Do You Need to Live in a Detached Home?


Do you need to live in a detached home or in an attached rowhome? There are some cases when living in a house that doesn’t share walls with any other homes makes the most sense and is the right call for you.


If you wander down the streets of downtown Philadelphia, you’re likely to see row after row of townhouses. Detached homes are few and far between, at least in some neighborhoods. You’re more likely to find a detached home up in the Northeast, in some areas of South Philadelphia, or over in West Philly. Single family detached homes are also more common in the suburbs of Philadelphia than they are in the city.

It seems that Philly isn’t the norm. According to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, the majority of homes in the U.S. are detached homes and have been since the 1940s. Less than 10 percent of homes are attached homes or townhouses. If you’re considering moving to a detached home, either in the city or the suburbs, here are a few questions to ask yourself first.

Do You Need a Lot of Privacy?

When you live in a Philadelphia rowhouse or apartment building, you share at least one wall with your neighbors. Depending on how thick and insulated that wall is, and how loud your neighbors are, you might be privy to all the details of their lives. The same is true for them of you.

Shared walls can become a problem if one neighbor is loud. While having the rare loud party isn’t much of a problem, if you have a barking dog, are taking piano lessons, or have a lot of loud talkers in your home, the commotion and activity coming from your house might start to wear on your neighbor’s nerves.

In a detached home, you don’t have to worry about that at all. There’s plenty of space between you and your neighbors, so you can practice your scales, chat loudly with your friends and family, or let your dog bark the night away.

Do You Need a Lot of Space?

Generally speaking, detached homes are bigger than your typical rowhouse or condo. According to the Census Bureau, in 2015, the median size of a new single family house was 2,467 square feet. While you can find attached townhomes in Philadelphia that are bigger than 2,500 square feet, most of them are in the 1,000 to 2,000-square-feet range. Some, such as trinities, are considerably smaller — around 500 square feet.

If a lot of people live with you, you have a number of pets, or you own a lot of stuff, a detached home might be the best option if you want to fit everything into the property and still have space to spare.

Do You Want to Own Land?

For some people, owning a bit of land is as important as owning a house. While you do get a bit of land when you purchase a rowhouse, detached homes usually come with more land. Owning land gives you the space to create a large garden, the space for you, your dog, and others in your household to run around and play outside, and the freedom to add on to your property if you want.

Do You Have the Budget for It?

Although it’s not always the case, detached homes usually have a higher price tag than rowhouses or condos. For example, in November of 2016, the average listing price for a single family, detached home in West Mount Airy was $732,664. The average listing price for a townhouse in the same neighborhood was less than half that at $339,647.

You get a lot when it comes to living in a detached property — more quiet, more space, and more land. But it comes at a price. It’s up to you to decide if the benefits are worth the higher price tag.


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