- how large an apartment to rent
When discussing apartment size in America (or size of any other type of lodging), keep in mind the following classification for dwelling units.
A single-family house is free-standing on all sides (i.e. doesn't share a common wall with any other house). It usually ranges from 3000 sft to 6000 sft, though smaller and larger sizes are available too. Single family homes represents the pinnacle of home ownership in the US.
A townhome or townhouse shares at least one common wall with another townhouse. It is usually 2 or 3 stories tall and ranges from 1000 sft to 3000 sft.
An apartment is a unit in a building (the equivalent of a 'flat' in Europe) and doesn't include land ownership. Apartments typically range from 500 sft to 2000 sft. Condominiums ('condos') and co-operatives ('co-ops') are all types of apartments, depending on how ownership is arranged.
Single family homes are the most spacious, and are therefore more prevalent in the suburbs. Apartments are all you'll find in the inner cities. Townhomes are liberally sprinkled across both city outskirts and the suburbs.
When moving to America, you'll have to decide whether to rent a single-family house, a townhome or an apartment, and what square footage or apartment size to opt for. Here is some guidance from our readers:
- If you’re single or just a couple, do not compromise on location, since apartment area is not so important at that stage. Try to live as close to downtown as possible, even if it means going in for a smaller apartment. This will reduce your commute time and increase your quality of life considerably.
- If you are expecting kids in the near future, go for a townhome. It will give you more space, and yet be affordable, compared to a single family home.
- If you have school-going children, go for a good school district and for a single family home. The yard in the front and back will be great for your kids.
- If you expect frequent overnight or extended-stay visitors (such as your parents), ensure you rent a place with at least 3 bedrooms.
- A single-family house is the most spacious but demands the most maintenance. You'll have to mow the grass every weekend, for instance. Choose an apartment or a townhome, if you don't have the time or inclination for such chores.
- Remember - the bigger the house, the higher the utility bills.
- Choose a house near a shopping center if your spouse doesn’t drive or if you only have 1 car
- Choose a house near a bus stop or metro station if you need to commute daily to the downtown area of a city.
- If you really want a big house, go for one – don’t worry about location! Go to the suburbs if necessary.
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