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DWELLING ON YOUR CHOICES Apartment Or House?

Apartment

Once you’ve decided to buy a place, deciding what type of property purchase best suits your needs is the next step. For many, it comes down to a toss up between an apartment and a house (and no, flipping a coin does not count as a viable way to make a life choice).

One of the obvious pros for apartment living is that you can shop in prime locations. A suburb too pricey for that house-hunting budget becomes rife with opportunities when your sights are switched to an affordable apartment. Cafe and restaurant strip nearby, walking distance to work, easily accessible public transport: all of these are common and much touted benefits of apartment living.

If you’re set on a house, make a note of any increase in your daily commute. For some the extra karaoke practice in the car isn’t that much of an issue, but if the public transport work/home route is a little tricky, that’s worth taking into account. Naturally, if your prospective new place has a great garden and amazing shed, these elements can more than outweigh the inconvenience of distance, if spending time outdoors appeals. (As in, literally out the door, in your own blooming backyard.)

For many buyers, a sense of space can be a driving factor; in an apartment setting other people usually live in your building (having said that, keep in mind today’s structures are designed to minimise crossover noise). Rather than seeing this as a negative, some people view the close proximity of others as a positive, since it implies a sense of security. But if you want your castle to be notably separate from the neighbours’ pads, a house could be a better fit.

If you travel a lot, an apartment in a secured building might appeal because you won’t feel as worried about your belongings while away. If you spend a lot of time at home, you might prefer more space. Alternately, if home is just a stopover location between work and post-work pastimes, a larger place might be annoying rather than relaxing.

Property purchasing is a little strange in the sense that it’s asking you to really think about who you are, and how you live. Do you like to eat out a lot with friends and family during the week, at places within walking distance? Or would you rather eat your evening meal in the backyard, made from vegetables you grew yourself? Does taking a fair amount of time to get to work drive you crazy, or do you enjoy the chance to read a new book on the commute?

Likewise, if you own a home, you’re the sole person involved in maintenance. The decisions are all yours, which is great – but it also means the bills only have your name on them. In an apartment, there’s generally more than one person involved, which can be both a blessing and a curse.

GILLIAN O’MEAGHER