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One of the primary decisions people make when relocating is whether to buy a house or rent a house or rent an apartment. While there is no “right” answer, the best answer depends on your priorities and long-term plans. To help sort out which is best, it’s a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of each.
Let’s start with a few perks that come with renting a house.
If privacy is your primary concern, you will likely find more of it with renting a house rather than an apartment. Given the distance from your neighbors, you’re less likely to be disturbed by their household noise and vice versa. A house is also a more secure place for package delivery.
Choosing a house over an apartment means getting more space. More space means more room for entertaining guests, storage, and space to put all of your furniture. An additional benefit is having outdoor space. Having a backyard means yet more room for entertaining. You’re also likely to have space for private parking with a driveway and perhaps even a garage.
If you have a family or anticipate starting one soon, renting a house is a great choice because of the additional living space inside as well as space outside for playing and relaxing. Also, as we mentioned before, you’re less likely to disturb your neighbors with household noise and vice versa was given a house’s higher level of privacy.
In some cases, renting a house can put you on the fast track to homeownership if that’s something that interests you. Some landlords offer tenants the option to rent to own, in which a portion of the monthly rent is applied to the purchase price of the house. This, in turn, helps build your equity in the home while you are renting.
If there isn’t any restriction clause in the rental agreement, you may choose to sublet an extra room as an additional source of income. Although this option compromises privacy, some tenants appreciate having extra money in their pockets every month and are okay with sharing their living space to do so.
Some apartments are pet friendly, but your furry friend is often limited by the space available in a small apartment. Renting a house provides the additional space some pets need to thrive both inside and outside.
While nothing beats having lots of living space, there’s more work required to maintain a house than an apartment. You will have more and bigger rooms to clean, grass to mow, and a backyard to keep tidy. If you live in a city that has wintry precipitation during the winter, be prepared to shovel snow and de-ice outdoor walkways.
While you may find some houses in the city’s center, most are located in neighborhoods that are removed from the hustle and bustle of city life. In some cases, that could mean traveling significant distances for dinner or to catch a show.
Rent houses are often run by homeowners who don’t have extensive experience with tenants. This may lead to disputes over minor issues which otherwise could have been resolved faster and more amicably in an apartment setting.
In terms of rent, living in a house can be more expensive than living in an apartment. Utility expenses may also be higher because you have more living space.
In terms of living expenses, it can be cheaper to live in an apartment than in a house. Not only is rent traditionally lower, but you will be paying less on utility bills. If your decision of whether to rent an apartment or house centers mainly on the cost factor, renting an apartment is probably going to be the clear winner.
Apartment buildings are usually located in or near city centers, so restaurants, parks, and other sources of entertainment are within walking distance.
Apartment living tends to offer more flexibility than renting a house. If you have a job that requires you to relocate, it may be easier to make arrangements to vacate an apartment.
Renting an apartment in a newer building could offer valuable amenities that you won’t find if you’re renting a house, such as Wi-Fi access, gym, and spa facilities, a pool, and covered parking. Additionally, an apartment will come with major appliances like a refrigerator and dishwasher already, unlike in a house that you rent.
In an apartment, you live too close to your neighbors so it’s hard not to be distracted by their noise. There could be other problems such as unpleasant smells, insect infestations, leaking pipes, or difficulties finding parking as well.
Apartments are small, and it may be hard enough to live in tighter quarters, let alone have extra space for storage. You might have to sell or donate furniture or other items because you don’t have enough room to keep that in your apartment.
Apartment buildings come with rules, and when you sign a lease, you’ll be agreeing to abide by those rules for the length of the lease term. It’s the tenant’s responsibility to know what is and is not allowed while renting the apartment.
The bottom line is that every person’s situation is unique. There is no “right” answer–it solely depends on the person’s lifestyle needs. Weighing the pros and cons will help you figure out which is best for you.