Should you Buy an Apartment or a House?
Feb 21, 2022
In recent years there has been an increase in the number of apartments built and put on the market, however buyers aren’t always sure what they should be thinking about when making a decision between bidding on an apartment versus a house. We’ll break down the key differences, drawbacks and benefits of owning an apartment to help you decide if it’s right for you.
An important difference between purchasing an apartment over a house is that you will need to pay yearly management fees to cover maintenance costs on the building. These can be €1,000 - €2,000 or much higher depending on the development. These fees cover costs like:
- Electricity for common areas.
- Elevator repair.
- Public liability insurance.
- Rubbish collection.
How are management fees calculated?
As an apartment owner you will also become a member of the Owners Management Company (OMC) of your development. This organisation is managed and run by apartment owners or representatives and handles the finances and maintenance with regards to the common areas of your apartment development. Fees are determined by a vote by the OMC members at a meeting which generally occurs once per year.
One of the greatest benefits of owning an apartment is that you won’t have a garden to worry about and much of the maintenance effort of the building is taken care of for you by the management company. For example common areas are kept up to standard, a lot of the building security will be out of your hands and you’ll often have development-wide contracts for services like waste disposal.
For larger jobs, like a plumbing issue or roof repairs, you won’t need to spend your time requesting quotes and coordinating with tradespeople.
Apartments are generally built in dense areas close to amenities, transport links and places of work. Opting to purchase an apartment will often give you the ability to live in areas where houses are out of your price range or simply non-existent.
One of the risks when purchasing an apartment is that, because you have the potential for neighbours on all sides, there’s a higher chance you will be irritated from noise pollution.
It’s common for apartments to be rented and if you’re unlucky you can end up adjacent to some disruptive tenants who don’t respond to noise complaints.
There is less storage space to work with in apartments as you won't have areas like attics, garages or sheds to store your possessions. This can be a blessing in disguise as it will encourage you to avoid clutter.
Many apartment developments have security features like 24/7 CCTV or security guards. This level of security offered may not be realistic for you to have in your own house and therefore apartments can be more secure.
With an apartment, you will not be able to extend or make significant modifications to your home to accommodate a growing family. This means you may be forced to move in future if you outgrow your home, regardless of the condition of the housing market. Of course, these space limitations are true of many houses as well.
If you are drawn to the idea of renovating a home then an apartment won’t offer you much of an outlet. You won’t be able to control much of the external look of your home and you will have little room to make structural changes. However you will still be able to leave your own artistic touch on the interior.
An apartment will give you access to a premium location while offering you fewer responsibilities and stresses than house ownership, with the key drawback being a lack of flexibility with your home. Before making a decision, write down what’s really important to you in your next home to see if an apartment fits into that vision.
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