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Aug 8, 2022reading time icon6 min

Semi-detached houses: 7 things to know before you buy

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Semi-detached houses: 7 things to know before you buy
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Sometimes overlooked in favour of regular detached houses, semi-detached houses ought to be more widely considered. This type of building offers many advantages and has a number of attractive qualities for buyers.

First of all, you have to know that a semi-detached is not the same as a duplex. While the latter is an income-producing property, the semi-detached can be described as two separate houses attached as if glued together. These two dwellings, often of the same style and size, are connected by an adjoining wall.

Unlike with a condo, they have no (or few) common areas, giving their owners greater independence.

A semi-detached house can be a very worthwhile choice for families in both urban areas and in the suburbs. Moreover, property developers are actively encouraging home seekers to opt for this type of property, with very attractive offers for potential buyers.

Does this type of home appeal to you? Here are 7 things to consider before purchasing a semi-detached house.

Living in a semi-detached house: what does it imply?

1. Managing the house

Although located within the same plot of land and connected through the adjoining wall, semi-detached houses are, in fact, composed of two completely separate dwellings. Each part is individually and independently managed by its respective owner.

As an owner, you have almost complete freedom when it comes to making decisions. There’s no need to regularly inform your neighbours about how you plan to manage your side of the building. You will be able to sell, lease, renovate and furnish your home according to your tastes and needs. The only exceptions to this independence are project work on the adjoining wall and on the land, since they can affect both parts of the building.

2. Intimacy and noise in this type of dwelling

The main concern buyers have when turning to semi-detached houses rather than a single-family home is the potential noise that comes with having neighbours so close. Many fear losing some of their privacy, while at the same time, having to endure the unwanted noises of neighbours on the other side of the adjoining wall.

It should be noted, however, that, although this was indeed a major problem several years ago, recent construction methods by quality contractors have got around this problem. The adjoining walls are now much thicker and much more soundproof.

In fact, new methods used in the construction of such dwellings have improved sound insulation, providing a better quality of life for owners. In most cases, they are also designed in such a way that the bedrooms and living rooms are on opposite sides of the building so as to limit potential noise. The level of privacy of semi-detached houses is, therefore, almost the same as that of detached houses.

Semi-detached house: how much does it cost?

3. The semi-detached house: an economical home

Compared to the price of a single-family house, semi-detached housing is quite a cost-effective option. It is cheaper to buy, which makes it particularly attractive when looking for a first property, and it allows homeowners to reduce certain recurring expenses. For example, having a semi-detached house can reduce energy costs by 15% compared to a detached building.

Buying a semi-detached house therefore makes it possible to become a homeowner while enjoying the freedom that this brings for a lower price. In addition, when buying this type of home, you may be eligible for one or more financial assistance programs offered by government bodies (federal or provincial) to make it even easier for you to get a property.

4. The available space in this type of dwelling

In terms of space, for a semi-detached home, the area is generally smaller than that of a detached house. While the interior space is easily comparable to that of a conventional house, the land around a semi-detached house is more limited.

The outdoor area at the front of the house usually serves as a parking spot, while the backyard must generally be shared between the two parts of the building. However, this is not necessarily a disadvantage! Many will see this reduced outdoor space as an advantage since it requires much less maintenance.

5. Renovating a semi-detached house

As mentioned in the first section of this article, each part of a semi-detached house is managed independently. If one of the owners wishes to change their kitchen cupboards or put in new windows, they can go ahead and do this at any time.

However, if the renovations concern or affect any common areas, for example, the adjoining wall or the boundary of the plot, the neighbours of the building will need to consult and agree before carrying out the work.

Semi-detached home: a good choice for young families

6. Semi-detached houses: what type of buyer are they suited to?

More and more potential buyers are turning to semi-detached housing, as this type of housing has a lot of advantages. But while they may be a wise choice for many types of households, they are particularly appealing for young couples or families looking for a first home.

Because of the lower costs involved compared with other types of housing, semi-detached houses are an ideal choice for a first residence. As well as being easier to purchase, occupants can benefit from the high level of comfort and independence that they provide.

7. The real estate market of semi-detached houses

Are you hesitant to opt for a semi-detached house because you’re worried that the property will lose value as the years go by? Rest assured, although they are less visible on the market than single-family homes, the demand for this type of housing remains stable, and in some regions, it’s even increasing.

Semi-detached houses are therefore a good investment in the long- or medium-term. It’s not without reason that many builders are offering their clients the opportunity to build brand new semi-detached homes.

The decision to purchase a semi-detached house depends primarily on your needs, your preferences, and your budget. But whatever type of property you're looking for, don't be afraid to ask a qualified real estate broker for advice. With their expertise, they will be able to help you to find the home that best suits you.

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