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Last updated: November 14, 2022 • Real Estate Market

Pros and Cons of Apartment Living

Whether you’re downsizing or are choosing to move in an apartment due to financial issues, apartment living can be a lot simpler, more sustainable, and more accessible than you might think. We can’t say that apartment living is for everyone, but if you are trying to figure out if this would be a good fit, you should know all the facets of living in an apartment.

Like with every other type of living situation, there are pros and cons of apartment living. On the one hand, your accommodation expenses will be lower. Still, you won’t build equity, so before you decide, it’s best to consider all the pros and cons of apartment living and consider your situation.

Summary:

Housing Market and the Rise in Apartment Living

rental payment text on notepad

We can all see how the current housing market is faring, and the increasing cost of living is not helping make matters easier. While buying your first home may still be considered by some as an important milestone towards adulthood, it really isn’t. Being able to provide for yourself is. Times have changed, and we can not keep comparing the situation for young professionals in 2022 to that of those in 1980. The cost of living changed a lot, while wages barely grew, making it impossible to be at the same stage in your life as your grandparents or even parents were.

By the time my mother was my age, she had a car and owned an apartment. On the other hand, I don’t own a car because I, thankfully, live in an incredibly walkable and bikeable city, and I rent. Things have changed, and when we finally get to accept that, we can understand that we shouldn’t compare ourselves to previous generations. But the current housing market doesn’t only affect younger generations, so when we talk about apartment living, we’ll look at the big picture.

So yes, an increasing number of households choose apartment living over owning a house. The reasons can vary, but finances play an important role, along with the desire to be closer to their workplace or school and downsizing. You’re the only person who can decide whether or not living in an apartment is the right choice, but here we’ll give you the pros and cons of apartment living, so you have all the tools you need to make the best decision and your family.

Pros and Cons Apartment Living List

happy family in living room

Living in an apartment is no longer something only the younger generations do. Plenty of people choose to live in an apartment and pay monthly rents, which led to an increase in rental prices that match the rise in housing prices. While the two usually go in opposite directions – when it’s more affordable to buy, rents are climbing, and the other way around – in the current housing climate, the need for housing led to appreciation in both sectors of the market. If you add to that the need for people to stay in their homes during the pandemic and the impact real estate investors or landlords had on prices, it’s easy to see why buying a home became less appealing to many people.

So with the aim of making people aware of the pros and cons of apartment living, we compiled a list to give those considering moving in an apartment all the information they could possibly need before they make a decision. Up next, you’ll find the pros and cons of apartment living that you need to consider before moving to an apartment, regardless of the city you choose to settle in.

Advantages of Apartment Living

happy excited young people look around

Because we like to be positive and think that apartment living can be great for many reasons, we’ll start with some of the advantages of apartment living. However, seeing as many people still think that apartment living shouldn’t be something that young families should choose, we will also look at some benefits of apartment living for families of all ages. Maybe you don’t want the burden of a mortgage so soon in your life, or you just want to enjoy all the amenities available in downtown areas. Whichever your reasons are, here are the advantages of apartment living that sure sold me on it.

Limited Maintenance

interior living room comfortable sofa

If you’re a homeowner, dealing with a busted pipe or a hidden gas leak can be a big issue, as the cost of reparations can skyrocket quickly. That’s without considering having to find the problem before your bills make you think you’ve installed a heated pool in your backyard. If something similar happens in your apartment, you simply call the supervisor or landlord, and they will deal with the whole situation. Many empty nesters choose to move to an apartment simply because they don’t want to deal with that hustle and bustle. Sometimes you just want to live. 

Another reason why living in an apartment is substantially easier to maintain is the square footage. Even if you have a big apartment, you don’t have to worry about half the maintenance work you’d have to handle in a single-family home. Regular cleaning allows your apartment to be in top shape in an hour tops. Also, you’ll spend a lot less on furniture if you want to fix things up a bit, as apartments can only take up so much furniture, and the more furniture you put in it, the less space you’ll have. Furthermore, any outdoor space that is available in an apartment building or complex is managed by the building. You might be required to pay a fee for that, but the fee is split between all the apartments in the building so that it will be much more affordable than otherwise.

