Renting a House or an Apartment: Which is Better?

Renting a House or an Apartment: Which is Better?

Cozy house rental living room with cute couch pillow quote

Renters have plenty of decisions to make throughout their moving and rental process. One prominent decision is choosing to rent either a house or an apartment.

There is no right choice, as the decision depends on what you are looking for in your rental. For example, do you want roommates? Or maybe you want luxury amenities. The decision is solely based on personal preference and of course availability in your area.

Many factors can influence this decision, and this article will help you determine which factors matter the most to you. We will also show you how to go about finding a rental in your area.

We hope that by the end of this article, you will know if apartment living or home living is for you and also how to move forward in your rental search process!

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Pros and Cons

As you will see below, the pros and cons of an apartment and a house are basically the opposite. This further shows that the decision is heavily based on personal preference and what you want to prioritize. We highly recommend making a top 3 priority list to help you make your decision.

Home Living Pros

More Space

When you rent a house you will likely have a lot more room and privacy since the floorplans and layouts are much larger than an apartment. Most homes also have a private yard of some form, which also makes the house and property feel a lot bigger. If you have any dogs or value time outdoors, having a private yard might be your priority.

Decorating

In most cases, houses allow for more personalized space. They often have less harsh rules about hanging pictures or changing the lights. Some houses also allow renters to make small renovations as long as it is approved by the landlord. 

Neighborhood

Houses are often located in a more suburban area, which for some can create a better sense of community. Some of these neighborhoods might also be safer, cleaner, and quieter depending on your location. However, this isn’t always the case, and it’s best to do an in-depth review of the neighborhood you are looking at.

Home Living Cons

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Pricing

In some cases, a house might be more expensive than an apartment mostly due to the difference in size, space, and privacy. You will also likely have to pay the utility bills directly to their utility company, which can be pricey for a big house. 

Maintenance

Depending on your landlord, you might be responsible for regular maintenance, such as small structural repairs, lawn work, or even plumbing. If you are renting an old house, these expenses are much more common and do add up.

Availability

Houses are often harder to find on the market than apartments because there are fewer of them available for rent. This can make the search for the right house much harder. You will likely have to wait some time to find the right option and you will need to have both hope and patience throughout the whole process.

Apartment Living Pros

Pricing

Most of the time, apartments are much cheaper in rent costs due to the lack of space and privacy. They often don’t have private lawns and if you have roommates the common areas will be shared. If you won’t be home often and are looking to save money, this might be the better option for you. 

Maintenance

Most apartments offer general maintenance and have a hired team readily available. This includes things like trash disposal, plumbing, electrical problems, etc. This can be helpful if you don’t want to deal with fixing small repairs yourself or calling and hiring your own help.

Amenities

Some apartments are located in a complex and these complexes often have shared amenities for the community. For example, you might have a pool, grilling area, laundry room, office space, entertainment room, and other communal areas. 

Location

If you are looking to live somewhere that you can easily walk to wherever you need to go, then you will probably want an apartment. Most apartments are located in more urban areas and are often close to public transportation, schools, convenience stores, etc. 

Apartment Living Cons

Less Space

In an apartment, you will have a much smaller layout and much less privacy. You will have lots of neighbors, some of whom you will share walls with. Sometimes these walls are thin. You might also live in a busy urban area, which will result in noise as well. 

Decorating

Apartments are often strict about what kind of changes you are allowed to make to the apartment. Some landlords also take a large security deposit and will likely try to keep some of that money after moveout if you end up nailing anything to the walls and leaving holes. 

Parking

Some apartments have limited parking available, especially if you are in the city center. If there is parking available, it will likely be an extra monthly fee that you will have to pay. It is also often street parking or in an unprotected lot, which leaves the risk of a break-in. 

Graphic comparing the characteristics of home rentals versus apartment rentals

Differences in Cost

Pricing can vary significantly between renting an apartment or a house. The price will vary depending on things like location, size, amenities, utilities, maintenance, roommates, and supply and demand. Let’s go over each of these factors so that you can decide what you are prioritizing and if you are willing to pay more for it. 

