If you ask anyone to list their aspirating, owning a home will likely be in the top ten. According to a poll conducted by the NAR, 75% of Americans consider owning a home to be a measure of success they are. But is living in a house all it’s cracked up to be, or can you have just as good a time (or even better) when living in an apartment?
Buying a home can offer you many advantages, such as financial success and a symbol of success. Likewise, there are many benefits of apartment living, such as lower bills and maintenance costs. Additionally, each living situation has unique drawbacks, which you should consider when deciding where to live. Below is a look at how living in a house compares to apartment living – with detailed pros and cons of each option.
The Costs Involved
One of the significant differences when comparing living in a house to apartment living is the costs involved. According to a report by ATTOM, renting an apartment is cheaper than buying a home due to the high mortgage rates. Additionally, apartments (condos) are usually more affordable than most single-family homes as they come with no land – exterior spaces are common areas.
Another one of the top benefits of apartment living is the lower maintenance costs. Due to the small space, maintaining an apartment is much cheaper. Also, the landlord usually handles most maintenance and repair issues in the apartment. Therefore, apart from your rent, you are not likely to incur additional expenses when renting an apartment.
On the other hand, owning a home can be very expensive. First, you are responsible for any repairs and maintenance issues, which can quickly add up. Also, due to the larger size of homes (compared to apartments), you’re likely to incur higher energy bills when living in a house. Lastly, homes come with additional expenses such as property taxes, mortgage, home insurance, HOA fees, etc.
Repairs and Maintenance Services Needed
Another significant difference between house and apartment living is the repairs and maintenance services needed. As a homeowner, you will need a wide range of home maintenance and repair services to keep your home in perfect condition.
Common home maintenance and repair services include plumbing, electrical, air condition repair service, home cleaning, chimney services, etc. Also, due to outdoor spaces, you may need landscaping services, gutter cleaning, roof inspections, septic tank maintenance, wildlife removal services, snow removal, etc.
On the other hand, apartment maintenance services include plumbing, electrical, appliance maintenance and repair, door and windows, etc. Unlike a house, you don’t need outdoor repair and maintenance services such as landscaping and gutter cleaning – one of the top benefits of apartment living. And if you’re renting your apartment, you don’t have to worry about looking for a contractor or paying them – your landlord takes care of that.
Home Improvement Freedom
Freedom of improving your home is a top factor to consider when comparing living in a house vs an apartment. While cheaper maintenance and repair costs are one of the significant benefits of apartment living, they are overshadowed by limited freedom to make improvements.
If you’re renting, renovating your apartment can be tricky. First, you must receive authorization from your landlord before making any changes to the apartment. And even then, you will likely be restricted to minor changes such as painting, changing light fixtures, or calling pest control companies for removals. But, even if your landlord allows you to make significant changes, it would mean investing in a property you don’t own.
Apartment renovations can still be tricky even if you own the property. While you’ll have more freedom to remodel, especially the interior, you may still need approval from the homeowner’s association before making any significant changes. Additionally, there might be additional state or local by-laws regulating apartment unit renovations, which you have to abide by.
On the other hand, renovating a house is much easier, and you’ll have much more freedom. As the homeowner, you don’t need approval from anyone else to revamp your home. Therefore, you can redesign and make any desired improvements to your home. The only catch is that you may have to seek permits for some renovations, such as demolitions, electrical system upgrades, building additions, etc. However, most renovations, such as painting, landscaping, installing new fixtures, etc., don’t require permits.
Available Living Space
Space is another significant difference when comparing living in a house vs. living in an apartment. Since homes are larger, they have more living space. Therefore, you can enjoy a bigger kitchen, dining room, living room, bathrooms, and bedrooms. Additionally, houses usually have more bedrooms and bathrooms compared to apartments.
Unfortunately, space is usually limited in apartments and thus can be limiting, especially in your choice of furniture. Therefore, you must come up with creative ways to save space. For example, using space-saving furniture such as storage ottomans, modular sofas, pull-out beds, foldable tables, etc. You can even use ergonomic office furniture for added comfort while maximizing space usage.
Outdoor space is another significant difference between houses and apartments. Despite the many benefits of apartment living, you have to contend with limited outdoor living spaces. If you’re lucky, your apartment or condo will have a balcony that you can use. However, other exterior spaces (lobbies, corridors, stairways, roofs, lobbies, etc.) are shared common areas.
On the other hand, when you own a home, you will have access to a personal outdoor space. You also have a lot more freedom in how you can utilize the space. For example, you can plant a lawn, purchase garden equipment for growing vegetables, or even build additions on your property.
Amenities are another huge difference when comparing house and apartment living. When you own a home, you can enjoy amenities such as a gym, swimming pool, garage, etc. And since you have absolute ownership of these amenities, you can enjoy more privacy. Lastly, you have more freedom in how you can use your amenities. For example, you can convert your garage into a bedroom or office or create extra space using creative garage storage ideas.
