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Type of House

When buying a house, you have choices. How much maintenance do you want to be responsible for? What is your budget? How much flexibility do you want to have about the look of your home?

This section focuses on four types of property, widely available in the Cincinnati market: single-family homes, condominiums, townhomes and new construction.

Single Family Homes Single-family homes are the most common type of housing in the United States. They sit on their own land - this means that you will be responsible for maintaining your lawn and garden. For many, this is a plus - a green thumb will probably feel stifled in a condominium or townhome. Single family homes are separate entities, meaning that you have more privacy than in a townhome or a condominium.

Condominiums Condominiums often look a lot like apartments, except you own them rather than rent them. However, you only own the inside of the unit - you have shared ownership of the exterior, common areas, the land, hallways, roofs and any amenities offered by the complex.

You will be required to pay a monthly maintenance fee to the Condo Association, in addition to your mortgage payment and property taxes. The maintenance fee pays for upkeep and maintenance of the shared areas of the property.

Condos are great buys for those uninterested in maintenance and lawncare, and those who want amenities like pools, tennis courts and fitness centers. You will have to give up some privacy; however, you will probably be located close to major employment centers, you will spend less than on a home or townhouse, and you will enjoy the amenities of a large apartment complex.

Townhomes Townhomes are often attached in a side-by-side fashion. You will own your unit, and the land it sits on. Your ownership of the common areas of the community will vary - you may just own your unit and the land it sits on, or you may enjoy shared ownership of ponds, swimming pools and grounds.

As with a condominium, a townhome owner is responsible for paying association fees to whatever organization manages the community.

Townhomes do give you more ownership and more privacy. Maintenance and repairs are mostly handled by the association, and you have the advantage of amenities like swimming pools and tennis courts.

New Construction There are important differences in new construction - you can buy a new home that is already built, or start from tabula rasa with a custom design on a hand-picked piece of land. It's really up to you - and that's part of the reason that new construction is so attractive to buyers.

The crucial elements of new home construction are: resale-ability; builder selection; construction management; and financing.

It's tempting to build a home that speaks to you and your family. However, the more specific your design, the harder it will be to sell. If you refer to our advice on selling homes, staging homes is all about convincing a buyer that their life will mesh with your house.

Choose a builder with a good reputation both for quality and timeliness. If work is being sub-contracted, be sure that the general contractor is held responsible for its budget, timeliness and quality.

Set milestones for the construction of your home. These markers should be identifiable to both you and your builder. At every point, the work should be reviewed before payment is delivered.

Construction loans will require that draws are established - these should coincide with the milestones you've established above.