Whether you are moving towns, cohabiting with a significant other, or moving out of home, you will be in the market for housing options. For most people, this means choosing between a house and an apartment.
The option you choose will depend on the pros and cons of each alternative. At the end of the process, you might find yourself leaning towards living in an apartment, or not.
This article explores how living in an apartment might be beneficial to you compared to getting a house together with other things you need to consider as you make this choice. Happy reading!
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Factors to consider as you choose between an apartment and a house
Before you make a list of pros and cons, here are a couple of things you need to keep in mind that will influence your decision,
1. Space requirements
Consider how much stuff you have and whether or not you have a family. This will help you see how much space you need and whether an apartment will suffice.
2. Level of permanence
Ask yourself if you are planning on moving to other locations or looking to raise children. A house will offer a more permanent housing situation.
You will also need to think about whether you want to buy or rent the property. In most cases, people buy houses and rent apartments but you might come across apartments you can buy and houses you can rent.
Renting an apartment and getting a house both take a financial toll. For some people, getting an apartment will sound cheaper than renting or buying a house. This also depends on the location where you are looking for an apartment and the type of apartment you plan on getting.
Why are apartments better than houses?
Take a look at some of the reasons why moving into an apartment is in your better interests compared to a house.
1. Low maintenance
One of the biggest perks about renting an apartment is that the property does not belong to you, and ensuring it is in top shape is not your responsibility. Owning a house means that any damages are yours to fix and depending on how serious the problem is, it might cost a big buck whether you are doing the repairs yourself or hiring someone else to do them.
Living in an apartment means anytime your dishwasher is faulty, your roof is leaking, or you have any other maintenance problem, all you have to do is get in touch with your building manager, who will ensure the issue is resolved. You will only incur repair costs if the damage is a result of negligence on your end.
One other maintenance perk you will enjoy is that you won’t have to shovel snow from the driveway and sidewalk during winter.
2. Apartments are cheaper to rent than houses
The term expensive is relative from person to person so for better understanding, let us look at the costs associated with buying a house vis a vis the costs of renting an apartment.
A. Buying a house
Here are some of the things that you will need to pay for as you buy a house:
- Down payment. This is a portion of the total cost of the house that you pay upfront before the house is fully yours. There are a couple of factors that determine what percentage this will be, but it typically ranges between 3 to 20% of the house’s value.
- Earnest deposit. After giving your down payment, you have to make another deposit that shows you are serious about getting the house. This amount is usually up to 3% of the house’s value.
- Appraisal. If you intend to take a mortgage to help pay for the house, the lender will need to perform a home appraisal to ensure that the property’s value is in line with the amount of money you are asking for. Some of the things looked at are the house size, the interior and exterior, and any extra features. This will cost you anywhere between $300 and $400.
- Home inspection. Unlike an appraisal, the inspection is meant to help you spot any problems that the house might have or issues that may arise as you live in the house. Some of these problems might not catch your eye, considering you haven’t much experience in dealing with houses. An inspection costs roughly as much as an appraisal.
- Property tax. Owning property will require you to pay taxes per your state and county laws. This tax is paid when you buy the property and every year after that.
- Homeowner’s insurance. You need to insure your home to ensure you have a safety net in case of a fire, robbery, or other incidents. How much your insurance will cost depends on your location, your credit score, the house value, among other factors. Just like property tax, the first amount is paid on acquiring the house and annually after that.
- Some closing costs come with buying a house. These include a closing fee, loan origination costs, title insurance, and others. Normally this amount totals to 3% of the house value.
- Once you own the house, you need to make monthly mortgage payments until they are complete. Other payments you need to take care of are the utilities. These include cooking gas, electricity, water, internet, recycling, and garbage.
- Since you are the homeowner, you are now in charge of maintenance and repairs around the house. Proper maintenance ensures that the value of your house does not depreciate over time.
B. Renting an apartment
If you choose to rent an apartment, you will incur fewer initial payments compared to buying a house. However, most of your expenses will recur monthly. Here are some of the costs of renting an apartment.
- Security deposit. This is the amount of money paid to the building manager when you sign the lease. If you decide to move out, the security deposit will cover any damages you might have caused to the unit. Also, if you are behind on rent or you break the lease, your deposit goes towards that. For most apartments, this amount is usually 1.5 times the rent. Compared to all the initial payments you have to make before you own a house, this is an easier fix.
