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?

ResNullius Thu 29-Aug-13 08:43:26

I really wouldn't even consider it.
Flats always have people above, below ... or both.
Even if you are trying to be quiet, teenagers can sound like a herd of elephants so there is always the potential for noise complaints.

Let alone the potential to have an actual herd of elephants above you, or a bassoon player, in training, below.

Each to his own, but there are a lot of downsides IMO.

<<admits to bias, as made the opposite move - as soon as pfb could toddle>>

No, I'll move to a flat when they've left home, but I wouldn't move to a flat with older children out of consideration for my neighbours. Teens are noisy (musical instruments, loud TVs) and mine have the tread of an elephant. There are always at least three others in the house at any given time - usually meal time! - and I wouldn't inflict ourselves on a downstairs neighbour.

Exhaustipated Thu 29-Aug-13 08:49:30

We currently choose to live in a flat in an amazing city area rather than move to the suburbs. We do have no upstairs neighbours, a balcony and a communal garden. And enormous park opposite! We do have chats about moving to a house, to get more space, but we couldn't get a house in this area on our budget and I don't want to give up this location-its brilliant for us and the kids- museums, cafes, green space etc. There is always somewhere to go without driving.

I am tempted by a big house with a big garden in the burbs sometimes though. . Our kids are little and I am slightly worried about when they get bigger.

Silverfoxballs Thu 29-Aug-13 08:50:19

Joint maintenance can be a pain in the bum. Having regs such as outside of building must be painted evey ten years or the roof leaks and your all chipping in.

I would consider renting a flat but not buying one.

MmeLindor Thu 29-Aug-13 09:10:17

Yes, in fact we are actively planning on doing this.

Perhaps not until they leave high school, as I wouldn't want them to move school to the area where we would like to have a flat.

We lived in Germany for many years, and flats are much more common and 'acceptable' - I find here there is a bit of snobbery about apartment living. 'Can't they afford to buy a house', was a comment we heard about my PILs living in a flat.

It would have to have at least a balcony, if not a terrace. Although our first flat in Germany had a huge living room window where we could sit in the sun. That would be enough for me.

TooMuchRain Thu 29-Aug-13 11:35:37

I would definitely choose a flat in a central location over a house in suburbia - as long as the flat had a terrace/balcony and was on the top floor.

MrsJohnDeere Thu 29-Aug-13 11:51:55

Never, but a garden is one of the most important things abut a house for me.

Sounds like it might be the right choice for you though.

CharlotteBr0nteSaurus Thu 29-Aug-13 11:58:04

if there was room for a tumble drier, then yes I'd happily live in a flat again. I'd miss line drying though <laundry obsessed>. I wouldn't mine losing the garden otherwise - TBH it's just another room to maintain. And most flats would have some sort of outdoor space, whether a balcony or communal garden.

I am a confirmed city dweller though, and would always prioritise a city location over space, within reason.

Bonsoir Thu 29-Aug-13 12:03:59

I live in a large and elegant city apartment in Paris and I think that there are huge advantages - not least, far less maintenance than in a detached house, and having everything on the doorstep. DC can get around on their own with public transport once they are 11 or so.

Gardens are lovely when the sun shines but a nice park is truly irreplaceable for playing with friends.

MortifiedAdams Thu 29-Aug-13 12:06:40

We live in a flat with a toddler and probably will remain here. Mind, it is ground floor with a yard. Brilliant location - 5mins walk to the park, 15mins walk into the city centre. Great transport links.

A house with a garden and a third bedroom (which wpuld be a boxroom), would be in suburbia which wouldnt fit our lifestyle.

Portofino Thu 29-Aug-13 13:20:06

I get an EA email update everyday as I am searching for the perfect place, near schools, decent terrace, modern fixtures and fittings etc at the right price. There are some lovely places about but usually too pricey. I thought I found a bargain today - big rooms, 2 baths, south facing terrace. But the reason it was so cheap was that it was right near the Brussels ring road, and it was built over a petrol station! Who would live over a petrol station? I'd be terrified of fire/explosion etc

LynetteScavo Thu 29-Aug-13 18:21:41

Bonsoir, I have to disagree about a nice park....where I live the children in our road play in each others gardens. Which means I can stay in my house doing what I like such as surfing the net. It would drive me mad if I had to accompany my DC every time they wanted to play outside. Although I appreciate lots of people who can afford to live in an apartment in Paris can also afford help with their DC.

