House vs flat?(23 Posts)
Sigh I'm in an emotional tug of war, please mn help me decide! Have seen two places that I like-
house 1 is 5 minutes away from the tube in a residential area (hardly any local shops) and on the border of zone 2/3 (not at all posh but probably will be in 10 years?). It's a beautiful house in good condition (needs very little doing). Dc' school will be 2 tube stops and a 10 minute walk away.
Flat 2 is 10 minutes away from the tube in a very nice (posh) area. Lots of local shops and cafes. Dc school is 15 minute walk away. It's a beautiful flat but it overlooks the main road (very busy road). At the moment traffic is audible but I think with triple glazing it won't be. It's on the third floor (no lift, but presumably we can store buggies in the store downstairs). It's in a big mansion block.
The flat is slightly more expensive than the house, but also has more space in sq ft (excl garden of course). There are communal gardens but no private outdoor space. Dc are v young still- will we regret not having a garden and any outdoor space?? Or will we regret not being in a nice part of town with a bit more life to it?!?
House. Every time. Wish someone had told me this 8 yrs ago when I bought my flat (single, childless at the time)
Now stuck in said flat. Limited market to buy. Am now married with a child and another on the way. Would kill to live in a house now.
Flats have their positives (no/low maintenance, no garden to mow etc) but you pay a premium for this. Also, when you try and sell you won't believe the faff you end up in for info to solicitors etc because it's leasehold. You need a house and freehold.
Oh flat is freehold. So that's one less negative about it. It's more the lack of outdoor space and the fact that it overlooks the road that were the obvious negatives for me. And of course we can't extend. I think the house will suit our needs for a long time but part of me really wants dc to be able to walk to school and not have to take public transport!
From what details you've put I'd say the house.
House every time. Even with a share of freehold, you are still involved with other people when it comes to decorating common parts, replacing roof, doing up outside communal spaces. You don't always get the option to put things off for a couple of years while you save up.
To get to school? 18 minutes door to door- 5 minutes to tube, 3 minutes on tube and 10 minutes walk to school. I haven't tried it yet but I can't imagine it'll be too busy with rush hour traffic as its 2 stops and on border of zone 3-2.
Its unlikely that the flat is actually freehold. You would probably be buying part of the freehold to the whole building but the flat will be leasehold. Most mortgage lenders wont lend on freehold flats as the maintenence and setup just doesn't work.
Echo the pp. House. Every time. Its yours, you won't have neighbours above or below you and you'll have your own garden. House. House. House
You already have kids, so you know what the long term is. You should always buy for the long term if you have that option I think.
With the flat, how do the communal bits get paid for/sorted? Drainage problems? Roof leaks? With a house, you know what your responsibilities are. Much easier.
I can see the appeal of the flat, really I can, but you need the house.
I live in a flat (with three children and no ground floor store) - I'd go for convenience and location every time. It is infinitely preferable to be able to walk to school (and means your children will be able to have friends back to play - not many parents are going to be keen on a pick-up a tube journey away), there may be other children in the block whom they can play with in the communal gardens and they will prefer the independence that living close to lots of amenities will give them when they get a bit older and can go out on their own.
It depends what you use it for and how much time you are home. I bought a flat 5 years ago and I hated it when I was a SAHM and we were home all day but now DCs are in school and I'm working full time home isn't much more than a base to sleep in so I'm grateful for the smallness of the flat - less to clean, no worries with maintenance, the managing agents deal with that and no gardening to deal with its great. And it's close to town too so very convenient
As somebody who lives in a flat, with no lift and children, I would say I do not regret choosing this place - mainly due to the central location, everything - corner shop, post office, shopping centre, cafe, cinema, park, school - is minutes away. I can't tell you how much of an improvement this has made to my life! There is nothing worse than dragging poorly children for miles to get a pint of milk/drop the other off at school... (I also quite like how easy it is to clean a flat)
House, every time. Fewer neighbours = less noise and less bother. Being on the third floor might not bother you for the first week or two, but when you're soaked through, sweating like a pig in your winter coat and have 30lb worth of shopping cutting the circulation off to your fingers it really does become unfunny very quickly. Also, busy roads never get less busy/dangerous.
I lived in a flat whilst saving for a house for 10 years. Moved into our lovely forever home two years ago and it would break my heart to have to move back into a flat again, so I might be just a wee bit biased.
Road noise can definitely be almost eliminated by good glazing. The Scandinavian double glazing we have in our flat is brilliant. Problem is that for more than 6 months of the year we want a window open.
You will find that deliveries, contractors, evening/weekend building works etc are all complicated by being in a flat, on the third floor, without a lift. Not to mention when somebody sprains an ankle or worse.
Oh, also, I found keeping the flat cool in summer to be a nightmare because you couldn't get a decent cross-breeze. It all depends on the situation of the flat, though.
Ohhh yy to pp saying deliveries - some companies would charge you an arm and a leg to deliver say a washing machine to a third floor flat with no lift. Others wouldn't deliver at all.
From you post it sounds like you really want the flat, but feel like you should buy the house instead. It sounds like the choice is basically location vs garden. I think you should go with your heart.
With regards to all the negatives about living in a flat (eg. deliveries etc), presumably you've lived in a flat before and know about those things?
I know living in a flat with children probably doesn't seem like the "norm" when you have the option of a house, but if it works best for you then go with that. Also, how much bigger is it than the house? And also, it sounds like you have communal gardens anyway, so your DC will be able to play out there, and may actually have more fun as they'll have friends to play with?
Flat (probably). Minimising travel time is a major major positive. I grew up with no garden, just a communal one 15 mins walk away. It was fine, and a great way to make friends.
I agree with upstairs in that it sounds as though you really want the flat but trying to also consider the house
I would personally go with the house. I've lived in a third floor flat without a lift and while it wasn't bad at the time, we moved out when when DD was 2 days old and I'm very glad we did. You say 'presumably we can store buggies in the store downstairs' but I'd be double checking this as what a pain dragging the pram upstairs/downstairs everytime - we only have one step down from our front door and I can struggle with that if DD
is having a tantrum decided she's not ready to go inside.
Two stops on the tube, without knowing which area you are talking about could possibly be not that far! When I first got to London I couldn't believe that sometimes it was quicker to walk rather than take the tube!
Finally the thing I HATED about our flat was there was no immediate outside space. You don't say if the flat has a balcony but I don't think mansion blocks do so I assume it hasn't? I know summers aren't long here but what a difference even just being able to open the back door for a nice breeze or letting DD outside to play while I cook dinner.
But everyone likes different things for their home and if you've weighed it all up and still chose the flat than you can't go wrong. Good luck!
Thanks for all your responses. You've given me a lot to think about! I think I would love to stay somewhere more central and I'm trying to hold on to my youth by wanting the flat, but perhaps it is time to move on and accept that I'm no longer a carefree childless person! The traffic noise will be an issue with the windows open, and that is ping to be a complete pain in the summer.. Also I hadn't thought about deliveries- I suspect I'll regret it when I have to lug giga packs of nappies up 3 flights of stairs! So I think we'll go for house...the locations of the flat vs house was west hampstead vs dollis hill by the way. And I so desperately want to stay in west hampstead- but the reality is that we wouldn't be able to afford nicer properties here
Oh I loved West Hampstead - is that brilliant Italian with the basement still there? I would still go for the house, but I live in a Scottish village with a 3-minute walk to school.
Hey - can you tell me what decision you made in the end?! I'm in a similar boat... x
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