Should You Choose A House or A Flat?

Choose A House or A FlatAnyone moving out for the first time is faced with the age-old dilemma of whether to move into a house or a flat. Whether buying or renting, the choice is one that many people struggle to make. Sometimes the choice is made for you; living in a city centre will generally mean you’ll have to move into an apartment complex, whereas a home in the country will usually dictate you move into a house.

The chances are though that you will be thrown into a grey area and will have to make the unenviable decision of where to make your new home. This article compiles some of the pros and cons of living in a house and living in a flat, taking into consideration factors such as renting vs. buying, mortgages and various other factors such as community and maintenance.

A great deal of your decision will rest on whether you are looking to rent or buy. Most home hunters know which route they want to take already, so it comes down to a simple this-or-that decision. If you’re looking to buy, a house is undoubtedly the best choice due to its long-term value. With more renovation opportunities and the freedom to do as you will, a house represents a stronger investment opportunity than a more limited flat. You’ll generally find that houses can increase in value far more than an apartment.

For renting, however, a flat represents better value. For a start, renting a house means you lose all the long-term investment benefits which don’t effect a flat as much. Also, you can generally get a better quality flat for cheaper monthly rates than houses; it’s worth double-checking this though, as you may miss out on a bargain! As flats are easier to maintain, you should find that renting a flat means you’re calling your landlord a lot less to sort out maintenance issues and the flat you move into should be of a higher quality.

While people generally see flats as a cheaper alternative to a house, this often isn’t the case – in some cities, rates of rent actually outweigh the average mortgage repayment. If you find yourself in this scenario and can afford the initial deposit, the house option is highly recommended. On the flipside of this, don’t see renting as ‘throwing money down the drain’ when you could be paying off a mortgage – you won’t be liable for maintenance costs as your landlord will cover these as well as renovations meaning that you won’t be hit with any nasty charges.

There are a couple of other considerations to make as well. If you are looking to relocate in a couple of years time, then buying a house isn’t the sort of long-term commitment you want to make, especially in a depressed housing market where you may get less for your house than you paid. On the other hand, if you are looking to stay in an area, seriously consider investing.

On the whole, people find living in a house long-term provides a lot more community than living in sometimes-unfriendly apartment blocks. That’s not to say you won’t make friends in an apartment – just that you’re more likely to have the time to get to know your neighbours if you live in a neighbourhood for longer!

Deciding on whether to go for a house or a flat comes down to personal circumstance, and the choices will invariably be weighted differently on a case-to-case basis. Do keep in mind the considerations listed above though – you may find them useful when making the difficult decision.

Christopher Joseph Smith is writing on behalf of Shepherd Gilmour, Manchester City Centre estate agents

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