How to Decide Between a House and an Apartment

When you need to find a new place to live you will be faced with deciding to either rent an apartment or purchase your own house. Both homeownership and apartment rental have upfront and ongoing costs associated with them. You must also consider the fact that the responsibilities associated with renting versus buying vary a great deal, such as the level of property maintenance for which you will be responsible. Your lifestyle, the size of your family and your short and long-term needs will also play a role in whether you should rent an apartment or purchase a home. Prior to either buying a house or renting an apartment you need to think about your budget, your family’s needs and how much time and effort you have available to invest in your new home. Below you will find information which will help you to decide if you should rent an apartment or purchase your own home.

The Immediate Costs of Home Ownership Versus Apartment Rental

If you have a limited budget then you will find the immediate costs of apartment rental to be much more affordable than the immediate costs of buying a home. Renting an apartment will typically require you to pay for your first and last month of rent upfront. You may also be required to pay a security deposit. You must inquire about whether a security deposit is required prior to signing an apartment rental agreement because security deposit rules vary from one property owner to another.

Purchasing your own home will require you to pay for a home appraisal, inspection, down payment, insurance and other closing costs. As a new home owner, it will also be your responsibility to make any repairs or additions to your home that are required. You will also be responsible for furnishing your home, which may include purchasing new furniture, paying to have your existing belongings moved or a combination of both.

The Long-Term Costs of Home Ownership Versus Apartment Rental

You must pay rent each month when you rent an apartment. The amount of rent you are charged will depend on the location and size of the apartment. Apartments rental rates vary greatly, but are often highest in large cities. You may also have the ongoing expense of paying to do your laundry, unless you happen to rent an apartment with its own washer and dryer area. In addition, you may be required to pay additional monthly fees for pets and public transportation, if there is nowhere to park a vehicle at your apartment.

If you choose to purchase a home instead of renting an apartment then you will not have to pay monthly rent, but you will have to make monthly home loan payments. You must also pay for your own utilities, property maintenance and repairs. Your other long-term expenses will include property taxes and home insurance payments.

The Flexibility of Apartment Rental Versus the Long-Term Stability of Purchasing a Home

When deciding whether to buy your own home or rent an apartment you must also decide if you value long-term stability or total flexibility more. Apartment rental can often be done from one month to the next, which would allow you to move out on short notice. If you or someone in your family may be transferred for work on short notice or should move quickly for some other reason than the apartment lifestyle might be best for you.

Home ownership provides long-term stability, which is something you will want if you are trying to raise a family. That way your children can attend the same school system for many years and you can form close bonds with your community. You will also have the option of passing your home down to your children when you get older.

How to Choose a House or an Apartment Based on Your Lifestyle

When choosing an apartment or a house based on your lifestyle, your first consideration should be your family. If you have several children or pets then living in a small apartment is likely to be a poor choice. Purchasing a home will give your children and pets plenty of space and freedom to move about without disturbing neighbors.

If you live alone or live only with a spouse and do not have immediate plans for a family then living in a small apartment may be your most convenient choice. Apartment living will prevent you from having to worry about property maintenance and reduce the amount of time you must spend cleaning your home each week. Therefore, your schedule will be freer to focus on work, continuing your education or enjoying your favorite hobbies.

Choosing a House or an Apartment Based on Neighborhood Considerations

The neighborhood in which you plan to live will also play a role in whether you choose a home or an apartment to live in. If you prefer to move to a large city then apartments will be more plentiful. If your preferences lean more toward small town living then a house may be your only option. Proximity to resources your family needs around the neighborhood must also be considered when you are making your final decision regarding choosing a new home. Some examples of such resources include schools, fire departments, police stations, hospitals and shopping centers.