Which should you buy as your first place – a house or a flat?
Quick answer – buy the one you want. Should I buy a house or a flat? But if you want a slightly more useful analysis then read on.
Why flats are awesome
- Usually a bit cheaper than a house (around 65% ish of the same number of bedroomed house).
- Generally built in urban areas, so you can expect a decent amount of ‘life’ stuff going on around you.
- Cost of insuring the building is shared amongst the other leaseholders.
- Maintenance issues of the building are managed by the managing agents.
- If you buy with a short lease and extend it, you can add significant value.
- Much easier way of life – no gardens to maintain, building to worry about, etc.
- You’ll potentially have access to outside space without having to worry about maintaining it.
- General trends in demographics mean you’re more likely to be surrounded by younger people, so if that’s you – bonus.
Why flats suck
- You aren’t in control of the maintenance of the building.
- You can’t make much in the way of changes to your place – no extensions, loft conversions,etc.
- You must pay service charges and ground rent, without much ability to control either. These can get really expensive, real quick!
- Generally smaller living spaces.
- Hard to get finance if the lease terms are short (under 80 years).
- Tend not to have any ‘unique selling points’ so your place is a bit of a commodity when it comes time to sell.
- Because you are a leaseholder, you’ll never really “own” the property. You’ll always be renting it from the freeholder.
- You won’t usually have your own outdoor space.
- General trends in demographics mean you’re more likely to be surrounded by younger people, so if that’s not you – downer.
Why houses are brilliant
- More privacy and not sharing any common parts with other people
- You can make the place you own without anyone else’s permission – including extending and expanding the property
- You’ll probably have your own private garden / courtyard type area for outdoor space
- At some point in the future, when everything is paid off, you’ll completely own the property
- No high service charges or ground rent to worry about
- You are in control of maintaining the building to the standard you want
- More potential for capital growth
- You can extend and develop the property and the land as you want, potentially adding significant value when you do
- Will appeal to a wider group of buyers when it comes time to sell
Why houses are pants
- Generally, more expensive to buy than a flat.
- Higher costs involved – more stamp duty, higher mortgage payments due to the above.
- You are responsible for the pre-planned maintenance of the property.
- You must pay for the upkeep of the garden / outside spaces.
- Boring things like clearing the gutters are your responsibility.
- You are solely responsible for the property and need to be insured to protect anyone else on your land from harm.
- Houses tend to be further away from all the lively stuff than flats (massive generalisation, but a city centre house will be a crap ton more expensive than a city centre flat).
- You’ve got fewer neighbours and due to demographic trends are potentially going to be surrounded by people very different from you.
Should I buy a house or a flat? There you have it, a very quick off the top of my head breakdown of the pros and cons of houses and flats.
There really isn’t a right or wrong answer. It’s completely dependant on you, your circumstances, and your preferences. Nobody can tell you where you want to live. So you do you.
Have a look around, know what you’re letting yourself in for with whichever one you go for, but don’t let it put you off. You’re buying a home, so get the one that makes you the most contented.
There are some slight differences when it comes to financing either a house or a flat, so you may find the decision is made for you sometimes.
I’m here to have a chat if you can’t decide between the two and help you figure out what’s going to be best for you going forward, so don’t hesitate to get in touch here and see how I can help you find that dream house / flat / home.