Living in Apartments vs. Houses

in Property & Architecture

Renters with higher incomes have the ability to rent houses instead of apartments. While houses carry with them a certain cachet, they may not be the best choice for everyone. However, they can be wonderful for people who know what is required to take care of a house. If you’ve gotten to the financial point where you can afford either a luxury apartment or a house, it’s time to take a look at what you really want your home to be like.

Property Care

Your house would likely have a yard and accompanying features like a fence — and you’d be able to access the entire outside of the house. You’d need to know if the landlord or management company expected you to take care of mowing the lawn and pruning shrubs, as well as maintaining the fence and exterior features like the outsides of the windows. This is very different from living in an apartment where you have no yard care to worry about and no exterior maintenance to do yourself.

If you are not prepared to care for the external parts of the property, you could continue your search for a house whose owner would have maintenance crews coming by regularly to handle the work. That would decrease the number of suitable properties for you, however, and you might have better luck living in luxury apartments in Alameda instead.

Manager Access

When you rent a house, you’re on your own. There would be a manager associated with the rental company, of course, but you wouldn’t have the convenience of on-site management or maintenance if there were a problem — you’d have to notify the manager and then wait for someone to come out to help you. With an apartment community, particularly a luxury community, you’ll have on-site management who can handle issues that arise without delay.

Neighbor Numbers

You’re going to have neighbors in either housing situation. However, in an apartment community, you’ll likely have quite a few neighbors who are all living with the same lease terms and community policies. If you have a dispute, the management can enforce community policies as needed.

In a house, you’ll have fewer neighbors, but the ones you have won’t necessarily be renting their houses from the same company. Settling disputes may be more difficult if you find you can’t establish good relations with those neighbors. And those neighbors may actually have such different terms to follow (if they’re renters and not owners) that there could be a clash.

If you’re interested in renting a house, you may want to look in neighborhoods governed by an HOA because the HOA’s overall policies will apply to everyone in the area.

Noise Issues

Modern open plan apartment

Something that is the bane of every renter is noise — others and theirs. This does not mean that you’ll definitely encounter them; for example, in places like Fourth Street East: luxury apartments for rent, Oakland CA renters can have excellent noise insulation, while a house might not. Houses can seem quieter at first because they have no adjoining walls, but that’s not a guarantee you won’t hear your neighbors.

And don’t forget your own noise. Living in a house does not mean you can be as loud as you want, and in cheaper houses, you may have to really watch the noise. Again, this is where luxury apartments could be better because you should have good sound insulation. HOA-run houses can also be very quiet.

The ultimate decision is personal and is different for everyone. Consider what services you want and what level of independence you want, and you’ll reach a reasonable solution.

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