Of course we don't have great shops/restaurants/museums on our doorstep, and if it were the choice between a house in the suburbs of Paris, or a flat in the center, I would choose a flat in the center.

However, I don't have the choice, because of house prices, and can't afford a flat in a capital city. Thankfully we are only 50 mins from London. I think London is a bit different from Paris, as there are more houses in the center.

I sometimes dream about where I would live if I lived in certain cities in the world, and actually put a lot of thought about whether I would want a view of central park if I lived in NY, or would I rather have a large house i the suburbs. grin

wordfactory Thu 29-Aug-13 18:24:09

We have a lovely park near us in town, but it's not the same.

You can't pop in and out as you feel like it. You can't take your dinner on a plate. And you can't wear your bikini (or I certainly couldn't)...

Bonsoir Thu 29-Aug-13 18:28:24

Lots of bikinis and an awful lot of picnics in our park! Plus jogging for teens and loads if friends for all the family...

wordfactory Thu 29-Aug-13 18:32:39

Bikinis for me are now strictly for a private villa or my garden!!!

I have swapped to a halter neck one piece for any sunbathing involving the general public. It's only fair on them!!!!

BackforGood Thu 29-Aug-13 18:34:35

I wouldn't consider it - especially with teens, but I'd be very hesitant even if I were on my own. It's the noise aspect (both hearing others, and worrying about disturbing others) as well as the lack or your own, private outdoor space.

wordfactory Thu 29-Aug-13 18:37:03

That's it for me. The lack of private outdoor space.

I love a nice walk in the park, and a picnic. But it's all so public. I don't relax in the same way and nor do my kids. In fact when we're in town they don't spend nearly half or even a quarter of their time there that they would in the garden.

For example, they're both in the garden now!

Bonsoir Thu 29-Aug-13 18:38:42

I'm not personally a bikini person but if you are, you can, IYSWIM.

I like the chilled lifestyle in our park. DD's school is in it and the school families hang out there in a big way. Right now everyone is coming back after the summer holidays and it's so great to bump into everyone. More laid back than having to arrange to meet up.

expatinscotland Thu 29-Aug-13 18:40:29

Yes! If it meant the only way to get my older children into a top school, I would.

Bonsoir Thu 29-Aug-13 18:41:19

I'm not personally a bikini person but if you are, you can, IYSWIM.

I like the chilled lifestyle in our park. DD's school is in it and the school families hang out there in a big way. Right now everyone is coming back after the summer holidays and it's so great to bump into everyone. More laid back than having to arrange to meet up.

Bonsoir Thu 29-Aug-13 18:44:03

And there is WiFi in the park...

LynetteScavo Thu 29-Aug-13 18:48:26

WiFi in the park? envy

LynetteScavo Thu 29-Aug-13 18:53:16

I used to live in a lovely large house Victorian town house in the town center, with an incy-wincy garden. (Half of the garden had been taken up by the garage). There was a lovely park in the same road, just a few meters away. We decided to move when I was pregnant with DC2....I found going to the park three times a day a bit much. I always thought house would be perfect for a family with three teenagers.

noisytoys Thu 29-Aug-13 19:03:32

I own a city centre flat it is great. And the joint maintenance costs are ideal. We have just had a bill for £370 for re rendering, painting, new masonry and door number signs and a new front door. There is no way we could afford that if we owned a house and had to pay the whole price.

Bonsoir Thu 29-Aug-13 19:10:34

Personally I like living in a city with teens. They can go out and about on their own and there is loads for them to do. DSS2 has just landed at the airport and making his way home on his own while DD and I are having a quick burger on a terrace...

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