Affordability

house mortgage financial concept

As we mentioned in the previous paragraph, apartment living is much more affordable than single-family homes. Suppose you want to live in a city’s downtown area. Comparing the amount you’ll pay in monthly mortgage fees to rental costs results in an obvious choice. Think of downtown Manhattan where the average home price is $1,500,000. If you find a home to buy for $1,500,000, you’ll have to pay a $300,000 down payment (20%), and for a 30-year mortgage, your monthly payment is around $8,900. The average rental in downtown Manhattan is $4,200. The difference is big, but consider that that price is accurate for a 20% down payment of $1,500,000. If you go above the home cost or before the 20% down payment, you will have to keep up with mortgage payments as they increase exponentially, not to mention the effect of inflation.

Besides this, apartments tend to be smaller in size, square footage, and height, and they aren’t alone as single-family homes with a yard surrounding them. This makes it easier and a lot cheaper to heat up an apartment and maintain that heat because the surrounding apartments also heat it. That means lower utility bills and expenses.

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Amenities

women getting ready swimming pool

This was what actually sold me on renting an apartment. As a single woman, I find living in a small downtown apartment a lot more logical than buying a single-family home by being able to live downtown close to work, amenities, bars, cafes, and everything I could possibly want within a five to ten-minute walk is incredible. Besides everything else that comes with living in a downtown area, many apartment buildings come with their own amenities, like gyms, pools, parks, cafes, restaurants, and so on. Just think about it, being able to hold a barbeque party on the roof without worrying about lawn maintenance. Genius. You can also opt for an apartment that comes with a balcony and make your own oasis that’s as private as they come and doesn’t require you to spend long hours trimming the hedges. 

If you have an electric car, you can request a charging station in the parking lot or use bike-sharing options. Washer and dryer facilities can be either within the building or in-unit features. The possibilities are limitless, and it’s about time people see apartment complexes for the great housing options they actually are. So what if you don’t actually own the property? Young people nowadays are so interconnected and free to live wherever they want that owning a property feels like being held down in one place.

Freedom

rich woman enjoying sunset

If you aren’t tied down by external responsibilities and don’t need to settle down in one place, for now, living in an apartment gives you the freedom not to have to stay in one place. This can be applied to everyone that doesn’t want to be tied down, whether they are 25, 45 with children, or 68 pensioners that want to see the world. For instance, if you get an offer for your dream job in California but own your home, you must go through the ordeal of getting a realtor, listing the property, going through multiple showings, and waiting a lot until you find a buyer before you can move. However, while your lease may not allow you to pack your bags and move out on a day’s notice, it is much easier as a renter. 

You don’t risk selling your home in a rush and losing money. The worst that can happen is losing your deposit, but if your lease has a 30-day notice, just wait for the month to end and pack your bags. Check to see any cancellation clauses before you sign your lease, especially if the freedom that comes with renting is the biggest appeal for you. You want to know what you’ll have to do in order to get out of that lease. Or else, you’ll need to help your landlord find a new tenant, lose your deposit, wait the notice period, or wait for the lease to end. Either way, you won’t be tied down to a property for years or decades, making moving that much more difficult.

Benefits of Apartment Living for Families

cute kids playing while parents relaxing

All of the above also work as benefits of apartment living for families, but we’ll go into more details that can be applied explicitly to families. Once you have children, people think you should settle down in a suburban home with white picket fences and a retriever named Buddy, but there are benefits of apartment living for families you can not get in a single-family home. Firstly, when you have children, cleaning up after them can be a nightmare, but one of the benefits of apartment living for families comes from the smaller square footage that needs to be cleaned. You’ll have an easier job picking up after them, and a smaller space also helps to make them more responsible with how tidy they are. Children like to have space to move around, play, study, etc.; if they have a smaller area for that, they will need it to be cleared of clothes, toys, and everything else to do all that. They might just push it into a corner and leave it there in bigger spaces.

