You are finally leaving your parents’ home for the first time. You have enough income to support yourself. Now you have to decide where you want to live and what type of housing you are interested in. Get ready. There are so many choices that you might have trouble figuring out exactly what you want to do.
Provided you can afford all of the middle-class options in your local area, great. You’ll have plenty of choices to work with. The following discussion on the different types of housing is provided, in part, by CityHome Collective, a Salt Lake City, UT real estate brokerage and design.
1. Apartment (multi-family dwelling)
A fair number of people start by renting an apartment in a multi-family dwelling. Think of an apartment building with four or more units, here.
The main benefit of renting this sort of apartment is that all of your maintenance and repairs are handled for you. If something goes wrong, you just call the office. Rent often includes your utilities and garbage disposal as well. You are more or less getting an all-inclusive deal.
2. Apartment (converted house)
You could also rent an apartment in a converted house. Generally speaking, such houses are older houses located in urban environments. They were homes built by wealthy landowners when the city was established. They have since been subdivided into individual units. You generally get all the same types of amenities as you would in a multi-family building, but rents tend to be higher per square foot.
3. Rented House
If you need more space than an apartment affords, consider renting a house. You get all the benefits of living in a single-family home without the financial responsibility of a mortgage, taxes, and insurance. But be careful. It is typical for landlords to require their tenants to handle routine maintenance. This includes basics like cutting the grass and shoveling the snow.
4. Rented Duplex
A duplex is essentially a single home divided into two identical living spaces. A duplex can be divided horizontally – one unit upstairs and the other downstairs – or vertically, where both have two floors. Renting a duplex generally means lower rent compared to an entire house. However, problems with your neighbors are not unusual in duplex arrangements.
5. Buying a Home
Buying a home has long been considered the American dream. Interestingly enough, home ownership was a lot less common prior to World War II. It wasn’t until the postwar era that tract housing was cheap enough for the average American to afford.
The upsides with buying are numerous. You have full control over your property. You get a tangible asset that could improve your long-term financial situation. You also get enough space for a growing family. On the other hand, home ownership comes with a lot of responsibility. You bear all the financial obligations yourself. You are also responsible for all the physical labor required to maintain your property.
6. Buying a Condo
Last but not least, you can buy a condominium. Known as a ‘condo’ for short, a condominium is essentially an apartment that you own. The entire building and the property on which it sits is collectively owned by the homeowner’s association (HOA). You own the space within the walls of your condo.
Condos can be expensive. You also have the same financial obligations as if you owned a single-family home. Then there are potential HOA conflicts to consider. Needless to say, condo ownership is not for everyone.
You have lots of options for housing. Choose wisely because housing is probably the single largest expenditure you will ever encounter.