenance, chances are that some sort of Homeowners Association fee (HOA). These fees will vary depending on the community and its amenities. It's important to know how much a property’s HOA fee is before moving forward with a purchase, since these fees are separate from a mortgage payment. And while most HOA fees are modest, some communities have HOA fees so high that it can be a detracting factor for some buyers.
How Private is the Property?
As mentioned earlier, patio homes share walls and driveways. This can mean that your residence in the home can be perfectly peaceful or absolutely unbearable, and that all depends on the neighbors. Do some investigative work by asking other neighbors what noise levels are like. This will give you an idea as to what you should expect.
What is Insurance Like?
Some communities include some sort of home insurance in their HOA fee, while others do not. Since patio homes share walls, it is important to ensure that you are covered in disastrous situations, as a fire in your neighbor’s home can easily become a fire in your home. It's important to not only know the community’s insurance requirements, but what insurance would be required to sufficiently cover your property.
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