If you are getting ready to make a move, whether it is your first place or if you want to relocate, you are probably weighing the differences between leasing an apartment or purchasing a house. It’s a big decision and not one to be taken lightly as you are looking at a long-term financial commitment whichever way you go. You will need to consider your budget, lifestyle and level of responsibility you want to assume for maintaining your living space. Let’s take a look at some of the considerations.
- Lease or mortgage. Once you acquire a mortgage, you are locked in for decades unless of course, you sell your house. How quickly you can sell your home and whether you make money or take a hit will all depend on the housing market. Apartment leases usually run 12 months, but some communities have month-to-month options. It can difficult and expensive to break a lease and unless you have a compelling reason, you will be responsible for paying the remaining rent you owe.
- Household maintenance. If you are just starting out and want a house, then you will have to work within your budget, which usually means an older home (e.g., fixer-upper). If you have the money and knack for DIY, then this could be a good investment. You also have to pay for all repairs such as plumbing, HVAC, roofing, basement flooding, etc., yourself. If you live in an apartment, all of the maintenance is taking care of for you as it is factored into your monthly rent. The downside is that you may not have a say in what color the walls are or what type of fixtures and finishes are in the unit. Some apartments will let residents add their own fixtures, etc., but they remain in the apartment after you move out.
- Outdoor maintenance. If you own a home, you are responsible for all of the yard work such as mowing the lawn, raking the leaves, and shoveling the snow. If you enjoy those types of chores, then great! If you live in an apartment, property maintenance and snow removal are taken care of for you. The same goes for trash removal. If you are a homeowner, you pay for that service; in an apartment, trash removal fees are usually included as part of the rent.
- Children and pets. If you have children, you may feel that it is better to live in a house with ample bedrooms for the kids and a location within a desirable school district. They will also have a yard to play in and other kids in the neighborhood to socialize with. In an apartment complex, opportunities to interact with other kids may be more limited and often, and there aren’t as many options for outdoor play activities at home. Being close to a good school is also important for apartment dwellers, and since many apartment communities are in suburban areas, it should not be an issue. If you own a home, pets are no problem. In an apartment, there may be breed and weight restrictions. Residents will also need to pay a pet deposit and in some cases, monthly rent for the animal, which averages around $25-$30 per month.
- Lifestyle. If you are young and single, an apartment community that facilitates an active social life would be a good fit. Larger complexes include amenities such as swimming pools and decks with firepits, clubhouses, movie theatres, coffee bars, and fitness centers. Outdoor enthusiasts can take advantage of sand volleyball courts, dog trails, and bike stations. Some apartment communities also host social events like happy hour, trivia night, or group volunteer activities. However, if you are an introvert and don’t enjoy group events, then you might not be very happy with “forced” social events. Homeowners might have neighborhood swimming pools, walking trails, and parks, but they must rely solely on their own network of friends, relatives, and neighbors for social interaction. Unless the HOA offers planned events, there is no centralized source for planned get-togethers.
As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to homeownership and apartment living. It all depends on your needs and resources. A young single person who is starting out in their career might be drawn to the hands-off maintenance and active social life an apartment community offers. If you have kids and pets, then owning a home with a yard and close proximity to a good school would be a better fit, especially if you like to host cozy family gatherings or playdates with the neighborhood kids.
While moving can be a hassle, Vision Communities features and locations that will meet your needs. Our facilities are top of the line, supported by our awesome property management staff. If you weighing homeownership and apartment living, check out what Vision Communities has to offer. We have apartment communities throughout the Greater Columbus, Ohio, area with floorplans for studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Our communities offer first-class amenities and are conveniently located for an easy commute for work or play. Contact our office to schedule a tour and to inquire about floorplan availability.