Figuring out your next move – Flat vs House

Real estate marketIs it time for you to make the leap and invest your hard-earned cash in property or move up the property ladder? There are lots of questions to ask yourself, like ‘Should I rent or buy?’, ‘Where’s the best location?’ and even ‘Where are the best schools located?’. But one of the biggest considerations is whether to opt for a flat or a house.

Is a flat more practical for your current lifestyle but you’re keen on the outdoor space that usually comes with a house? Flats can make the perfect home for a first-time buyer as it can sometimes be the most budget friendly, but they’re also great options for couples and families of all sizes. If you’re not sure which is best for you, don’t worry, s1homes is here to help with the top five things to consider when weighing up a flat or a house.

  1. Inside Space

This is crucial. While we tend to think of houses as being more spacious than flats, this isn’t always the case.  Our beautiful Tenements, converted Townhouses and Mansions offer high ceilings and ample bedrooms that can make great family homes. They can offer vast amounts of space along with bags full of character. While the perfectly proportioned small house, in a new build development, can be ideal for singles or young couples looking to get their first step on the property ladder.

The first thing to do is work out how much space you really need, do you need a spare room for guests or will a sofa bed in your lounge serve you just as well for the occasional visitor?  Has a home office jumped up your priority list?  If so, consider if you need a dedicated room to shut the door at the end of the day or whether a wee nook in the hall or lounge would work just as well– this way you’ll avoid wasting time viewing flats that are too tiny or houses that are way too big. It’s always good to search for homes by the number of bedrooms, that way you’ll see everything that could fit the bill.

Also, consider access to the property.  If you’re considering a flat, does it have stairs or a lift?  What about a private or shared entrance?

Outside space

If you like spending time outdoors, this can be a deal breaker when deciding between a house and a flat.

But think practical and do remember the great British weather and what you’ll use it for. If you have a wish list a mile long, this might be something that you could compromise on. Some flats feature a communal garden area which is great for making new friends and could be just what you need. More new builds offer balconies often with stunning views of our city which, with a bit of time spent on Pinterest, can be transformed into a cracking oasis.  But if you can’t stand sunbathing next to Chatty Cathy or have pets that you want to let free to roam the garden then a flat probably isn’t for you.

Houses nearly always come with outside space where you can hang out your undies to dry without embarrassment.

Noise levels

Living in a flat can sometimes be noisier than living in a house, with neighbours upstairs, downstairs or on both sides. Although many neighbours living in flats are totally considerate of everyone else and complaints can be rare, if you yourself love nothing more than cranking up GBX on a Friday night then think about whether you are the best neighbour for them.

There’s a lot of coming and going in a block of flats as well, so remember noise can travel throughout the halls and stairways too. Although, if you live on your own, these little noises can sometimes be more comforting than a nuisance.

This isn’t to say that you can’t get the odd noisy neighbour when living in a house, especially in terraced or semi-detached properties. But if you’re all about the quiet life then make sure when you go for viewings that you visit at different times of the day to determine noise levels on all occasions. Consider who else you live with too; do you have a nervous pet or small child that would prefer to be in a quieter residential area than a busy city centre location?


Lifestyle choices

If you’re a fan of restaurants, bars, theatres, cinemas and shops, a flat in the fast-beating heart of the city will be right up your street. Not having to endure a long commute to your day job could be a bonus too.

But if you love the countryside or the quieter suburbs, with their tranquillity and slower pace of life, chances are a house further out of town will be the top choice. You’ll also benefit from the potential for off-road parking or a garage – an added extra a lot of flats can’t offer. Commuting from the suburbs doesn’t always have to be an issue, as many areas have train stations or bus routes that can be pretty handy and allow you to catch up on your favourite book or podcast in the mornings.

Enjoying the perks of being in the city centre doesn’t mean you need to be smack bang in the middle, many suburbs like Giffnock in the Southside or Bearsden in North Glasgow now offer lots of local bars and cafes to keep you entertained.

Long-term plans

Future plans should also be part of your flat versus house decision making.

If you’re planning to have kids a house has potential for creating more space, like extensions or loft conversions for more bedrooms, and could add value to your property. Although, if you’re looking for an interiors project, buying an older tenement flat and doing it up can pay off in the long run and set you up financially for a future purchase or even as a letting opportunity.

If you’re looking to retire or downsize, a flat would perfectly match your needs – though bear in mind which floor you choose, as those flights of stairs could be challenging in the years ahead or make sure look out for a lift.

Whether you go for a flat or a house, don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to choosing, search s1homes, Scotland’s home for homes, to find your ideal property.

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