Would you choose a flat over a house if you had older children?

(91 Posts)
Spottybra Wed 28-Aug-13 18:59:29

DH and I are considering leaving the leafy suburbs for something in or nearer a city when the DC are older. Right now where we are suits us. We have parks, woods, boating lakes and all manner of nice things on our doorstep for our young family.

But given the lifestyle we like, sporty activities, days out, museums, dining out, theatre, comedy clubs and a place to come home to, we are wondering if loosing a garden would really be a big loss. We rarely use it and expect to do less in it when the DC are older and have sporting, music and other extra curricular activities.

Is heating a flat cheaper than a house? Do you currently choose to live in a flat over a house? If so, what are the advantages and/or disadvantages?

LynetteScavo Wed 28-Aug-13 19:10:41

I wouldn't give up somewhere to sit outside.

nomorecrumbs Wed 28-Aug-13 19:12:29

I need a garden. I'd freak at having to use a park out in the open every time I wanted to feel the sun on my face!

HotelTangoFoxtrotUniform Wed 28-Aug-13 19:17:39

We are childless and have a city flat and wouldn't change it for the world - although I occasionally have a hankering for stairs. That said, if it were any other flat than this one I would probably be whining about it. We don't have any sideways neighbours and are on the top floor so don't get much noise, which I think would be an issue if we were surrounded by others; we have outdoor space by way of a terrace (a non-negotiable for DH) and we have no maintenance issues as they are dealt with by our management company (we pay about £1800 pa in service charge).

When my nephews come to stay it works quite well - they aren't kept up by noise with us all being on the same floor and they don't complain too much - possibly because of our proximity to central London.

The one thing that bothers me is that we don't have gas so our heating bills aren't cheap, though they are less than when I was heating a house so I guess it's all swings and roundabouts. I miss my gas stove though. I think this is normal for new build flats.

We won't move from here - it's low maintenance, easy and a great location - and the areas finally on the up. Even if we had children I think we would stay here.

primallass Wed 28-Aug-13 19:21:48

No I would never give up having a garden.

I have lived in flats and all types of houses.
Even now with 3 children I'd be happy with a tiny garden (to hang out washing). We use parks & beach more than garden.

When kids are older we definitely plan to move to the heart of a city. I would be happy in a flat or a terrace even though we have detached house now.

I want to be going out like Spottybra, not staying at home cleaning and gardening.

Also in my experience flats have been much cheaper to run. Gardens are costly to maintain. And flats may have lower council tax. But there might be large unexpected bills to maintain the building - that you have no control over.

Spottybra Wed 28-Aug-13 20:16:40

Thanks for the replies.

The only thing I would miss about a garden is a place to eat breakfast in the sun. A terrace would probably do the job perfectly well.

I do hang my washing out. Would need to consider that.

HotelTangoFoxtrotUniform Wed 28-Aug-13 20:34:59

Because we're top floor and not overlooked our roof terrace gets sun all day long - perfect for breakfast, lunch, supper and anything in between. We also hang laundry out there. There are plenty of flats out there with housing type amenities smile

labellover Wed 28-Aug-13 21:14:56

Living in a flat needn't mean no outdoor space - lots of newbuilds have terraces or balconies, and older conversions can have gardens.

We don't have outdoor space and that's fine with teenage DCs. A few flats in this block have terraces (which are overlooked by our windows) - they get used very rarely, either due to poor weather or the residents being out most of the time. It doesn't seem worth the extra premium to me. We have a similar lifestyle to the OP and the proximity to tube, cultural/leisure facilities and amenities makes it worthwhile. I am not really a sun worshipper so have never been the type to sit out in the garden on a hot day, but I'd go out to festivals/spend a day in a big park. It would be nice to have somewhere to hang out the laundry (but in this block close to the City, I suspect they wouldn't approve of me doing that anyway).

We have gas heating/cooking and our bills are very low (£40 a month DD for both elec/gas).

jamaisjedors Wed 28-Aug-13 21:30:47

I would, definitely.

We have a big house and a very big garden and it feels like all the upkeep has taken over our lives.