- Rent. The rent is the monthly amount you pay for living in the apartment. This amount depends on a couple of factors, such as the size of the apartment, its location, the age of the property, and the market rates of the area you plan on renting in. If you have pets, you might be required to pay pet rent or a deposit that protects the unit from pet damage.
- Renter’s insurance. This amount is not as expensive as the homeowner’s insurance, but it serves the same purpose-to protect your belongings from theft, fires, or other accidents. Monthly, you will have to part with as little as $15 for the insurance. Compared to the approximately $100 paid monthly in insurance by homeowners, this is a cheaper alternative.
- Utilities. Costs like gas, electricity, and water are usually included in the rent for most apartment buildings but some exceptions may require you to cover them separately. This will depend on your building. Apartments are usually smaller than average houses so the cost of utilities is lower than it is in houses.
- Laundry. In most apartment buildings, the unit does not have a washer and dryer. This will require you to use the machines in the building or find a laundromat. The costs will depend on how you plan to do your laundry and how much you can afford to use.
If your credit score is in the average numbers and you don’t want to deal with the hefty upfront charges that come with buying a house, then an apartment is in your best interests.
3. A flexible option
If you consider yourself a wandering nomad, then an apartment is the perfect housing option for you. Living in an apartment gives you the freedom to move from house to house whenever you see fit.
Moving into an apartment requires that you sign a lease and as you do this, you can choose whether you want to sign for 3 months, 6 months, a year, or more. Apartment units are also usually smaller than houses. Having less space helps you live more minimally so when it comes to moving time, the relocation is easier since you have less stuff to move around.
If you live in a house, when the time comes to move you will have to put your house on the market. Besides, you have to make sure that the selling price of the house is enough to cover the mortgage you took for it and any renovations you might have to do to the house with a little to spare. This is not always the case and sometimes it might leave the owner out of options.
4. Better locations
Houses are usually located in the quieter residential areas of a town, unlike apartment buildings which are usually situated downtown. This makes them conveniently placed near shopping malls, convenience stores, and entertainment scenes.
They are also built around the transport system of the town/city that you live in, so it is easier, faster, and more affordable to make your commute to work or to pick your children from school. You also have access to more transport options if you live inside the city.
Choosing to rent an apartment can also allow you to live in more expensive locations where you would not be able to buy a house.
5. More amenities
Living in an apartment building gives you access to some convenient features. Some properties have a pool, a game room, a gym, rooftop access, and laundry machines. These make your life in the apartment more comfortable.
Homeowners can also have these features in their homes but the costs of building and maintaining them might become another burden in terms of both efforts and finances.
6. It is easier to save
The costs that come with owning a house are significant. This might make it harder for you to set some of your money aside to improve your financial security.
Living in an apartment reduces the amount of money you spend on housing which helps you save more for that holiday, a college fund, or even buying a house altogether.
7. Apartments are more secure
Many apartment buildings have security cameras for surveillance and gated communities. In some properties, the gates have access codes that control who gets access to the building. Many apartments also ensure each unit has a fire escape, which ensures your safety in case of anything.
There is also the issue of safety in numbers. Living in a building with other people also gives you confidence in your safety. In case anything is out of the ordinary, one of your neighbors is bound to notice. Also, if anything happens, the chances of someone close hearing and alerting the authorities are higher.
This makes them a safe option for people living alone and the elderly.
8. Fewer property worries
Living in an apartment lets you have a roof over your head without thinking about all the factors that come with being a homeowner. One of such issues is the property market. As a renter, whether the value of the building is getting higher or lower will not affect how much you pay in rent, since you are bound by the lease.
9. Some apartments are already furnished
you can come across some apartments that are fully equipped with furniture and some electronics like a fridge and microwave. This will save you the cost of buying appliances and you might also save some coin since you won’t need to buy, move, and rearrange the furniture.
Living in an apartment has less initial costs and maintenance efforts. This combined with a lack of tax among other factors makes them sound more appealing to anyone looking to find a home. As you decide between buying a house and getting an apartment, I hope this article has provided you with all the information you need.