What type of house should I buy?


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If you’re soon to be or currently looking for your next home, you’ll want to first determine which type of house is right for you.

Whether you’re a first time homebuyer or you consider yourself a house-buying expert, there’s always something exciting about buying a new a property. Depending on who you’ll be living with - friends, your partner, family or even by yourself - you’ll want to make sure the property for sale is the right one for you.

Things to consider when buying a home

Do you have a four-legged friend moving with you? Many leasehold properties, such as flats, do not allow pets, so could you leave your furry friend behind?

Do you need parking? Different properties come with different set ups when it comes to parking – your dream home could come with its own garage, or you could have private parking at your development, or it could just be on-street parking where you need to find a space to park each day.

Access is another thing you may need to consider – does anyone in your household need wheelchair access or use of a lift?

House types – which is right for me?

To help you determine what type of property best suits your needs, we’ve put together a helpful guide on what types of houses you can buy and how to determine which one is right for you.

Bungalows and cottages

Although they aren’t entirely the same, bungalows and cottages are quite similar and typically fit the needs of the same type of home buyer. A bungalow is usually smaller than a cottage, often making them more affordable. Typically, only one-storey bungalows tend to have low roofs and often have porches attached to them.

Ideal for first-time home buyers, a bungalow is great for anyone looking for their own place, or a young family looking to move out of a flat into a more spacious starter home.

Cottages, however, tend to be a bit more spacious than bungalows and may have a higher price tag because of that. Most cottages tend to have at least one and a half storeys, with the top floor being considerably smaller than the ground floor. Although they vary from region to region, many cottages also have pillars to help hold up the structure throughout the property.

Additionally, if you’re a pet owner, a cottage or bungalow might be your ideal choice as many of these structures tend to have decent-sized gardens.

Detached house

Detached homes are single-standing properties which don’t share any walls with any other structure. Although cottages and bungalows are technically detached, they tend to be smaller than a traditional detached home. Usually more private and bigger than cottages or bungalows, detached homes are more expensive when compared to any other type of house, especially if they’re in the city. 

These types of houses are ideal for a larger family looking to settle into a more permanent home or for a shared-home situation with housemates. Detached homes usually offer several more bedrooms and bathrooms than many other house types.

Semi-detached houses

Semi-detached homes are quite similar to detached homes, however instead of one single home being on its own it consists of a pair of houses joined together by a common wall. One side of each house is detached, while the other sides of the homes share a common wall between them.

These types of homes are normally smaller than detached homes but can be slightly bigger than a bungalow or cottage.

But you need to carefully consider that shared wall; if you are concerned about living next to potentially noisy neighbours, a semi-detached home may not be your best option.

Top tip: Try to view the property at a time when the neighbours are likely to be home, that way you can see just how much you can hear between the two walls.

Terraced houses

A terrace is simply a row of homes joined together with shared walls. Typically, these types of homes all look identical since they are in the same long row.  Both sides of each house share common walls with a neighbouring house, with the exception of the end terrace homes – the houses at each end of the terrace.

Since terraced homes have a shared wall on each side they can sometimes be a bit nosier than the other house types listed above. They may also be a bit smaller, but the upside of this is that they are often more affordable. Terraced homes are a great way to live in a city if your budget can’t stretch to a detached or semi-detached home.

End of terrace

End of terrace homes are the houses located at the end of a terrace row which means they only have one shared wall. Although they are typically the same size as the other houses in the row, they’re more appealing since the owners only have one neighbour next to them instead of two.

Because of this, houses at the end of a terrace might come with a higher price tag.

Apartments or flats

There’s no difference between an apartment or flat – they’re just different terms (flat is traditionally British, apartment is an American term). A flat, or apartment, is one home within a larger building that contains other flats.

In the UK, apartments come in all shapes and sizes varying from old Victorian houses converted into flats or purpose-built developments which are home to hundreds of different flats. Most flats occupy a single storey of a building and are generally cheaper to buy than a house.

The advantages of owning a flat or apartment are increased security, no garden or ground maintenance if you’re not very green-fingered and many newer developments come with extra facilities such as a gym or swimming pool.

While apartments or flats are often cheaper to buy than a house, they do come with extra charges that homeowners don’t need to pay – ground rent and service charges. Another potential disadvantage is noisy neighbours – not only could you have them next door, you could have them above and below you. You’ll also have no private garden or outdoor space unless you have a balcony.

When it comes to insurance, you’ll more than likely pay less than a homeowner each month as you only need to have contents insurance – buildings insurance is covered in the service charge. 

Once you’ve decided which property is right for you, the next big step is looking for house, booking viewings with an estate agent and seeing if you can afford the property.

We’ve put together a handy guide on the true costs of buying a home to help you make sure you’ve considered everything when calculating your budget.

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