Buying a Chicago Townhome
Chicago Townhomes for Sale
Townhomes in Chicago can have a variety of nuances about them, from the home and room sizes to the features and finishes.
There also may be a bit of research needed to understand the community a townhome is in and what assessments or fees might be required for residents
Here are 8 things to know before purchasing a Chicago townhouse:
Most buyers want a Chicago townhome that is as wide as possible to capitalize on the square footage inside. The greatest width for a typical Chicago home is 24 feet, and townhomes that span that horizontal space are typically in the $800,000 and above price range. There are also many townhomes that are more narrow: 16, 18 or 20 feet wide. Buyers should keep in mind that a wider townhome generally means better resale value down the line.
2. Ceiling Heights:
Typically older townhomes have 8-foot ceilings, while newer townhomes usually feature 9- or 10-feet heights. Luxury buyers general prefer at least 9 feet, which makes the home feel larger and provides additional value to a townhome.
3. Hardwood floors:
Most townhomes feature hardwood floors on the living and kitchen level, and those that include hardwood in the bedrooms as well are usually more expensive. It’s important to note that not all hardwood floors are created equal. Real hardwood is always preferred, such as maple, oak or walnut, as these floors can be re-sanded and re-finishes for maintenance or upgrades. The top-of-the-line flooring for a Chicago townhome tends to be Brazilian cherry hardwood.
The lower the assessments in a townhome community, generally the quicker the resale. Clients shopping for townhomes in Chicago are usually looking for assessments less than $500 per month.
5. Gated Townhome Communities:
Chicago is home to several gated townhome communities, in which you cannot enter without checking in with a guard. The association assessments for these types of homes are far greater than other developments.
6. Fee Simple Townhomes:
If you purchase a fee simple home, you own the property and land in its entirety. Which means, if something goes wrong with the unit, you are responsible. In a townhome, you own a share of the development. So if something goes wrong with the other units externally, all residents will share the expense of the repair. A fee simple home means you are only responsible for your individual townhouse, but some developments also have a reserve to maintain shared property such as the roof. Buyers should note whether a townhome association has a reserve such as this, as well as the amount required and what the funds go toward.
7. Square footage:
In Chicago, the square footage listed on a real estate listing sheet includes the garage space. So if a townhome has a one-car garage, the actual living space will be 200 square feet less than what is listed. For a two-car garage, it will be 400 square feet less.
8. New construction townhomes:
Buyers looking for a brand-new townhome should look at the cost per square foot when comparing against other properties. It’s also important to review a list of the appliances, finishes and upgrades that may be provided by the developer. Important details to look at include the baseboard configuration, what the standard cabinetry is and what appliances are included.
Popular Townhome Neighborhoods in Chicago
The most coveted neighborhoods in Chicago are great places to find townhomes:
Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Old Town, Streeterville, Wicker Park, Bucktown and the Gold Coast.
Prices generally start around $550,000 and can go upwards of even $5 million, depending on the property.