Secondly, having children isn’t cheap, and affordability is among the benefits of apartment living for families. You’ll be able to spend more money on what your children need and want than on living in a single-family home simply because the cost of living is lower. You’ll also be closer to high-quality schools and universities, and your children can learn independence earlier, especially if you find a walkable or bikeable city to live in.

Disadvantages of Apartment Living

precarious house

While I personally find apartment living ideal for me, I am aware of the disadvantages of apartment living that may deter people from choosing this lifestyle. After all, it all depends on the individual’s personal choices, lifestyles, and needs. So even if I like apartment living, I will underline the disadvantages so that those considering this housing option are informed and look at both the pros and cons of apartment living before signing any lease.

Storage Space

Seeing as apartment living is seen as downsizing for empty nesters or those that simply want to live in a smaller home, it should be evident that one of the disadvantages of apartment living is limited storage. In apartments, you’ll have less cabinet space and smaller closets, and even if you do find an apartment with walk-in closets, those closets will be limited by the structure of the building. You won’t be able to make them bigger or get more storage space than the apartment can actually fit. 

Also, apartments usually don’t come with basements, attics, or other typical single-family house storage options. While you might get a locker in the basement, they aren’t as big as in single-family homes. This will mean that if you choose to move to an apartment, you will have to cut down on the number of things you own. The KonMari method is perfect for this; the surplus can be donated, sold, or given to friends and family who might still find use in those items. However, if you can’t seem to say goodbye to some of the things you own, you can look into storage options in your area.

Neighbors

woman chatting while standing

While living in an apartment building is beneficial for heating costs, one of the disadvantages of apartment living is proximity to your neighbors. You’ll have literally one wall between you and your next-door neighbor, and, depending on sound insulation, you might hear them in their home and vice versa. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a disadvantage as you’ll be able to meet people easier, and in case something happens, you’ll have someone close to help you out. Still, you can’t choose who your neighbors are, and the situation may become uncomfortable if you don’t get along.

However, regardless of whether you and your neighbors get along or not, having someone live literally feet away from you can be disruptive. It can be as simple as them slamming their door in the middle of the night or making a ruckus while you’re trying to take a nap. Loud noises can be a normal thing in apartment living, so that might be something you need to be okay with if you want to be able to live peacefully in an apartment complex.

No Equity

image illustration time money

While we already stated this fact at the beginning of the article, the fact that you can’t build equity in apartment living is the biggest drawback for many tenants. When you purchase a home through a mortgage, your equity increases with every monthly payment, which can influence access to loans, second mortgages, and the possibility of making a profit when you move out. 

However, that’s the difference between buying, which leads to owning, and renting, which leads to … nothing. All the money that you pay on a monthly basis goes into your landlord’s pocket. They don’t build up in time to give back benefits. They just go to someone else’s pocket. When your lease is over, you don’t have any profit and can’t get any of that money back. They will remain in the landlord’s pocket.

Conclusion

Deciding whether apartment living is right for you isn’t easy, but it is your choice because it depends entirely on your situation. Do you want to settle down? Do you have a stable job that won’t transfer you to another state? Do you want to live in that place for more than five years? Do you have a stable income? You must consider all these and more before choosing to rent or buy. However, if you are adamant about moving in an apartment, we suggest you see multiple apartments before signing a lease. Check the amenities available, consider location and walkability if that’s important to you, distance from work, and fees that come from the building. There are many pros and cons of apartment living, so do your homework properly and try to find something that gives you at least 70% of what you’re looking for. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck in a lease for a while and have to go through the whole process again sooner than expected.

In the comment section below, let us know what made you think of moving to an apartment and what pros and cons you found once you embarked on the journey. Also, if there’s anything that matters to you that we left out, don’t hesitate to let us know. Like & Share this article with friends and family and let’s see what other people think of apartment living. I promise it is a lot better than you might expect.

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