Pros Cons of an Apartment Vs. a Home
Can you afford one of these?
Often, the decision to live in an apartment or a home is made for you. Depending on where you live, you simply may not be able to afford a house, regardless of if you rent or buy it. If money is no object–or at least less of one– your personal preferences come into play when weighing the pros and cons of an apartment versus a home.
When you buy a home, you don #039;t just take on the expense of paying for the dwelling itself. You are also responsible for insurance, property tax, ongoing–and often unexpected–maintenance and other associated costs of ownership. You usually need to spend money on a down payment to even get into a mortgage. In expensive markets, such as San Francisco, a down payment can amount to tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. On the flipside, home values can appreciate, plus the IRS offers tax benefits to homeowners. While you can opt to rent a house, generally, monthly rents for a house are higher than for an apartment. In either case, while renting might not always be the best deal over the long haul, it can be the only option for people with little or no money for a down payment and difficulty meeting the monthly obligations of ownership. If you are trying to decide between buying a house or renting an apartment, Pat Mertz Esswein of Kiplinger #039;s Personal Finance thinks you need to consider how stable your city #039;s housing market is. If the risk is high that prices might drop, you might be better off renting for a while longer. As of late 2009, Oakland, San Jose and San Francisco are three examples of relatively unstable markets where renting might be the best choice in the near term.
If you rent an apartment, odds are you have neighbors–in the same building–next to you. You might also have people living above you, below you or both. Depending on the situation, this can be a noisy proposition. When you rent or own a free-standing home or part of a duplex, the chances for this type of noise are reduced.
Though this might not be the case in cozy San Francisco, nationwide houses tend to be more spacious than apartments. Even in San Francisco, most single-family homes and flats offer more room than an apartment. Head to the suburbs and the differences are striking. The same applies to outdoor areas as well. You are more likely to have your own, larger backyard with a house than an apartment.
Ultimately, the choice between an apartment or home comes down to personal preference. The pros of a owning or renting your own home–more space, less noise–can be canceled out by other factors. For example, for some people, getting into a house requires moving from relatively expensive places like San Francisco. Before you make such a big move, consider what you will be giving up. Rent.com offers sound relocation advice that applies to virtually any situation–think about how you live in your current neighborhood. If you like your lifestyle, make sure the next neighborhood you live in allows for the same type of existence.
About the Author
As a writer since 2002, Rocco Pendola has published numerous academic and popular articles in addition to working as a freelance grant writer and researcher. His work has appeared on SFGate and Planetizen and in the journals Environment Behavior and Health and Place. Pendola has a Bachelor of Arts in urban studies from San Francisco State University.