Should I buy a house or an apartment?


When buying a home, you may have an idea about the type of property you would like to buy. But finances may mean you can’t quite stretch to that country mansion with two acres just yet!

Within your budget, you may find an array of houses and flats. But which should you choose?

The reality is it is completely personal, but it’s worth knowing what the biggest differences are between living in an apartment or a house. Apart from the obvious, such as your own front door, when buying an apartment there are differences to choosing a house.

If you’re baffled by which to choose, our guide will help explain the main points to consider.


1. Property cost

There are always exceptions to the rules, but apartments are usually less expensive than houses of a similar size. Being more affordable, apartments can give first-time buyers their first step on the property ladder. Or, if you’re downsizing, buying an apartment could free up more equity for you to treat yourself.

But, as we said earlier, there are exceptions to the rules. Some penthouses or luxury apartments in former large mansions could be more expensive than a terraced house with the same number of bedrooms.

Don’t make a decision on price alone. As our other points show below, there’s more to choosing your next home than just how much you’ll need to spend.


2. Amenities and features

One of those points to consider is what will make your life happier or easier? Modern apartments are usually packed full of lifestyle features. If you’re a first-time buyer or want a more social lifestyle, an apartment could be the answer because of these amenities.

For example, many modern apartments include a gym or spa, plus there are shared garden spaces while others have communal areas to relax in. If you’re on your own and want to feel safe, many apartments have gated entrances, coded doorways and CCTV. Some even have their own concierge, so it’s like living in a hotel. Consider what you really need rather than just a roof over your head!


3. Maintenance and costs

Living in an apartment usually means many problems with amenities – such as electricity and water – will be taken care of by the building’s own maintenance team. If there is a communal garden space, then you won’t need to go and buy a lawnmower as that is also taken care of.

Of course, none of these services are free. There are usually additional maintenance and service charges, which all occupants must pay to look after the building, security and the like.

Make sure you ask how much these charges while you are searching and viewing properties. Forgetting to budget for them could leave you having to find more funds!


4. Leaseholds

Most apartments are leasehold – that means the ground on which the building sits isn’t owned by you! Often, the land belongs to one landlord and you will need to budget to pay the leaseholder ‘ground rent’.

Houses are generally ‘freehold’, which means you own the ground it sits on. It also means that outside mortgage and general maintenance, you won’t have additional costs once you complete and exchange. But that’s not always the case as some houses are leasehold! Whatever type of property you are viewing, make sure you check that out.


5. Still undecided?

If you are buying and aren’t sure whether to choose an apartment or house, then consider letting. While many may say renting is wasted cash, it isn’t if it gives you the chance to try out a lifestyle. If it isn’t for you, then you won’t have spent money on purchasing fees and won’t have to try selling your property if it doesn’t work out.

Remember, renting usually includes a minimum contractural time before you can move on. This is usually 6 months but it can be 12. But getting that time to sample a type or property offers a chance to try all aspects of the lifestyle.

If you’re considering buying an apartment or house and want advice, talk to our experienced team today.

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