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?

redandblacks Tue 03-Sep-13 15:01:01

It depends on how uptight and self-conscious you are. I could never lie down and truly relax in a London Park even though many people do. I occasionally nod off in my back garden and (other than neighbours) would not really want to be seen like that in public.

cestlavielife Mon 02-Sep-13 23:41:33

Flat with garden or patio in central location . they do exist.
Love mine (sadly it s not mine tho and to buy I will end up with some place prob a flat but outside space for a table chairs and BBQ is a must )

Bonsoir Mon 02-Sep-13 07:29:06

My local park is maintained to standards to which I could never dream of maintaining my own garden.

I always lived in houses with large gardens when growing up. I rarely went in the garden beyond my early childhood. You can't do much in most private gardens - there is so much more space for playing in a public park.

RCheshire Sun 01-Sep-13 10:44:24

Would depend on the house and the flat. Detached spacious house with good public travel links into town/city vs cramped apt with four adjoining neighbours and a teenager with a drum kit = house. Cramped mid terrace with no public transport links or local stuff for teenagers vs spacious apt with one adjoining neighbour = flat...

Fwiw other things being equal my ideal is probably city centre when children <2; countryside between 2 and 11ish, suburbia from then to 14; town/city after that.

Not a very realistic series of homes for most though!

goodasitgets Sun 01-Sep-13 04:41:44

I have an apartment in a small block (4 of us)
Ground floor, private garden and its a new build. The patio doors open onto the garden. It's not huge but plenty of sunbathing room and room for a tableland friends
I never hear upstairs, it's well soundproofed. Occasionally I hear the pipes when they drain the bath but that's it

LolaCrayola Sun 01-Sep-13 04:16:26

Nomorecrumbs, which parks in London have dogshit, needles and rubbish? Have you never left your suburban enclave?

LolaCrayola Sun 01-Sep-13 04:09:20

Reelingintheyears, how dull, surely you want more excitement than your own garden in suburbia. Yawn.
We will definately do this when the kids are older OP, I think having things for teens/young adults to do is far more important.

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 30-Aug-13 21:47:59

MinamalistMommi I comfort myself by thinking that at least it isn't a recent trend for small gardens, as with most new builds: most of the houses here have their original gardens, and they just aren't that big, land being at a premium in London 130 years ago as today.

LynetteScavo Fri 30-Aug-13 18:32:55

I've just remembered the house I grew up in had no proper garden. No grass, anyway. As a teenager I really wanted to sunbathe, but couldn't easily. (Again we lived a few meters from a large, green park, but it's not the same). I was jealous of people who could play in sprinklers in their garden.

My first house was much smaller than the one I grew up in, but had a small garden with a lawn. I felt like I was giving my DC a better childhood than I had, because I was providing a garden.

We now have a large garden. It's a bugger to maintain, as I'm always fighting brambles. You need a damn big garden for cricket though. And golf, so DS2 recently discovered.

nomorecrumbs Fri 30-Aug-13 17:58:37

The answer to London houses/flats without gardens is always "but you can go to lovely X Park!" but who would want to substitute dog crap, needles, rubbish, and random annoying people for the privacy of your own outdoor space?

The house I grew up in had no garden. I have vivid memories of trying to get some sun by hanging out on the window ledge and sitting on the front doorstep, but the latter was really awkward because of all the passers-by (it was a main road) sad I definitely am trying to persuade DP of the necessity of having a garden to call your own.

noddyholder Fri 30-Aug-13 17:54:06

We have but we have a roof terrace

MinimalistMommi Fri 30-Aug-13 17:36:12

That's shocking families

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 30-Aug-13 15:20:04

There's a big difference between having a garden that is big enough to sit outside in and dry the washing, and one that is big enough for the kids to play cricket and football in. Lots of places in Zones 1 and 2 have the former sort of garden; round here (Zone 3) even paying a couple of million ££s doesn't necessarily get the second type of garden.

MinimalistMommi Fri 30-Aug-13 13:14:43

We downsized from large house in suburbs to small cottage in city centre location two minutes from large park and river and it's great for the children. We have a tiny courtyard.

MinimalistMommi Fri 30-Aug-13 13:09:44

Can't you downsize to a smaller house with a courtyard garden, somewhere to dry your washing, sit outside? I couldn't live in a flat. I'm in a terrace of cottages now and you can sometimes hears thing from neighbours even though the walls aren't paper thin so to have noise from potentially above and below as well isn't something I would be comfortable with.

hyperspacebug Fri 30-Aug-13 11:23:14

Even in UK - at least in London and Manchester city centre, houses with garden are unlikely (if Zone 1-2 London, you'd have to be really loaded to have any private garden). And in Manchester you'd have to go through belt of rough areas before you get anywhere that can be called a nice suburb. Birmingham has nice semi-urban options though. No idea bout other cities. Again, depends which city it is!

Bonsoir Fri 30-Aug-13 11:21:01

We have a flat in a mansion block in West London and it's very nice too! And in a great location for all sorts of well-known schools.

BackforGood Fri 30-Aug-13 11:11:55

Yes, but Bonsoir, you live in France. 'Apartment' living is more typical there I understand. Here in the UK, (where I'm presuming the OP is, as most posters who aren't, say so) that is not the case.

hyperspacebug Fri 30-Aug-13 11:06:59

We moved to a flat in the city in Manchester when I was a teenager and I loved the city and being near everything so much. And it was a busy popular suburb (so not just some soulless nondescript full of 1930 houses) we moved away from! We were car-free household and always were though so I guess benefits of city living was glaring to us.

My husband and his brother never really hung out in garden (both were nerdy boys who just didn't do football or something) when they grew up and it took me ages to convince him that we needed a house with garden for two young boys to run around in.

I guess it depends on your children's personalities obviously! Which city are you talking about if not secret?

BobbyGentry Fri 30-Aug-13 09:02:17

I lived in a guarded gated community, with communal landscaped gardens, in a first floor flat with small garden - no complaints, high quality living in the city and safe. Flats are lease hold and not freehold which is the only big downside.

MrsSchadenfreude Fri 30-Aug-13 07:26:39

And house only has tiny outside space.

MrsSchadenfreude Fri 30-Aug-13 07:25:40

flat. Have friends in this block.

house

Both v close to where I live. They're about the same size, but the flat feels a lot more spacious, looking at the photos.

I live in a counicl flat with my dp and my dd(15) we only have 2 neighbours one on each side we live above shops that close at 5 pm we have a large balacony that has room for a picinc table and room to place a double blow bed thing that dd used to sunbathe we have room to hang washing up

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 30-Aug-13 07:14:51

Depends on the flat. I wouldn't live in a large block (unless it was one of those mansion blocks in SW6...), but we live in a ground floor flat that is the bottom half of a large Victorian house, so we have very high ceilings and direct access to a private garden that's as big as any of the houses on the street. Neighbours above us and to one side - not really any different to being in a terrace. We plan on living here pretty much for ever - we couldn't afford to buy similar sized house on this road.

fanjobiscuits Fri 30-Aug-13 07:11:43

I would go for a garden flat, flat with access to a shared garden, or somewhere right near a common

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