Single-Family Home vs. Apartment: Which is Better For You?

Rentals of all types have their charms, but there are certain things you really need to know before renting an apartment vs. a house.

Is it better to rent a house or an apartment?

The truth is that the decision of house vs. apartment really depends on individual preferences and factors. What works for you might not be ideal for someone else and vice versa.

Fear not, however, because we've got you covered! Keep reading for more information on each rental option, so that you can make a confident, informed choice.

clean responsibilities

1. Responsibility

Though apartments come in all different sizes, a single-family home generally has more living space than an apartment. This is great if you want to have friends or family over more often, or just long for some extra breathing room from your roomies.

The flip side, however, is that more living space means more square footage for you (and ideally, your roommates) to clean and maintain. Depending on the lease parameters, this can even include yard work. Make sure you're up for this added responsibility before taking it on.

2. Cost

Another factor in the house vs. apartment decision are associated costs. Utilities, such as electricity and water, tend to be higher in a house, compared with an apartment. Rent is also generally higher because you're getting a bigger plot of land and more square footage to enjoy for your money.

If you'll be renting with several people, a single-family home might make good sense. However, if you're renting alone or with just one other person, you should double-check your budget to make sure that you can handle the cost of renting the extra space.

person in pool

3. Varied amenities

One of the perks of living in an apartment community is the amenities offered to residents. Apartment complexes frequently have fitness areas, swimming pools, on-site laundry services and other amenities.

Single-family home rentals typically don't offer these same amenities. If you think you'd miss the offerings of an apartment complex, you likely won't be satisfied with a single-family home.

4. Parking

This is one area that sets houses apart from apartments, particularly in busy metropolitan areas. Single-family homes often have at least a driveway and maybe even an enclosed garage, convenient for stowing a vehicle or two.

Not to mention, of course, the fact that visitors can usually park along the street in front of the house. By comparison, apartment complexes sometimes don't even offer a parking space, much less front-door parking.

5. Privacy

One factor that might have you leaning more towards renting a house vs. an apartment is privacy. The Urban Land Institute surveyed millennials asking why they chose to rent a single-family home as opposed to an apartment. Privacy was the most common response.

Apartment complexes have multiple residents living on one lot, meaning that apartment dwellers often share walls and common spaces with their neighbors. This isn't too bad if you have quiet, respectful neighbors, but can turn sour in a hurry if they enjoy the frequent middle of the night jam session or like to party a little too hard.

If you're concerned about privacy or are especially picky about sharing your space with strangers, you should avoid renting an apartment and seek out a single-family home if you can afford it.

city center

6. Location, location, location

One difference between a single-family home and an apartment is the location in which they tend to be available. There are exceptions, but generally speaking, apartments are located in more urban areas and single-family homes tend to be found in suburbia, at the very least in the outlying areas of the typical city.

Even if the neighborhood is not fully walkable, it's more likely that an apartment complex would at least be located within walking distance of public transportation options. This can be a huge perk for younger people without the means to commute from the suburbs into their city. Apartments are also usually situated closer to nightlife than single-family homes, so they're more convenient for people who want easy access to a good time.

7. Landlords

You should think about your future before committing to a rental. But have you ever thought about your landlord's future plans? It's especially important when renting a single-family home because property owners can sell their homes at any point in time, even when there are renters already in place.

It won't hurt to simply ask your landlord if they intend to sell in the near future. Open and honest communication between a tenant and a landlord is key to a happy and long-lasting rental relationship.

It's also worth noting that apartment communities have solid plans in place for maintenance requests, so they're typically handled quickly and with little involvement from you. By comparison, landlords of houses usually have other jobs, so it can take longer to reach them and have an issue resolved.

single family house

Pros and cons of renting a single-family home

Here are some factors to consider for renting a single-family home:

Pros

  • Extra space
  • Plenty of parking
  • Privacy
  • Quieter

Cons

  • More to clean and maintain
  • Potential for yard work
  • More expensive (higher rent and utilities)
  • Not as close to the city and nightlife
  • Fewer amenities, if any
  • Less accessible landlord

apartment

Pros and cons of renting an apartment

Here are some factors to consider for renting an apartment:

Pros

  • Easier to clean and maintain
  • Amenities, such as a pool, laundry room and fitness center
  • Less expensive
  • Often conveniently located
  • Easier maintenance request process

Cons

  • Less parking
  • Less privacy from noisy neighbors
  • Less space

Win-win situation

Whatever you choose in the battle of apartment vs. house to rent, odds are that it's going to be a fun and unique experience because each option carries its own distinct perks.

This article fits under the following categories:

Alia HoytA freelance writer based out of the Atlanta area, Alia has penned articles during her decade+ career for such sites as HowStuffWorks, TLC, Animal Planet, Zillow and many more. Her favorite things to write about include fitness, nutrition, travel, healthcare and general lifestyle topics. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Alia’s an avid Dawg, but she also loves reading, sewing, eating all things chocolate and playing sports with her husband, three boys and beloved border collie, Flash.

Recent Articles

We combed through all of the apartments in Charlotte to find the very best.

Renting a room instead of an apartment is often a great idea.