There are also many benefits of apartment living where amenities are concerned. First, most apartment complexes have amenities like gyms, swimming pools, restaurants, saunas, sports courts, etc. And while you have to share them with others, these amenities are usually cheaper as they are commonly owned.
Unfortunately, some apartments might lack major amenities like swimming pools, gyms, and playgrounds. Also, parking is an issue in some neighborhoods, and you can easily find yourself on the other end of a towing service if you park in the wrong area.
Furnishing Needs and Costs
Furnishing and home décor is another area where you can see a vast difference between house and apartment living. For a house, an ample space means more options in your furnishing and décor choices. On top of that, when you own a house, you can install permanent décor items – although this also applies if you own an apartment.
Unfortunately, smaller spaces in an apartment mean that your décor choices are more limited. On top of that, there might be restrictions on the decorations you can make to your apartment if you’re renting. Fortunately, you can find many creative décor ideas to make your apartment homely. For example, you can hang wall art pieces or install a decorative indoor light fixture.
Besides décor options, house and apartment living vary greatly when comparing furnishing and decorating costs. According to HomeAdvisor, furnishing a home can cost up to $95,000, while a one-bedroom apartment will only cost about $3,500. Therefore, lower furnishing costs are another of the top benefits of apartment living you can enjoy.
Ease of Raising Children
The experience of raising children is very different when comparing house vs. apartment living. In a home, you have the advantage of a large space, which means more area for your children to play. A house can also be beneficial when you have a large room, as it might mean your kids won’t have to share rooms. On top of that, you can improve your home to meet your family’s growing needs – for example, by bedroom addition or installing a swimming pool.
However, even with limited spaces, many benefits of apartment living can make it ideal for raising kids. For example, living in an apartment means fewer expenses; hence you can spend more on your children. Additionally, the smaller apartment living space means that you have an easier time keeping track of where your children are.
Another one of the top benefits of apartment living is flexibility, especially if you’re renting. While a house commits you to a permanent location, renting an apartment gives you more flexibility in choosing where you can live. Therefore, in case of a major change, such as a job transfer, you only need to end your lease and start looking into moving companies that can help relocate your family.
Freedom of Owning Pets
Pet ownership is another way in which house and apartment living differs. When you own a house, you have nearly absolute freedom to own pets. The only issue you may encounter is from your homeowner’s association, which can have restrictions on breed, size, and number of pets. However, HOA pet restrictions are usually communicated to you before buying a property, thus giving you a chance to choose a community that allows pets.
Ample living space is another top benefit of house living regarding pet ownership. For example, your pet can access a large play area when you own a home. You can also release your pets outdoors without worrying about them leaving your property – if adequately fenced.
Unfortunately, owning a pet can be tricky when living in an apartment. First, if you’re renting, the landlord can prevent may prevent you from owning a pet if they have a no-pet policy – unless you’re looking to adopt a service dog. Even if you own the apartment, HOAs can still have more restrictions on pet ownership.
The smaller living spaces of the apartment also make it tricky to own and raise a pet. For example, you must regularly take your dog outdoors for playtime. Additionally, pets can easily damage your carpets, floors, and furniture when living in an apartment, leading to fines if you’re renting. Lastly, due to close living situations, you might be the subject of noise complaints from other neighbors in your apartment complex.
Privacy and Security
Privacy and security are other ways living in a house differs from apartment living. In a home, you can enjoy more privacy from your neighbors, as homes are not usually close to each other. You can also install privacy features such as a gate and fence. Lastly, your family members can enjoy more privacy, as you are less likely to share bathrooms and bedrooms.
However, when it comes to an apartment, privacy is a significant concern. The close living situations mean you might have to deal with noisy or nosy neighbors. Privacy may also be a problem if you are a large family living in an apartment as you have to live in close quarters.
Security also differs significantly when comparing house and apartment living. In a home, you’re in charge of your security and must invest in various security systems to keep your home safe. However, security is shared in an apartment – for example, access points to the apartment complex and surveillance in the common areas. Therefore, you can benefit from an added layer of security.
Are you in the process of deciding on your living situation? There are many benefits of apartment living, such as lower costs and maintenance, better flexibility in terms of location, and access to shared amenities. However, apartment living can also have a few drawbacks, such as less space, limited freedom for home improvements, pet restrictions, parking problems, lack of privacy, and more.
Likewise, living in a house can offer you many benefits, such as more space, more privacy, a lot of freedom in renovations, fewer pet restrictions, personal amenities, etc. But, on the other hand, you also have to contend with a few drawbacks, such as high maintenance costs, less mobility, and high costs of installing amenities.