Q. Can I seek your opinion on whether it’s more sensible to buy a house or an apartment? I’m a first-time buyer and it seems when I ask around my circle the apartment versus the house camp are equally divided. They have both given me excellent reasons for buying one over the other. Obviously from an investment perspective I want to make the smartest decision can you share some guidance?
A. The house versus the apartment decision is always a tough one, because as you have already realised there are equally good reasons to feel confident in buying either. From a professional’s standpoint and if I were working with you to secure the right property I would firstly ask you to write your wish list of the top ten most important must haves from your property and then prioritise them in order of importance. I think by carrying out such an exercise it will help you gain clarity on what it is you not only want but also need from your prospective new home. I do believe that after making a list it will become more apparent to you as to what would be the right fit for you personally. You see buying a property is a very personal thing, what may be important to you may be irrelevant to another. The obvious difference between a house and an apartment is that houses are Freehold whereas Apartments are Leasehold. If you are looking for the least amount of overheads, then a house would likely be a good choice given there are no service charges or ground rent costs to consider. If, however, security and facilities are an important factor then an apartment albeit with a service charges is going to be a far better fit. Obviously outside space and parking is often a priority which you will find most houses offer by default whereas not all apartments will have both, they may have one or the other or in fact none at all. Once you have your finances in place I would urge you to register with some knowledgeable agents that can help you find what you are looking for. Maybe initially you look at both, but I do believe after making your list you will find yourself leaning more towards one than the other anyway, so you may not need to do this. Lifestyle is a big consideration when securing a property. For instance, if you are travelling frequently for work, a secured development that has 24 hour concierge would be a better fit. Equally you may have a pet so a house with a garden would work better, given leases often prohibit animals. With respect to investment if you consider the location carefully and buy close to transport connections it will be a secure purchase in either case.