Location

Popular and convenient locations like cities are often pricey in terms of rent. This is because they offer the comfort of being near almost everything you need.

For example, living in the city might allow you to walk or take the train to work which is important if you don’t have your own car. For these reasons, apartments located in or near the city are usually more expensive than houses in suburban areas. 

Size

In general, apartments are smaller than houses because renting a home usually means more bedrooms and bathrooms.

Additionally, you will likely have a full-size kitchen and living room. Some even have private yards. Overall, homes offer much more room to live which can drive the price up.

Amenities

A lot of apartments come with amenities that can save you money in the long run. For example, if your apartment has a gym you won’t have to buy a gym membership elsewhere.

However, if these amenities are considered “luxury” you might end up paying a higher price. Apartments with pools are often more expensive than those without one. 

Utilities

In a house, you will likely pay your utility bill directly to the energy company, which can end up being expensive if the house is a larger size.

In apartments, you will likely have heating and cooling included in your rent price. This can end up saving you a lot of money if you live in a place with extreme weather. 

Maintenance

Most apartments will take care of small repairs and other maintenance requests for their tenants.

This does save you some money, but more importantly, saves you the hassle of handling these problems by yourself. If you are a super busy person this might be a priority for you. 

Roommates

The price you pay will differ whether or not you are sharing the place with other people. This goes for both houses and apartments.

If you want to pay less for a bigger and nicer apartment, you need to be willing to have roommates. If you are open to having roommates you can save a huge chunk of change.

Supply and Demand

Your price will depend on the popularity of the location you are looking to live in. Some cities are more popular than others, which allows landlords to charge much higher costs.

Some house rentals might also be expensive if the property value in that area is high. 

Finding Rentals Near Me

Houses for Rent

Online Platforms

There are many websites you can use to find houses for rent, such as Zillow, Trulia, HotPads, Redfin, and more.

These websites are easy to work with because they allow you to filter your preferences and priorities. You can set the exact location, the price range, the number of bedrooms or bathrooms, and also amenities. 

Real Estate Agent

If you know of a local realtor that you trust, it will save you a lot of effort in the search process. You tell them exactly what you are looking for and they do the searching for you.

This can be super beneficial if you don’t have time to go out searching for yourself. 

Driving Around

If you have free time, driving around your desired neighborhood can be a great way to find the perfect house for rent. Remember, not all houses for rent are listed online.

Facebook

You will want to do a good job vetting the person renting to you, but Facebook can be a great resource for finding a house for rent that is on the cheaper side.

You might be able to find a year-long sublease in a super nice house if you look hard enough!

Newspapers

Go old school and check out the rental listings in your local newspaper!

These are verified rentals so you don’t have to worry about being scammed. 

Apartment for Rent

Online Platforms

Just like for houses, there are many websites to find apartments for rent.

You can also filter your preferences and priorities on these websites too. Some popular ones are Apartment Finder, Rent.com, RentCafe, and Apartments.com.

Local Property Management Company

Search for the local property managers in your area and check out their website.

They will have available units there, but you can also reach out to them directly and tell them exactly what you are looking for. If they have anything meeting your description, you might be in luck!

Facebook

If you’re a student looking for an apartment near campus, consider joining groups on Facebook for your college and grade.

These will have people looking for roommates, subleases, and also people your age who are looking for somewhere to live. Introduce yourself and see who and what comes your way!

Conclusion

Your decision to rent an apartment or a home is based heavily on what you are looking for, what you prioritize, and what you can live without.

The best way to make your decision is to figure out these individual preferences first. Those decisions will lead you to the better option for you.

Don’t make a swift decision, think about it, do your research, and consider all factors. Such as, if you have a pet, if you want a walkable neighborhood, if you want extra amenities, if you want roommates, etc.

In general, apartment rentals are cheaper and easier to find. However, with time and patience, you can find a house rental in your price range.

And no matter what decision you make, your place will be your home and you will love it!

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I am a senior at The University of Colorado Boulder, studying public relations and business. I am first generation Irish-American from Boston, MA. I have four years of experience moving myself in and out of different states.

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