Places to Live

There are several factors that you must consider when you are hunting for your next home. While you may know exactly what you want, you have to be practical and consider your needs and budget. Evaluating what makes the most sense when you combine these factors will help you make a smart, thoughtful decision. Although living in a mansion sounds appealing, there are numerous costs associated with the maintenance of such a property. It also requires a lot of time and effort.

However, a family living in a studio apartment is not an ideal situation either. With this in mind, it is important to find the right balance. There are advantages and drawbacks to every type of housing. Knowing what they are can help you figure out what best meets your needs.

When choosing a place to live, you must consider the commute and local amenities. Learn more about various housing options before going house or apartment hunting.

Renting versus Buying

When choosing a place to live, one of the first things shoppers must decide is whether they want to rent or buy a property. This will help them determine what type of property to shop for, as some properties are better investments than others.

Buying a home is a long-term commitment with numerous costs – both upfront and overtime. This includes the down payment, mortgage and property taxes. Depending on your current lifestyle and financial standing, buying a home may be a great investment.

Apartments and condominiums are great rental options if you plan to move frequently. They come with less costs and may better suit your current needs. With a rental property, you are typically only responsible for the cost of rent, damages you caused and, sometimes, rental insurance. As such, if you are not yet financially stable, renting may be the best option for you.

Once you know if you want to rent or buy, you can start evaluating properties.

Condos versus Apartments

Condominiums and apartments may seem like they offer the same benefits. However, there are key differences to note in each type of property. It is important to understand the distinction, as that can affect your lifestyle. Condos and apartments are often located in large building complexes that offer numerous amenities.

This can include the following:

  • Community pools
  • On-site gym
  • Common areas and lounges
  • Washers and dryers
  • Parking

While they have these factors in common, condos often come with additional costs. This is because condominiums often provide better quality housing, as they are owned by individual owners. Owners with only one property to manage are more likely to address any issues quickly as they have personally invested in it.

You will also need to factor in condominium insurance in your budget.  Apartments, on the other hand, typically cost less because property owners standardize them to cut down costs. As such, you can expect less additional fees added on to the cost of rent.

Apartments also have more a more uniform layout and design, as well as appliances. As such, the home may require more frequent maintenance than a condo.

Studio Apartments

Studio apartments are also known as efficiencies and studio flats. They come with limited square footage and amenities to maximize small spaces. Studio apartments have one main room, which serves as both the bedroom and the living room.

This type of housing is ideal for single apartment hunters with a limited budget and a minimalist lifestyle. One of the main benefits of living in an efficiency is saving on housing costs. This not only pertains to the cost of rent, but also utilities and upkeep.

Because there is less square footage to work with, it costs less to heat and cool the home. Electricity usage is also lower in studio apartments.

If you are worried about feeling cramped in the home, there are ways to make the space feel bigger. When hunting for studio apartments, look for spaces with natural light and high ceilings. Finding an efficiency with storage space is also essential to maximize the space.

Manufactured and Mobile Homes

Like condos and apartments, manufactured and mobile home share many attributes. Mobile homes are factory-built homes that can be moved from one location to another. While a manufactured home has the same basic structure, it must meet safety and health standards set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the ‘70s and ‘90s. As such, manufactured homes are simply newer versions of mobile homes.

One of the biggest benefits of manufactured and mobile homes is the ability to take your home on the road. You are not constrained by the laborious process of taking your personal belongings to another city or town. It offers a sense of freedom to those who enjoy adventure and exploration.

Furthermore, this type of housing costs significantly less than traditional homes. This is why it is a great option for families with low incomes. However, it is important to note that there are zoning restrictions that limit when and where you can keep your home.

Buying a Home

Once you know what you are looking for, the first step in the process is creating a realistic budget. When homebuyers think of the costs associated with buying a home, they often think of the sale price only. However, there are numerous costs to consider.

In most cases, homebuyers only pay up to 20 percent of the total cost of a home upfront. This is known as a down payment. The rest is paid in monthly installments to mortgage lenders, with the added cost of interest rates. Additional costs also include:

  • Application fee
  • Property appraisal fee
  • Closing or escrow fee
  • Attorney fee
  • Homeowners’ insurance
  • Property taxes

With this in mind, it is imperative that you conduct a full assessment of your personal finances before making such a big investment. Purchasing a home before you are financially stable can land you in deep debt and ruin your credit score. To protect yourself against this, doing extensive research is key.