Buying your first home is a very exciting time. However, choosing your first home is a big decision. You’ll want to make sure you find the right type of home for your lifestyle, to ensure you’re comfortable and happy. One of the first things you’ll need to decide as a first-time buyer is whether you want to buy a house or an apartment, and there can be pros and cons to both types.
As one of the leading removal companies in the UK, Britannia Movers has put together this guide to choosing whether you need a house or a flat for your first home.
How much can you spend?
The first thing you should consider when deciding whether to buy a house or flat is how much you’re willing to spend. Of course, property prices will vary depending on your location – a flat in London, for example, might cost as much as a house in Newcastle.
However, if you’re looking in the same area, apartments will generally be cheaper than houses. This can make flats a good option for first-time buyers who are looking for a starter property to get them on the ladder. The cheaper the property, the less deposit will be needed.
Sometimes, you may find houses that cost less than flats in the same town. This could be because of where they’re located but could also be due to the condition of the property. A new-build flat might cost more than a 3-bedroom home that requires decorating and/or renovating.
If you want a house but have a smaller budget, you may need to weigh up how much time and money you’re willing to spend on getting a property to a good condition. It might be that a cheaper flat is a better option for you for your first property purchase.
What sort of location do you want?
Another thing for first-time buyers to consider when deciding what type of property they want is the location they would like. Typically, if you want to live in the city centre, you will need to purchase a flat. This might be the best option if you work in the city and don’t want to spend time or money commuting.
However, if you’re looking for a more peaceful suburban or peaceful location, you may be limited to houses. You’ll be less likely to find blocks of flats in the countryside, so you may need to buy a house if this is your preferred option.
Of course, it’s not always as black and white as this – you will find townhouses in city centres and smaller blocks of flats in rural areas. You may be able to live in the countryside in a flat by finding a converted mansion, for example. Be sure to research what’s available in your area if you’re keen on securing a specific property type in a specific area. You should also be aware that if there is less available for that property type in that area, you may need to act quickly to secure it, as competition from other buyers can be higher.
How much space do you need?
You should think about how much space you will need. Generally, flats will have less space than houses. This can be a better option if you are an individual or couple buying your first home. A benefit of a smaller space is that there will generally be less maintenance and cleaning required.
However, for some people a house with more space will be more suitable. It may be that you have children who require space, or you might be planning for the future. You might require more space because you plan to host people regularly. Whatever the reason, there can be benefits to choosing to buy a house that has more space.
You should consider what your current situation is and what you have planned for the years to come. A flat might be more suitable right now, and you can move on to a house in the future. Alternatively, you might be looking to buy your forever home right away. A house will also give you more freedom to grow the property as you need, as you’ll have space to extend. This means you can buy a smaller home now and extend it if and when you need to. With an apartment, you will be restricted on how much you can change the space itself.
Do you want outside space?
Another factor for first-time buyers to consider is whether they want or need outside space. Generally, houses will have some sort of garden, whether that be a large grassy area or a smaller paved garden.
Flats, on the other hand, are less likely to have outside space. Ground floor flats might have a courtyard area and other flats might have a balcony, which can give residents a space to enjoy the outside. Some flats may provide access to communal gardens for people to enjoy. The benefit of these is that you will not have to maintain the gardens yourself, however, you will likely have to pay a service fee.
You should also consider parking. Many apartment buildings will have a car park for residents, but reserving a space might require an extra cost. Some places might only have room for one car, which can cause a problem for couples and families with multiple cars. Houses are more likely to have a driveway with at least one parking space or be near street parking. Of course, availability of street parking can differ widely regardless of your property type – some areas, especially those in the centre of towns and cities, might require a permit.
Do you want a freehold or a leasehold?
One of the main things for first-time buyers to consider when choosing to buy a house or a flat is whether they want a freehold or a leasehold.
Houses are typically freeholds. This means you will own both the building and the land it resides on. A leasehold is when you will buy the property but not the land that it sits on. The land will belong to a freeholder, or landlord, who will own the whole apartment building.
There can be pros and cons to a leasehold. One of the downsides is that you will likely have to pay an annual or monthly maintenance fee, as well as extra costs, and it can also mean you have less freedom and control. However, it can mean that a lot of the upkeep and maintenance won’t be your responsibility, so can save you time and money in this area.
With a freehold house, you won’t have to pay extra fees for additional services and maintenance. However, it will mean that you have sole responsibility for the upkeep of the building and land. So, you could end up paying a large amount if something goes wrong down the line.