A lot of the people I’ve met have a simple answer to this question: if you have or are planning to have kids – buy a house. If you live alone, consider owning a flat. Period. Problem solved. Let’s all go home.

No, seriously! Move around people, there’s nothing to see here, the genius of advice has already spoken!

Ok, all jokes aside, it’s never that simple.

For starters, purchasing a flat is a tremendous investment and, in the very likely chance of you not planning to stay single for the rest of your life, it is worthless as you will have kids eventually.

Secondly, who says that flats are bad for kids? I grew up in a flat and I loved it. Commuting is simpler than in areas with homes, the bonding with the neighborhood kids is tighter and back yards are overrated anyways.

Here is the thing – the choice of owning a flat or a house has nothing to do with children. Those little buggers will be happy anywhere as long as their parents are around.

This choice is entirely about you, about your dreams, goals, and desires.

Let’s have a closer look at both options and, perhaps, my thoughts will help you out with picking the most fitting one. I, for once, sure hope so.

A flat

First of all, what is a flat if not a personalized hub for networking? No, I do not mean that there will be people walking in and out as they please, but you will be living in a building with other people above, below, on the left, and on the right from you.

You will have neighbors. Not the kind you see once a week or welcome to a BBQ every now and then, but the kind that shares the same awkward silence in the elevator with you on a daily basis.

Is it a good thing or a bad? Who knows…

If you live in East London, and blend perfectly with the IT crowd of the hipster-like community, living in a flat may even open new career opportunities. You’ll hit a CEO and founder of a “young and promising” startup if you spit without looking there, not to mention living on the same floor with one.

That noted the ant house-like structure of an apartment building may not tickle everyone’s fancy.

Then there are also the rules. Ugh, don’t you just hate them?

  • First of all, there is a lease for 99.9% of flats in London are leasehold sold.
  • There is also the necessity for paying ground rent as well as the service charges.
  • Finally, there are the rules dictated by the agreement you will have to sign before getting the lease. You might not be allowed to own pets, etc.

On the bright side – you can afford not to care with a flat. Are you paying your bills and following the rules? Great for you. Everything else is not your problem anymore. If there’s a leaking pipe somewhere on the rooftop needs repairing – contact your supervisor and let him do the job for you.

Then there is the price advantage – a flat is simply less expensive than a house.

Finally, you can adapt your home to your lifestyle and not the other way around.

Now that that’s settled, let’s take a look at the other side of the coin.

A house

A house, on the other hand, is a fortress. It is yours and your alone, which is a definite plus to many introverts.

A house is large, it is roomy and cozier as you have more room to experiment with unique designs and mixes of furniture as well as decorations.

Having a pet is never a problem for a lucky house owner. Plus you’ll have the environment for a larger dog like the German shepherd and boy oh boy are those fluffers lovely. I wish I could have one in my flat but there’s simply no room.

On the downside, not only purchasing but also owning a house is more expensive than living in a flat. Remember the leaking roof example? You are on your own here, mate.

Many houses all throughout London are old ergo in bad condition. You will need to handle the repairs on your own and you can bet your last pair of trousers that they’ll drain your bank account faster than my good for nothing ex ever could.

You’ll need to pay attention to the lease when considering a house as well. There are known cases when developers are selling leaseholds that have ground rents tied to inflation. This doesn’t sound too bad when you first consider the deal, but you will end up overpaying thousands of pounds in the long run.

The worst part isn’t even the overspending, but the fact that a lease like that drops the value of your house tremendously. You will be losing money if you’ll ever decide to sell the lease to someone else.

House or flat?

What do we have in the endgame? Two choices with sets of both pros and cons that are capable of changing one’s mind entirely.

In reality, the decision is yours alone to make and you will have to decide what suits you, your lifestyle and your wallet best. Are you a people’s person or do you prefer to hide in comfort behind thick walls? Do you enjoy hanging out with your pet rather than with your neighbor? Would you like to live in the city where life flourishes, or do you prefer the quiet charm of the suburbs?

What will it be?

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By BLOG | 31 Dec 2022 | London Tips & Culture