What to Know About Renting an Apartment vs. A Home
Are you trying to decide between renting a home or an apartment? The choice to either rent an apartment or house can be difficult. On the one hand, renting a house might seem like the ideal type of home, with more rooms and space. But there are many advantages to living in an apartment too, like city center locations or lower costs.
There isn’t a right or wrong decision for most people when you’re choosing between renting a house or renting an apartment. A lot of folks have different financial circumstances, as well as housing needs.
Let’s look in-depth at the pros and cons involved when choosing between a rental house or apartment. After careful comparison between the two, you should be able to decide which is best for your circumstances.
The Pros and Cons of Renting a House
Everyone’s situation is different, so there is no right answer to the question of whether to rent a home or an apartment. Hopefully, these pros and cons will make your decision clearer cut. After all, nobody wants to choose a house to rent and find out they should have chosen an apartment instead or vice versa.
Without a doubt, there are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Pros of a House Rental
Let’s look at why you should go for a house to rent.
Privacy – If you value your privacy, you should have more of it in a house than an apartment. The extra distance you will physically be away from your neighbors will improve your living conditions.
Apartments tend to have thinner walls, and you could have noisy neighbors above and below you as well. Having packages delivered can also be more secure in a house than in an apartment building.
This is often the dilemma many folks face when they compare buying a condo vs. buying a house. In an apartment, you won’t have any immediate control over what you’re neighbors are doing. It is not uncommon at all to get stuck with an awful neighbor.
Just think about the person living above you with the son that loves to play their drums at 11 p.m at night. You are probably not envisioning a pleasurable experience.
Space – Choosing a house over an apartment should give you more room. You will likely have more space overall and more rooms to use. This lets you put up friends or relatives for a night or two, and should give you room for all your furniture. The addition of some outdoor areas for your exclusive use is another precious benefit.
Outdoor activities will be a lot easier if you have a yard, and a BBQ on a warm summer’s evening is difficult unless you have some outdoor space of your own. You might also have space to park vehicles and a garage. When comparing renting a house to an apartment, it is unlikely you will find apartments that come with garages.
Hobbies – Living in a house means that you don’t have to worry so much about disturbing your neighbors. You can more easily take part in your leisure activities and hobbies. If you play a musical instrument, it can be difficult to practice without upsetting your neighbors in an apartment. If you are active and love to play sports in the backyard, renting a house probably makes a lot more sense.
Family Living – The space a house offers is going to be better for a growing family. As a parent, you can worry less about your kids running past a neighbor’s front doors and disturbing them. Your kids can play in your yard, and the suburbs tend to be safer for children.
Potential to Purchase – One of the significant advantages of renting a house is that if you like the property, you might coax the owner into a rent to own agreement. If you have aspirations of eventually buying a home and enjoy the house you’re renting immensely, a rent to own contract could be perfect.
The advantage of a rent to own is that a portion of the rent will go toward the property’s eventual purchase price. Of course, the downside of renting an apartment is there is no option to purchase it. Renting a house potentially gives you the chance to become a homeowner quicker.
Potential to Sub-Let a Room – if the landlord allows you to do it, you might want to consider renting a room in the house. Renting a room is an excellent opportunity to have someone contributing toward the monthly rent. However, it would not be advisable to do this without having extreme confidence in the person you are renting to. It should be a relative or a very close friend.
A Place For Pets – when renting a house, there is more apt to be a yard and place for your pets to roam. If you have a larger dog renting a home makes far more sense than an apartment, even if they allow pets. Your dog will certainly appreciate the space to run around.
When you are looking at houses for rent these are the advantages most people consider important.
Cons of a House Rental
Here is why a house to rent might not make sense.
More Chores – With more space and more rooms, you can expect more to keep things maintained. If you have outdoor space, there could be grass to mow and a yard to keep tidy. When you are renting a house in a cold-weather climate, more than likely, you will be responsible for plowing the driveway and shoveling the walkway.
If you are older, this may not be a task that sounds pleasant.
Convenience – When choosing to rent a house or apartment, one factor will be the location. You are less likely to get a house that is close to the entertainment center of the city. Instead, most homes are located in the suburbs, a car journey away from stores, restaurants, and most amenities.
Landlords – You might find you have more problems with your landlord when renting a house. The owner is more likely to only rent that property and be less experienced in dealing with tenants. This could lead to disputes over relatively minor issues that shouldn’t be a problem. When renting a house, it is good to vet the landlord as much as they will be vetting you.
More Costly – generally speaking, renting a house is usually more expensive than renting an apartment. Of course, there are exceptions if you are leasing in a high rent district within a city. As previously mentioned, the additional maintenance costs of renting a house are more apparent.
The Pros and Cons of Renting an Apartment
There are some excellent reasons why an apartment rental might be better in your situation. Let’s take a look at the upsides of renting an apartment.
Pros of an Apartment Rental
Now let’s look at why you should go for an apartment to rent.
Expenses – Living in an apartment should be cheaper than a house. Not only will the rent often be more reasonable, but you are also paying for less room most of the time. You will need to spend less on utilities, which is frequently included in your monthly rent anyway. When comparing renting a house vs. an apartment, the costs clearly favor the apartment, the vast majority of the time.
Walkability – Apartment buildings are normally located closer to entertainment centers and convenience stores. You may find you only have a short walk to get to most of the places you need.
There is a fantastic tool called walkscore that will calculate how walkable the place is where you want to rent. The site will give you a score for how walkable, how drivable, and how easily it can be biked. When getting around easily is a priority for choosing your location, the tool can be extremely valuable.
