Posted June 17, 2011

When you began your hunt for a new home, you most likely took a moment to decide whether to look for an apartment or a rental house. But what is the real difference between the two? Are there benefits to one that the other doesn't enjoy? Is there a difference in the lease between the two? Let’s take a look and figure out which might be best for you.


Living in an apartment usually means more access to a super, or sometimes the owners themselves. If your electricity cuts out, your plumbing breaks, or the AC goes on the frits, someone will be sure to help you soon. This is definitely a perk if you are not inclined to handyman your way through problems.

Apartments can be cheaper, and generally are. Since units can be made more efficient as spaces attached to a complex, the owners can actually charge less per unit than a home owner can. You might also find that sharing heat with a complex will be much cheaper than heating a single home during the winter.

In an apartment, you are more likely to speak with particular apartment professionals. This is not to say that home owners are not professional, but the likelihood that they will be able to provide everything a tenant might need is much less likely. In an apartment complex, jobs are split between several individuals whom have their own particular area of expertise. For instance, you might have a doorman who can tell you the best way to move in, a super who can tell you how to deal best with the summer hear, and a manager who can best explain the lease.

On the other hand, apartments also mean sharing your space with many other people. If you want privacy, your own yard, or otherwise do not wish to compete with other tenants for things such as laundry, you may want to reconsider moving into an apartment.

Rental Houses

The beauty of rental houses lies in the wide variety of style and size. In a rental home, you generally are afforded more personal space than in an apartment. In addition, you have more general space. This can include a basement, a yard, multiple bedrooms, a foyer, and larger kitchens. So if you like to stretch your arms and enjoy a silent afternoon, you can easily do so in your own home.

If you are a pet owner, you will have much more room in a house for the animal, and more leverage with the landlord. Most apartments do not allow pets, and if they do, they want the pets to be small and quiet. In a rental home, you can have enough space and sound protection to let large dogs and several cats roam free.

Rental homes are generally owned by either a bank, or an individual. If it is an individual, you can actually negotiate with the rent. Apartments tend to have more strict regulations with things such as rental rates, but if someone owns the house you wish to live in, they can change any rules they want. If they like you, you may find your rent becoming more and more flexible.

You have your own space, which does not need to be shared by neighbors. You have your own door, your own basement, laundry, and everything else that you might not want to share with an entire complex.


Whichever you choose, be sure to look at the big picture before signing the lease. If you are confident you can live with neighbors above and below you, share laundry services and parking, apartment life might be right for you. If you want more space for yourself, more flexible terms, or are considering starting a family, a rental home might be waiting for you!


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