Apartments vs. Houses

When I was growing up, I always lived in a house. My parents have always maintained that having your own home is a good investment, and they are probably right.

However, I hated all the work involved in having a house, especially having to maintain a yard, cutting grass and all that other bullshit. I remember living in my parents suburban home and hearing ALL the neighbors with their lawn mowers, weed wackers and other annoying implements and working on their lawns all day.

I don’t need or desire a lawn. I do not have any children, I don’t grill. A yard to me is something that has to be maintained even though I see very little bebefit. And cutting grass is the most mind numbing boring activity, and a waste of time.

I now live in an apartment, a place that we paid for. Because of yard work, I have always wanted to live in an apartment. Our place is a three bedroom/ 2 bath with a living room, balcony and kitchen. It’s a nice home. However, to people like my parents, owning an apartment is something of a “step down”. I don’t see it that way and would never have a free standing home. I never see my neighbors, nor do I have neighbors who gossip, spy and stare at you from the street.

Apartments vs. Houses…

You don’t have to have grass in your yard.

We only have a small garden, but it’s really nice to have some outside space that my toddler can play in without traffic, dogs and litter (which is often the case in a nearby park).

In the summertime we can eat in the sunshine, we have a small vegetable patch, and flowers in the borders.

A friend of ours who recently bought a flat (appartment) is now desperate to move after spending a summer with no acces to her own outside space.

To be honest, a nice appartment with a shared (private) garden would be OK, but there is something nice about being able to walk into your own outdoor space.

To me, it’s a matter of location, location and location. The best option for me would be a private house in the middle of town - but as that’s not likely to happen, I’d rather live in an apartment in the city than a house in the suburbs or country.

Yardwork doesn’t have to be that intense, I do find the lawn mowing enjoyable, but as a teen I hated it. It helped a lot going from a corded electric bagging mower to a gas, self propelled walk behind mulching mower, and helped even more going from my pop’s rules and standards to mine. I do find I enjoy other aspects too that I rarely did.

I can understand not wanting to deal with all the maintenance, and a apartment can be more of a community living situation. The factor I believe is rent vs. own and the ability to make it your own, plus a lot of young adults start by renting, you could buy into a condo and have the ownership factor.

There is at least the illusion that owning a home is a step up from renting a apartment. However I don’t know if that is true.

I’ve personally never been happy when I was renting. To be truly happy, I need to own the place I’m living in. Over the course of my life I’ve owned a condo unit (basically a two-story apartment in a block-wide conversion of four-story rowhouses), a rowhouse, half of a twin, and several single-family stand-alone houses with yards, and I’ve been happy living in each of them.

I have to confess that I kind of like mowing the lawn (with a self-propelled walk-behind mower). Yes, it’s kind of a mindless task, but sometimes I like mindless tasks.

To each his own, I suppose. Apartments and houses each have their advantages and disadvantages. Like most, I’ve lived in both. If you’re going to move around a lot, renting can actually save you quite a bit of money and hassle.

For me, I like working on old cars, I like big dogs, I like staying up late playing my guitar (poorly), and watching movies with surround sound on full blast. All things that seem to get apartment managers (and other residents) a tad upset. One day, I’d like to move back to the country where I can have bonfires, ride dirt bikes, and shoot guns off my back porch like when I was growing up.

Have you ever looked at patio homes? No yard to maintain, but also no apartment parking lot spaces to jostle over, no noise filtering in from activity and music just the other side of the wall, build equity as opposed to paying rent, etc.

Our dogs, cats, horses, chickens, geese, would find apartment dwelling stifling.

So get a loft.

I know that most people see the freestanding house as the ultimate, but if you are happiest in an apartment, go for it. You can buy condos that are like apartments, I have rented them from the owners before =)

I think that owning an apartment type condo would be fine, living exclusively in rental apartments is fine as well. It really does come down to what suits your style of living. I would go with a condo for myself - being able to bash down a non-load bearing wall, change flooring to tile or bamboo, and paint it whatever color I like is good, and I have no particular need nor liking for lawn =)

Yup, some people have to “step down” to something like this modest 3-bedroom apartment in Manhattan: 145 Central Park West:

$20,000,000, and no backyard …

BTW, it seems that the most expensive apartment for sale in Manhattan is 15 Central Park West, listed for $55,000,000. But who the hell wants to live in Manhattan when you can get a nice house across the river in North Bergen? Price: $210,000. With “big back yard”.

Some people actually *prefer *living in an apartment and they are willing to pay a lot of money to do so.

Not a “Great Debate”. Just a matter of opinion.

