For many prospective home buyers in Chicagoland, the question arises of the pros and cons of an attached vs detached home. To get you the most important points of comparison, we interviewed realtor Jena Mancione and dove deep into some price point research on Trulia.
What is an attached family home?
An attached family home is typically defined as a family residence that shares an element, such as a wall or ceiling/floor, with another property. Contrast this with a detached home, where the residence is in a building that stands alone.
An attached single family home only shares one element, whereas the condominium structure most common in Illinois is multi-family, i.e., multiple residences that are within a single building. Condominiums, however, are not legally defined by their physical characteristics, but by the financial agreement that owners enter into.
Attached vs detached home price points
One of the biggest differences in attached vs detached homes is the price point. Price is particularly important when considering townhouse pros and cons. As of the publishing of this article in May 2019, using , we’ve summarized price points for a circumference of Chicago suburbs. In general, we found the below most common sizes, and used a few exceptions depending on what each city had available.
- 2 bedroom/2 bath for condominiums
- 3 bedroom/2-3 bath for townhouses
- 4 bedrooms/3 bath from single-family homes
Orland Park is a Chicago suburb for all spending levels. At time of publishing, it had 125 2bd+ options, ranging from an un-priced two-bedroom townhome for auction on up to a $1,799,999 6bd, 9ba home on 2.2 acres.
Most of the Orland Park condominiums available were priced in the $200,000s. All had two or three bedrooms. 39 of the 125 available homes were townhomes. Whether two- three-, or four-bedroom, they were geographically dispersed throughout the town.
In total, Orland Park had 42 homes with four bedrooms or more. 39 of those were detached and ranging from as low as $280,000 up to the 7,361 sqft home with six bedrooms mentioned above.
As of January 2023, you can generally expect to pay around $165,000 for a 1,000 square-foot condo in Downers Grove. However, condominiums make up the minority of available homes in Downers Grove. Neighboring Woodridge, IL had more available condo options. Downers Grove had just a few more townhomes available, compared to other attached options. These ranged widely from 1,800 sqft on up to 3,000 sqft for those looking for a single-family feel with townhome amenities.
When it comes to single-family detached homes, there is a robust mix of older homes and new construction in Downers Grove. Of 17 new construction homes, prices ranged from $719,990 to $2,150,000. Most of these are in the center of Downers Grove city limits.
All available four-bedroom+ homes in Downers Grove were detached.
In contrast, the new construction in Des Plaines, IL is almost all townhomes. In fact, there were only two detached new construction homes on the market as of January 28, 2023, both 3,800 sqft+ and in the mid- to upper-$900,000s. None of the new construction Des Plaines homes were condominiums.
In total, Des Plaines had 52 attached homes for sale, ranging from $149,000 for a 2bd/1ba condo to $468,810 for a 3bd/3ba townhome. There were multiple 1 bd/1 ba attached homes available, all in the low $100,000s. The average for two bedroom condos was in the upper $100,000s until you go over the 1,000 sqft mark.
Des Plaines three+ bedroom homes for sale were over half single-family. Among them were all different shapes and sizes, including 24 with four bedrooms or more. These larger homes were pretty well spread throughout town and the surrounding northwest, north, and east edges into Mt. Prospect and Park Ridge.
Glenview had 72 two-bedroom+ homes available, nine of which are condominiums. The condos had a wide range of list prices, from $180,000 to $494,000.
The townhomes in Glenview are unique in that there are quite sizeable options. The most spacious was a 3,840 sqft attached home listed at $875,000. the least expensive among the other five townhome options was listed at $239,000 and 1,320 sqft. 57 homes were detached, of which 28 were listed over $1MM. On the low end were two houses listed in the $300,000s.
41 of the 72 listings were four-bedroom+ detached homes in Glenview. Only one with two+ bedrooms had a recent price reduction. That home was attached.
In comparison to Glenview, Lombard is on the other end of the price spectrum among the Chicago suburbs we looked at. With 68 two-bedroom+ homes available, the average listing price in Lombard was many times less than a single Glenview listing. Most listings in this more modest suburb averaged in the $200,000s.
Eight of the homes had a price reduction in the past week. Among those were the higher-priced previously-occupied homes for the area, in the upper $300,000s and low $400,000s. The few homes in the $600,000 to $1MM range were all detached and mostly new construction.
There were only two available condos in Lombard with three+ bedrooms, and only one townhome. The townhome was a very attractive new construction. Expanding the search to two+ bedroom attached homes, we got 21 options as of January 28, 2023. Three were newly listed.
What kind of homeowner lifestyle are you looking for? Owning a home is a lot of responsibility, and with maintenance comes expense. But, in an attached home, you are only responsible for the maintenance of structures that belong to your space alone. Maintenance of shared walls, plumbing, and roofs are the responsibility of your condo or townhome association. That is a major part of what your association fee goes towards. So while the fee may seem hefty, it creates predictability in your budget. A house owner, on the other hand, often has surprise expenses, and many of them are significant.
Further, in Illinois, snow removal is an inevitable inconvenience. But in an attached home with an association, this task is typically taken care of for you. The downside is that you don’t have control over when the snow is plowed if you aren’t doing it yourself. You’ll have to wait for your plow company to get through the queue of customers before you. Lawn care is another responsibility you won’t need to worry about in most attached home associations.
Community and amenities
Another common difference in attached vs detached homes is amenities. Many condo communities have a space you can rent for parties, walking paths or ponds, a fitness room, and often a pool and tennis courts. Less often do townhome communities have such amenities, but they are even more rare in single-family home neighborhoods. These features can foster social experiences, and can be fun for young or single homeowners.
Yards and freedom
Attached homes have more rules and regulations than detached homes. When you are living in close proximity with other homeowners or renters, rules and regulations go a long way to keep the peace. But those rules will also limit or prohibit things you may want to do. For certain renovations in an attached-home community, for example, you’ll likely need to get the approval of your association. Consider this among townhouse pros and cons, as you might find this type of home is the perfect balance between regulations and freedom.
Yard space is also quite limited with attached homes. You may not be on the ground floor, and even if you are, you may only have a small outdoor space to call your own. In the heart of Chicago, this may be a worthwhile trade-off, but some homeowners in the suburbs really want/expect a yard. Not all detached homes have a great yard either, but almost always it will be larger than with a townhouse or condo. The only restrictions in single-family communities, typically, are that you’ll need a permit for large in-yard structures, and possibly fence rules to ensure consistency with neighbors.
Whether you choose attached or detached, be sure to read in detail the bylaws, rules, and regulations of any home with an association that you are seriously considering buying. You don’t want any surprises once you’ve purchased. Good luck!