Which House For Me?

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There are many decisions that you have to make when moving house, from location to budget. The finances surrounding moving, whether you are buying or renting, can seem overwhelming and financial stress is not something to ignore. But the biggest decision you have to make, before you can even start looking, is what sort of house are you looking for?

Do you need a family home? Is this a second house? Have you got restrictions surrounding having a garden, a garage or a certain number of rooms? These are all things that you need to consider for the immediate future, but you should also consider years down the line – if you are looking to buy a house for the long term, is it going to meet you needs years down the line?

You also need to consider the implications of buying a different property than you are used to; the change between a house and a bungalow might not be that great, but between a bungalow and a farmhouse can be huge. Not only do you have the added space within the house – but have the grounds around it too that will need maintaining.

If you opt to buy a farmhouse or a ranch with the land included, you don’t have to farm the land yourself. You can always rent the fields to farmers, or to split the land up and sell it off – although renting or farming it yourself is a better investment in the long run.

Are you going to be looking for a new property or an older one? Both have their benefits; a new build has the most up-to-date materials and appliances and shouldn’t need any work for many years to come. However, new builds tend to be a lot more expensive than an older building. A property that has been around for some years might need some more looking after, but they are full of character and history. Some of the oldest buildings have rich pasts.

Buying a second home also comes with some extra considerations; like who will look after the property when you are not there? You can rent out the property to holiday-goers, or you can look into a house-share, where you buy the property with a second party and split the use. A second home can be a good investment, but if it just sits there, you can lose a lot of money through taxes, insurance and other bills.

If you are considering moving abroad than be aware that the standard size for homes vary in different countries. A town house in America is typically bigger than one for the same price in the UK, this comes down to the materials used, the age of the building and the economy of the country. You will also need to be aware of the different types of buildings common in different countries, like a ksar found in the oasis towns in northern Africa.

Here are some of the more common types of housing within the US with a short overview of what they generally are like.

House

Your basic house is usually two-story with an attic. They can be detached, semi-detached or terraced, and can date as far back as the colonial years. Typically they come with a rear and/or front garden, a driveway and a garage, or some combination of the four. Houses are incredibly common and make great homes for couples, families or single people. You’ll find larger properties out in the suburbs rather than in a city.

Bungalow

A bungalow is classed as a single-story building, although they mostly include an attic. Like a house, they usually come with gardens, drives and garages. Bungalows again are great options for many people but have the added bonus of no stairs for the elderly. A bungalow might be a good option for downsizing your home when retiring. But you can get some sprawling bungalows that are larger than a typical house. Bungalows are quite common in areas that suffer from earthquakes.

Townhouse

A townhouse, or a terraced house, is a row of attached houses. The common difference between referring to the property as a ‘town’ or ‘terraced’ house is due to the size. A townhouse is typically a three-story building. The term came into use during the Victorian era, when both town and terraced were being built on mass with speed. A townhouse is a great family home, and usually has a garden. You have neighbours either side, which will be annoying if they’re loud, but great if you make friends with them as they will be extra eyes on your property while you’re not there.

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Cottage

A cottage is, traditionally, a more European structure although they have been copied over the years throughout Northern America. It is an older building made of stone and, originally, had a thatched roof. Most cottages have been renovated for modern conveniences, including a modern roof. If you find a cottage with a thatched roof, be mindful of the cost of repairs and rethatching in the coming years. But they are great character-filled homes, the beams crossing the ceilings and the picturesque windows are very much like a fairy-tale cottage. Most cottages found in small towns have been joined with their neighbours, meaning that the original two-roomed structure can be a lot larger.

Apartment

Apartments are common throughout towns and cities, but if you are shopping in the heart of a city like New York, don’t expect to find a house nestled amongst the skyscrapers. That said, apartments make great homes, for families and couples. They vary in size, and you can get some two-storey apartments. You do have neighbours above, below and either side, so choose wisely. You won’t get a garden or garage with an apartment, but you may get a balcony that you can fill with flower boxes, and the views you can get within the city can be spectacular. As well as your usual apartment, you can also go for the penthouse suite, which is usually the top floor, and can take up the entire floor. These are obviously more pricey, but the view from the top must be the best.

Condos

In structure a condo is the same as an apartment, it’s just the ownership that changes. An apartment block is often owned by a single entity and rented individually, where a condo has a landlord for that one unit, not the entire block. However, seeing as the landlord is presumably making a living out of renting, an executive condo does have the reputation of being more modern with more investments made into the property.

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Farmhouse

A farmhouse can come with or without a farm, but they tend to be situated in the country, surrounded by fields. If you are looking for a working farm for crops, poultry and smaller livestock, then this is the type of house you’re looking for. And if you just want a nice big building, in the country with a bit of land – this is perfect for you too. There is plenty of space for children and pets to run around.

Ranch

A ranch is like a farm on steroids. These slices of land are huge and are more geared towards large livestock like cattle, bison or horses. The houses are similar to farmhouses, but successful ranches will have been added to extensively over the years. It’s easier to find a not-working farm than a ranch.

No matter what house you choose – make sure it is right for you and your family. Don’t judge a house on first glance, and always check out the neighbours before committing to a property. If you can, visit the property a couple of times, at different points in the day – you’ll want to know if it is in the middle of rush hour traffic, whether it’s easy to access in the dark or if the neighbours are nocturnal.

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