Flexibility – Apartment living offers more flexibility to move when you need to. If you have a job that sees you moving from one location to another frequently, you will find it easier to move in and out of an apartment. You are more likely to find an apartment that is fully furnished, saving you many moving costs and time.
When looking for an apartment to rent, landlords will often mention if they offer units furnished or not.
Amenities – Newer apartment buildings could offer valuable amenities that you otherwise wouldn’t have access to. There might be a gym on-site, covered parking, or wireless internet. The apartment could include an in-unit washer and dryer, dishwasher, and a balcony.
Less Maintenance – let’s face it renting an apartment is much easier to maintain. Most of the work will be done for you. Sure, you will need to keep your place neat and tidy but that’s about it. If there is a problem with you’re rental someone will take care of it for you and usually pretty quickly.
When you are looking at apartments for rent these are the typical perks that most people find appealing.
Cons of Apartment Rentals
These are the reasons why renting an apartment might not be right for you.
Nuisances – Living close to your neighbors will mean you are disturbed by noises more than you would like. There can be other problems as well, like infestations and unpleasant smells that you’ll have to put up with. Other problems with apartment living can include difficulties with parking, leaking pipes, and having to do without an outdoor clothesline.
Can you imagine having to deal with the tenant above you that has a burst pipe and the water damages your property? While this could happen in a home, too, you would be in complete control of getting the problem rectified immediately. Lack of control over what others do is an extreme downside of renting an apartment.
Finding Room – The lack of space can save you some money, but it also can make things tricky when you want to find space for all your possessions. Some of your furniture or appliances may have to be ditched because you simply don’t have room in your apartment.
If you know this will be the case but would rather rent an apartment anyway, donating the furniture you don’t need is always an option. You’ll be helping someone in need, and companies will take it for you!
Restrictions – You are more likely to face restrictions on any improvements you want to make to the apartment. You could also be less likely to be allowed to keep your pets in an apartment over a house rental. When looking to rent an apartment you should always make it a point to check on any rules and restrictions.
Parking – If you don’t have a designated parking spot, it can be difficult to find somewhere to put your car if you live near the city center. If you have parked some distance away, you might not be able to see the vehicle, it could be damaged, and you wouldn’t know until you next needed to use it. When looking for an apartment to rent parking is usually a top consideration.
Where to Find Houses and Apartments to Rent
Now that you know the upsides and downsides when comparing a house to rent vs an apartment, let’s take a look at where to find one. Here are some of the top rental sites to look for homes and apartments available to rent.
- Rentals.com – find your perfect rental home. You can search thousands of up-to-date property listings on their easy-to-use website.
- Apartments.com – Search over a million listings of properties to rent.
- Realtor.com – one of the largest databases of both homes and apartments for rent as well as for sale.
- Zillow.com – another leader in the real estate industry for finding a house to rent.
- Trulia.com – Trulia is owned by Zillow and also has a large database of both apartments and houses to rent.
- Craiglist.com – Craiglist offers both homes and apartments for rent.
- Apartmentlist.com – find top apartments to rent all over the country at Apartment List.
- Rent.com – Rent.com’s tag line is a home for every renter. Their site breaks down rentals into different categories.
- Rentdigs.com – Rent Digs offers homes, apartments, and condos to rent.
- Oodle.com – find a house or apartment to rent by using Oodle.
- Padmapper.com – Padmapper shows houses and apartments to rent in major cities all over the country via their maps.
- rentcafe.com – Rentcade features hundreds of thousands of houses and apartments for rent. They make it easy for you to find your perfect home. See photos, floor plans, amenities, pricing, and more.
- ABODO.com – ABODO specializes in helping people search for an apartment to rent.
You might also try using Google as a tool to find a house or apartment to rent as well. Doing a search with the keyphrase houses for rent near me or apartments for rent near me could be advantageous.
Video: Mistakes to Avoid When Leasing a Home or Apartment
Watch the helpful video that explains some of the pitfalls to avoid when renting a house or apartment.
Preparing Financially to Rent a House or Apartment
One of the most vital things to do before renting a home or an apartment is to get your finances squared away. Without question one of the most crucial things that will be important to the landlord is your ability to pay your rent on time.
There will be a vetting process to make sure you’re a worthy tenant. Most likely, the landlord will check on your credit, verify your employment, and possibly do a background check to make sure you don’t have a criminal history.
Before putting yourself through a rigorous approval process, it makes sense to ensure your financial house is in order. If you know your credit score is not going to be up to snuff, you might want to consider working on improving your finances with a company like Credit Karma which is free to use. They will give you tips on how you can quickly increase your credit score. By doing so, you’ll put yourself in a better position to look attractive as a renter.
Unlike a credit restoration company, with Credit Karma, you won’t have to shell out a ton of cash. If your credit is not terrible, it is an excellent solution.
Final Thoughts Comparing Renting an Apartment to a House
Picking a rental house or apartment is a matter of deciding what you need in a home to live your life the way you want. If you want peace and quiet, space both indoors and out, and more privacy, a house is a better fit. If costs are an issue, or you want to be near the center of things, or flexibility is important, maybe an apartment will work better for your lifestyle.
It is crucial to understand whether renting an apartment or house; you may be required to come up with the first month’s rent, last month’s rent, a security deposit, and possibly a rental fee. You should check up-front on what will be required financially.
Renting a house has pros and cons, as does an apartment. Hopefully, the information you have found here has put you in a better position to determine whether renting a home or renting an apartment is better for your life and financial situation.
About the author: The above Real Estate information on renting a house vs. renting an apartment was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 508-625-0191. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 34+ years.
Are you thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!
I service Real Estate Sales in the following Metrowest MA towns: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Natick, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton, and Uxbridge MA.