Unlike families with kids, DINKS have many different options when it comes to housing choices. While a single-family home is likely to continue to appreciate, though, of course, that’s not guaranteed, you don’t have to go the traditional route. DINKS have many housing options available depending on lifestyle and personal choice.
Single Family Home
When we moved to an area with a lower cost of living, my husband wanted a single-family home. While he may be a die-hard single-family home owner, I am more open to other choices as we age.
There are several benefits to owning your own home, which my husband always rattles off:
Likely to Appreciate
Single-family homes most often appreciate over the years that people own them. We bought our home in 2014, and in that time, it has increased 63% in value. That’s a nice return on investment.
Can Add Your Personal Touches
When you own a home, you can paint the exterior any color you like. You can do anything you’d like to the front and backyard.
My husband enjoys gardening, so he has several gardening beds. That benefit is enough for him to want to continue owning a home.
Despite the benefits, owning your own home does have drawbacks.
Can Be Expensive to Maintain
Ah, the expense of maintenance. In our seven years of owning a home, we’ve had to replace the water heater and the HVAC system. We’ve had to install an expensive water filtration system. We’ve also had to have mold removed from the kids’ bathroom walls. We’ve had to replace two floors thanks to the mold. Owning this home hasn’t been cheap.
Can Be Time Consuming
Owning a home can also be time consuming. There is the lawn to be mowed, leaves to rake, gutters to clean, snow to shovel. The tasks are many, and they are time consuming.
If you’re a busy couple and not handy, you may want to choose to live in a condo instead of a single-family home. (This is the route I would prefer to go.)
If you don’t like the hassle of maintaining your home, you’ll find several benefits to owning a condo.
The HOA Maintains the Outside
The HOA maintains the outside of the property. Therefore, you don’t need to pay for external repairs or replacements like the roof or the siding. The HOA also covers all of the yard maintenance, snow removal, mowing, etc.
Has Nice Amenities
Many condos have nice amenities such as a gym, a pool, etc. that would be expensive to purchase and maintain on your own.
Still Likely to Appreciate
Condos are likely to appreciate, so you get that benefit of a single-family home without all the drawbacks.
Of course, owning a condo has one significant drawback.
Since the HOA maintains all common shared areas and the complete exterior of your condo, you can expect to pay a hefty fee for that convenience. Many condos have HOA fees upwards of $300 or more. In addition, the HOA fees often jump substantially year to year, and you have no choice but to pay them unless you want to move.
Townhomes offer many of the same benefits of a condo with two distinct differences.
First, you are responsible for the upkeep of the exterior of your property including maintaining the lawn and the structure itself.
Second, you will still pay HOA fees for things like trash and snow removal, but the fees will likely be much less than you would pay if you owned a condo.
Another option, if you don’t want to shoulder the full burden of owning a single-family home is to own a duplex or a triplex. This can be a great option from a financial stand point.
Benefits to Owning a Duplex
Rent Covers Your Mortgage
The most significant advantage to owning a duplex is that the rent you get from one half of the property should be enough to cover your mortgage or a significant portion of it. This is a great choice if you’re interested in growing your wealth or continuing to invest in other rental properties.
If you live near a large city, you could decide to market one side of your duplex as a vacation rental. This can be much more profitable month to month than a traditional rental property.
Drawbacks to Owning a Duplex
Owning a duplex has many of the same disadvantages of owning a single-family home, with a few more thrown in.
You’ll Be a Landlord
For some people, being a landlord is not a big deal. However, for others, the situation is fraught with problems. You need to screen potential renters carefully. You could end up with someone who doesn’t pay the rent. You could also have a person who is noisy and disturbs your sleep. Finally, you could have a renter who doesn’t care for the property.
Any of these situations could end up costing you money—potentially a lot of money.
Your last choice as a DINK couple is to rent an apartment. This is probably the easiest option for a busy couple.
While most people start in apartments and are eager to move out, some people enjoy the simplicity of living in an apartment.
No Upkeep Responsibility
If you rent an apartment, you have no upkeep responsibility. If your refrigerator dies, call the landlord, and he’ll fix it or replace it. If a blizzard comes, cleaning the sidewalks and driveway is not your responsibility.
With the hands off option of owning an apartment comes several drawbacks.
Does Not Appreciate
Since you don’t own the apartment, you don’t have to pay for upkeep, but you also lose the opportunity to own a property that appreciates.
Can Be Noisy
Because you are living in close quarters with many others, you may have to tolerate noisy neighbors above, below and beside you. Day after day, that can be annoying, especially if your sleep is regularly disrupted. Noisy neighbors, including one who listened to heavy metal music loudly at 3 a.m., were why I was eager to leave our apartment.
DINKS have many options for where they choose to live. Before choosing one housing option, think carefully about how much money you want to invest in your property and what situations you enjoy living in. If you’re new to home ownership, you may want to start with a condo or townhome before deciding whether or not to buy a single-family home.