Townhouse vs Apartment: Which Should I Rent

For many people, the question of buying or renting is easy to answer. A trickier question for many people is whether they should rent an apartment or a townhouse. Solutions to that brain teaser require a closer look!

The Townhouse vs. Apartment Debate

Closer look #1: Space in an apartment versus space in a townhouse

This is a really obvious thing to say, but it needs to be said: An 800-square-foot apartment has the same space as an 800-square-foot townhouse.

The different layouts between the two may make it seem as though there’s a big discrepancy. After all, the apartment’s square footage comprises a single level, while the townhouse’s square footage is divided between two floors.

That division is good if you want more separation between the bedrooms and the living room/kitchen areas. Sound doesn’t travel as well when it has to climb a flight of stairs!

But if you prefer ready access to all points of your residence, an apartment makes more sense. Single-story living is especially preferable for people with any mobility concerns, such as knee pain.

Closer look #2: Expense of an apartment versus expense of a townhouse

The square footage might be the same, but there can still be cost discrepancies between an apartment and a townhouse. Here’s why you might end up paying more for a townhouse than you would a similarly sized apartment:

  • Townhouses often come with a small patch of land, while apartments do not
  • Townhouses usually are not as densely arrayed as apartments, compelling landlords to charge more to get a return on their investment
  • Some townhouses may come with association fees, either directly from the HOA or indirectly as part of your rent

A little land and decreased tenant density, though, are two key drivers to selecting a townhouse over an apartment. If such amenities are important to you, you understand and maybe even expect the added expense.

Closer look #3: Privacy afforded by an apartment versus privacy afforded by a townhouse

Any time you share a wall with someone, your privacy (and theirs!) takes a hit. Since both apartments and townhouses have this characteristic, neither can lay claim to the undisputed privacy championship crown.

A closer look brings the matter into perspective:

  • Your townhouse rental may include, or be prepped for, a washer and dryer. Apartment living means a communal laundry room or public laundromat.
  • Fewer residences mean fewer snoopy neighbors around your townhouse … although the number of tenants in your apartment building may cast a “hiding in plain sight” effect on you.
  • Renting an apartment is more utilitarian for most people. It’s a means to an end. Renting a townhouse, with its potential for a small flower bed and grill out back, suggests an inclination toward friendlier neighbor banter.

So, which is better: the apartment or the townhouse? Making that decision may not be as easy as renting vs. buying, but after some careful consideration, you’ll come to the conclusion that is right for you. Whatever you rent, find it on ApartmentSearch and get a $200 reward when you sign your lease!

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