When considering your next home, it might benefit you to take additional time to consider all of your housing options before making your final choice. Even if you have traditionally opted for a single-family home, an apartment or condominium may make the most sense depending upon your situation. Keep in mind the four following factors as you make your decision.
Location, Location, Location
One of the initial things to keep in mind is where you are going to be stationed and whether or not a solely residential neighborhood with single-family homes best serves your needs. Home options like apartments, townhouses, or condos can be a very viable option depending upon where you will be living.
For example, will you be inside a metropolitan area that offers public transit? Near a beach community where you’d love to take advantage of proximity to the ocean during your downtime? Perhaps you will be living near an area with a historic downtown that’s walkable to restaurants and nightlife. Not every housing situation has to be the same at every duty assignment. Many areas like these tend to have a greater variety of options beyond a traditional house. Take advantage of a unique location and embrace something different.
Stage of Life
In addition to your location, it is vital to keep in mind your current stage of life. Perhaps if you are a parent of many small children, the thought of lugging kids, car seats, and large grocery hauls up multiple flights of steps every day at a second or third-floor apartment doesn’t sound ideal. However, if you are in a situation where you live alone, with a roommate, or just your spouse, a trendy loft apartment with a rooftop area for residents to entertain might serve your needs. Also, will you require a large number of bedrooms, a gourmet kitchen, or a two-car garage that would be more accessible in a single-family home?
For most military families it is prudent to take into account the operational tempo of the service member’s job at each assignment and assess how this factors into his or her availability to tackle home improvement projects, repairs or renovations, and extensive lawn care and maintenance during your time on station. Will the service member deploy? How does home type factor into your level of safety or preferences for privacy? Knowing your answers to these questions might be the directional arrows you need to point you toward a single-family home, an apartment, or a condo.
Costs to Consider
Finally, it is important to consider the various costs associated with each type of housing choice. Obviously, the rent price or mortgage price isn’t the only number to track. What will various utilities cost based on the type of home or square footage you are seeking? For some rentals, certain utilities may be covered or included in the price of rent. Will there be significant repair costs or will those be covered by a landlord? What about updates to the property? Again, will those come out of (your) pocket or covered by a landlord or property management company. Does the neighborhood or community require HomeOwners Association (HOA) fees annually?
Whether you choose an apartment, a condominium, a townhouse, or a single-family home, each has its benefits and drawbacks depending on your preferences. By understanding components like location, your unique stage of life, and operational tempo, as well as common costs associated with each choice, you’ll be well on your way to making the best decision as well as making a good life for you and your family at your next destination.