Should You Rent A House Or An Apartment?

When looking for housing, one of the big decisions you must make is whether to rent a house or an apartment. Each type of housing has it's own advantages and disadvantages, and choosing the best option for you will depend on your lifestyle and budget. Below, we break down the pros and cons of renting each type of property.

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Renting a House: The Pros

Renting a house gives you a great deal more privacy. You can throw parties without worrying about disturbing other tenants, and won't be woken up at 1 am by your upstairs neighbor "practicing" his DJ set.

Living in a stand-alone property has other perks. Most houses have a garage or off street parking, so you can avoid monthly parking fees and don't have to worry about racking up tickets from parking your car on the street.

Houses also usually come with a yard, patio, porch or some other outdoor space. A yard is great for kids, pets, barbecuing or even just for kicking back with a beer on a late summer evening. If you have a green thumb, renting a house can give you space to grow vegetables or plant flowers.

If extra square footage is appealing to you, you may want to rent a house. Houses tend to be more spacious than apartments, with numerous bedrooms and bathrooms. If you have children, a house will give your family more room to spread out. The extra space can also be handy if you work from home. Turn an extra bedroom into a home office, art studio, or music recording space. Transforming a spare room is much cheaper than signing a second lease on a separate workspace.

Renting a House: The Cons

Houses tend to be more expensive to rent than an apartment. This can sometimes work in your favor. Because there are usually more bedrooms in a house, they can accomodate more roommates. Splitting the rent across four or five housemates will end up being cheaper than sharing a two bedroom apartment with just one roommate. However, if you are living alone, renting a house will be much pricier than renting a one bedroom apartment.

Houses also tend to require more upkeep and maintenance than an apartment, and that responsibility often falls to the tenants. Most houses are offered for rent by individual property owners while apartments tend to be maintained by a property management company. While some landlords are excellent, individual property owners tend to be less responsive to maintenance requests, and may not be as well versed in housing laws. For the most part, grounds maintenance, such as shoveling the driveway in the winter, is the house renter's responsibility. Because houses are bigger, they also tend to result in higher utility bills.

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Renting an Apartment: The Pros

If you love the hustle and bustle of urban living, an apartment will probably give you a better location. Unlike houses, which are generally in quieter, more residential areas, apartments can be found right along the busiest of city streets. These buildings with more central locations put you within walking distance of a variety of restaurants, shops, and grocery stores.

Apartments also grant you a greater amount of security. A doorman can keep unwanted strangers out of your building, and if your building has a front desk, they can sign for deliveries and keep packages secure until you get home.

Some apartment buildings also come with amenities such as a gym, pool or rooftop deck. In addition, many apartment buildings have handymen living on site to take care of any type of problem that may pop up.

Renting an Apartment: The Cons

The main drawback of apartment living is the lack of privacy. Nosy neighbors may pry into your personal life, and inconsiderate tenants could wake you up at 2 am with their raucous parties. In addition, apartments tend to have less square footage than houses, limited closet space, and rarely have more than two bedrooms.

Many apartment buildings do not allow pets, and even if they do, taking your dog out in the morning may require you to climb down six flights of stairs. Another risk of apartment buildings is pest infestation. Even if you keep your unit spic and span, a slovenly neighbor can attract ants, rats and cockroaches to your building.

There are also hidden costs that come with apartments, such as paid parking or property management fees.

Deciding whether to rent a house or an apartment is largely dependent on your needs and lifestyle. A dog owner who loves gardening might like living in a house. Other people might hate the maintenance that renting a house requires, and prefer to live in a studio right in the heart of the city. Both houses and apartment buildings have their pros and cons; consider what you need in a home, and what you don't, to make the choice best for you.

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