I think DH would struggle without a garden though...

jamaisjedors Wed 28-Aug-13 21:31:36

In fact, when I got back from 3 weeks holiday recently, I actually cried (the shame!) at all the work there was to do, painting windows, the gate, trimming and pruning and weeding etc.

NoComet Wed 28-Aug-13 21:35:34

Never, I lived in a flat when we first got married. Like other posters I found no out door space really freckled me out.

Also you couldn't walk across our kitchen if leaving early without waking down stairs unless you took off your shoes.

No I like a nice detached house, in the country.

GooseRocks Wed 28-Aug-13 22:52:24

Never. Even pre-children I longed for a house in suburbia. Couldn't go back now. Flats are claustrophobic to me.

FromGirders Wed 28-Aug-13 23:00:08

We've been living in flats since ds (now 10) was six months. We've had a garden both times, but not with immediate access.
I'd always rather have the bigger house space a flat cangive. We went to the park a lot when dc were younger, now they don't need supervision, garden ia no longer relevant.
Suburbia is a soulless desert, especially for children.

GooseRocks Wed 28-Aug-13 23:04:45

Soulless desert? You're looking in the wrong places girders.

FromGirders Wed 28-Aug-13 23:06:11

I lived in a "naice" area as a teenager.
Very little to do, or anywhere to go.

FromGirders Wed 28-Aug-13 23:07:26

Horses for courses I guess.
I like your use if the word claustrophobic - that's how I feel about suburbia. Gives me panic attacks.

GooseRocks Wed 28-Aug-13 23:12:06

I'm proper rural these days. Suburbia the stepping stone. You'd really hate it!wink

Kids love it but they're genetically pre-disposed to be country bumpkins...

Some flats do have communal gardens ( with gardener - how ideal!).

WhataSook Thu 29-Aug-13 08:13:48

We rented a flat when we first got to London and it's the only flat I've lived in that didn't have a balcony...and I hated it! I used to look down at the neighbours in their garden when making our bed and wish it were me outside!

We now have a house with a small garden and I love having outside space (small enough that it's very low maintenance!). I am in two minds though about flats, with a lovely biggish balcony and no neighbours above I could see myself living in one. And I'm pretty certain if I hadn't been pregnant with DD we would have bought a flat not a house as I always thought DH and I were 'flat' people smile

flow4 Thu 29-Aug-13 08:31:03

I have two teenaged boys and have just moved out of a house with no garden, where they lived all their lives. My youngest rarely went out at all, and my eldest hung around on street corners and in other public places - and I didn't much like either...

In a house with no garden, it was sometimes like living with caged animals, especially with my eldest. Already, after less than a month in our new house, I notice that if he gets agitated he goes out into the garden, as if walls are simply too much for him... Previously, he'd storm off 'out' or make holes in the walls.

My youngest has already had camping sleepovers - soooo much better than bedroom ones, from both our points of view - more fun, quieter, less intrusive and safer than 'wild' camping...

If you ask me, gardens are brilliant for teenagers!

We live in a Victorian conversion. It's huge. And we have huge communal gardens too (maintained by a gardener) :-)

And we are stones throw from city centre.

I love it.

We plan on having our first baby here and then putting flat on market so we can move to a house.

Only disadvantage to my flat is three flights of stairs. With a pushchair.

I think you can make either a few flat or a house work. Depends what you want and on the actual flat or house.

Portofino Thu 29-Aug-13 08:41:11

I live in a house in suburbia and we intend to move back into the city where a flat will be all we can afford. My dd is 10 so I want to be closer to decent secondary schools where she can have a bit more independence without long bus journeys. I am really looking forward to living near the metro, friends, shops and restaurants etc. I have to drive everywhere at the mo.

wordfactory Thu 29-Aug-13 08:42:47

We have both [princess emoticon] and spilt our time between the two.

I should say that whilst I love the flat in town with all its access to culture/entertainment/transport, I wouldn't want to do it permenantly, especially with kids. And a dog.

As this Summer has been so georgous, both my teens and their friends have spent an awful lot of time in the garden. It's the best place for all those long uncordinated limbs ! And I love to be able to just step outside, drink my morning cuppa, or my evening glass of wine out there.

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