Apartment living is convenient for many families, but not always the most cost-effective home choice. Although renting is not a long-term investment, it provides a suitable temporary home while you shop for or build a house. If you are considering a move, weigh the pros and cons of houses and apartments to determine which choice is best for you and your family.
Apartments are a convenient choice for people who cannot afford monthly home loan payments. With an apartment, you don’t have to worry about homeowner’s insurance or home maintenance. Plumbing, electrical and other common household problems are your landlord’s responsibility and won’t cost you a dime to repair. You’ll also not have to worry about lawn maintenance and driveway repairs. You’ll only have to notify your landlord, who will take care of the expenses for you.
Apartments with monthly rent lower than home loans generally have much less square footage, resulting in a cramped space that doesn’t provide enough room for an entire family. Apartments also frequently don't have access to a yard, balcony or any other private, outdoor area. Other disadvantages of apartment living include the close proximity to neighbors, maintenance rules provided by the landlord and the need to ask permission before updating lights, painting or remodeling.
Purchasing a home helps you save money in the long run. Although renting is usually less expensive than buying up front, you will never get back all the money you give your landlord. However, when you buy a home, you will see a return on your investment when and if you decide to sell—even if you want to sell before you get the home paid off. By owning your own home, you can decide when and if to make repairs, when to upgrade to new appliances and when and how to remodel your kitchen, bathroom or even add new rooms when your family grows.
Although you’ll see an investment return when you sell your home, buying a house means you are responsible for all expenses, including insurance, repairs, maintenance, upgrades and property taxes. If you decide to buy, you will be responsible for taking out home loans and coming up with any necessary down payments - financial responsibilities not necessary when renting.
Renting an apartment is not always cheaper than buying a home. Consider the square footage of each, and think about the cost per square foot—you might find that some small homes are much easier to afford than a penthouse apartment. Prices often depend on location. If you welcome the idea of country living versus urban dwelling, you may find much larger homes in rural areas, offered at prices lower or equal to apartment rates within city limits. Create a budget list to compare your income to your monthly expenses to determine how much money you have available and decide which housing option best fits your finances.