While home prices in some parts of the country are starting to plateau, they continue to increase in the Sunshine State. In fact, according to Florida Atlantic University, houses in the state sell for as much as 40.8% more than their actual value. This puts single-family homes out of reach for many first-time buyers.
If you do not have the financial resources to purchase a standalone home, you may find a relative bargain in a multi-unit building. Condos and rowhomes also make excellent starter homes, as they often require less upkeep. Still, if you buy one, you are probably going to have to learn about party walls
More than a barrier
By definition, party walls are simply barriers that straddle property lines. This fact gives any party wall at least two owners. While some party walls are merely dividers, others serve important functions. For example, your party wall may hold up the roof, prevent flames from spreading or even muffle noise.
Your rights and responsibilities
Because you both own part of the party wall, you and your neighbor have an interest in maintaining it. You also may have a duty to repair any damage. Fortunately, there is probably a party wall agreement that outlines your rights and responsibilities. If so, you should review this agreement before closing.
If there is no existing party wall agreement, you may have the opportunity to draft one. You also may be able to negotiate changes. Ultimately, though, if the party wall or its agreement place too many restrictions on your rights as a property owner, it may be advisable to keep looking for your first home.