I’ve lived in a lot of townhouses, and I absolutely prefer a free standing house just to separate me from the neighbors. Not that the neighbors ever really annoyed me, but I was always worried about the kids being loud, or the TV being loud, or grinding metal in my garage being loud. But I do hate yardwork, and intend to pay for yard service when I’m able to afford it. Most people in my neighborhood already do that. It’s somewhat frustrating having the crappiest yard on the block just because I don’t have a team of immigrants working on it every week, but whatever.

That said, I agree with the above sentiment that location is everything. I’d rather have a nice apartment in the city than a crummy house in the suburbs.

Yep. But I’m the opposite. Give me land with a view and zero neighbors. I couldn’t cut it in the city.

I take satisfaction in having a house that is mine. We are territorial animals - or at least, I am - and living in an apartment, I was never really ‘at ease’.

I have a great yard - it’s the reason I brought the house, and while by true suburban or rural settings it is small, for Alexandria it is HUGE. It’s big enough that my annual party with circa 100 attendees doesn’t feel too cramped.

And the yard work is no trouble at all. I just pay my friend to do it. He loves working outside, I don’t. He has a talent for it, I don’t. He charges way under market rates. So everything is coming up roses. Well not literally, as he hasn’t planted any of those, yet.

Do you mean a home that you own, rather than rent? If that’s what you mean, then you are addressing a different issue. The OP says: “I now live in an apartment, a place that we paid for.” The sample apartments in Manhattan that I mentioned are for sale.

Not clear what territoriality has to do with this. Did you share your apartment with strangers, and is your current house not part of a community?

Or do you mean that you like yelling: Get off my lawn!! :wink:

Have you considered condo living?

I’ve only rented, not owned, an apartment; but I don’t think I’d be happy owning a condo-apartment, because I’d still, in theory, have to deal with other folk’s expectations of my space - I could not (should I wished) play loud music all hours, there would be a condo association telling me what to do, etc.

Well, to an extent, the latter - though I must admit, more in theory than reality. I’ve never actually yelled “get off my lawn!”, but I like the thought that I could if I wanted to. :smiley: Does that make any sense? Maybe not; I’m not claiming it’s a sensible feeling.

It is true that a house is part of a community, but it is seperated by a bit of distance - and the community has only limited “say” over what I do inside that space, aside from stuff that is illegal. An apartment (condo or not) lacks that distance, I always feel like whatever I do is being monitored by others ready to disapprove if I make a loud noise, cook stinky food, or decide to paint my door pink.

That, BTW, is why I’m against the notion of a HOA.

I had a couple issues that propelled me from apartments to buying a house.

  1. I had four pets. I was renting a very small house (because the landlady was also a Crazy Cat Lady™) but it was too small for me plus my critters. There was no apartment anywhere in my city that would allow four critters. Many would allow 1 or 2 and would charge me out the ass for them, but four was a nonstarter. So I bought my own house so I could have as many or as few animals as I wanted.

  2. Noise and stuff. In one apartment I lived, I worked the graveyard shift. I’d come home at 8 a.m. to sleep. Imagine my white-hot livid rage when the rental managers decided that 8 a.m. is the perfect time to lay new carpet in the apartment above me. No matter what floor I’ve lived on, I’ve always been able to hear neighbor noise and had to be conscious of my own noise out of consideration for others sharing the building space. In my own house, I crank it right up at 3 in the morning if I feel so inclined. Or pole dance in my living room at 2 a.m after I come home from the bar. Sometimes there is a little after hours party at my place because of that. I don’t worry about disturbing my neighbors.

  3. I am a gardener and found container gardening on balconies to be rather unsatisfying. And a bit of a pain in the ass. I needed a yard. I wanted a yard. I got my yard.

Let me also say that I’m right there with the OP on grass and mowing. In a rather dramatic temper tantrum when I was 15, I vowed to my father that i would never mow a lawn again. (Picture Scarlett O’Hara vowing to never eat dirt again. It was a lot like that, complete with sweating and swooning and lots of spoiled-brat whining. ;)) So I bought a house that has one 4-foot strip of grass in the front yard and the rest is either dirt & leaves (in the back where it’s too shady for grass) or landscaped (plants & cypress mulch). My yard is ZERO maintenance, always looks like this amazing cottage garden, and has something blooming in it 365 days a year. (This is Florida so I planted stuff that blooms in each season.) I think my point is, I don’t need or care about a lawn, but I do like to have a yard. It’s great for entertaining and the dogs have to pee somewhere.

The only downside is when something breaks, I have to pay for the contractor to fix it, e.g., plumbing, electrical, roofing, HVAC, etc. I find that not really all that problematic even though I live in a vintage house in which a lot of shit breaks. Still prefer it over apartment living.

Renting vs buying we could debate. House vs apartment is just a matter of taste, location, and where you are in your life. I grew up in a house, and own one now, but I’m also from NY and know lots of people who grew up in apartments with no apparent ill effects. When we retire we will move to an apartment or condo for sure.