A dishwasher and a dog – do you really need a house or can an apartment or townhouse do the job?

I have a lot of friends who would like to own a house someday.

A ‘real’ house… with a white picket fence and a swimming pool which is also in a good location so their kids (once they have them/they grow up) can be booked into a prestigious high school.


A house by the birth of the second child… tell him he’s dreaming!

Given the price of houses, a lot of friends realise they are probably not going to be able to afford a house by the time one or two children have come along. Of course, most of us realise this by our mid twenties. For the mega optimistic types whom everything seems to work out for… sometimes it is only when the couple fall pregnant that they realise that the 5 year plan, might only be a dream (or maybe a 10-15 year plan).


Think about it – WHY do you want a house?

Given that buying a house might be a dream – is it possible that you can get some of the things you really want in a townhouse or apartment instead of a house?

I have talked to a few people about WHY they want to have a house and WHAT they want the house to have, to consider whether a free standing house is required or whether a townhouse or even an apartment might be able to meet some of their wants (and hopefully most or all of their needs).


A few things I think that people want when they want a house are:

A dog, a dishwasher, a white picket fence, a swimming pool, room for two kids and to be able to make noise/get some peace and quiet.


I want a dog

Most people want a house so that they can have a dog or keep pets.

Solving the problem without getting a house?

You usually need a townhouse for a dog (unless it can fit in a handbag). If you are living in an apartment there will often be by-laws that prevent you from owning a dog (and require you to ask for permission if you want to keep anything besides a goldfish). Even with a townhouse, it depends on the by-laws as to whether you can get permission to keep a dog. By-laws are usually posted on a community noticeboard in the complex.

Another solution – get another pet

I love cats as well as dogs – some apartment neighbours once had a cat called Mojo. Again though – check the by-laws of the complex you are living in or wanting to move into to see what they say about animals.

I want a dishwasher

For my mate Ivan – one of his ambitions to show that he has really “made it” in life is to have a dishwasher. He says he doesn’t have many ambitions… but a dishwasher is something that he wants.


Solving the problem without getting a house?

Newer townhouses/apartments or newly renovated touwnhouses/apartments might have a dishwasher. If you buy a townhouse/apartment without a dishwasher it might be possible to add one, however it can be expensive to get the pipes fitted, and will definitely require you to lose storage space in the kitchen. For a lot of people this might not be worth the cost.


I want a white-picket fence (or a fenced off area for the kids to play)

This is probably the original suburban dream. Let the kids run free on the grass out the front (or back) while you have a cuppa and watch.


Solving the problem without getting a house?

Townhouses sometimes have a fenced off area that could be a play area. A rare apartment might have an area where the kids can play – but probably not where you can let them run loose.

So an apartment probably won’t solve the problem here.


I want a swimming pool

A lot of people want a pool – probably until they realise all the work that goes with it. Also I think a swimming pool is like a boat – you dream of having one but when you finally get it, it doesn’t get used nearly as much as you thought it would.

Solving the problem without getting a house?

Although there are townhouse and apartment complexes with swimming pools, this is probably one where you need a house if you want a private swimming pool.

Oh well… hopefully you have a local pool in the area or can travel to the beach if you want to.


I want enough room for 2 children

This is one of the biggest reasons for a house – room for more than one child. Once you have a toddler and a baby on the way, you might realise that the 2 bedroom apartment isn’t really going to cut it anymore (unless you start making partitions so the unit could later be rented to overseas students!). And even if you can handle two children in a small apartment – maybe your neighbours can’t.

Solving the problem without getting a house?

Getting a townhouse or a larger apartment (hopefully with good acoustics) could solve the problem for now.


I want to be able to make noise/ I want peace and quiet

It works both ways – if you can hear your neighbours getting up early, then you probably annoy them staying up late (of course, if you are throwing loud parties then you are probably a lot noisier than them!).

Solving the problem without getting a house?

It really depends on the apartment building, but to have a massive party I think you need a house. So for apartment dwellers, unless you meet your friends at the local, you might have to stick with having friends around for a quiet dinner and a (very) quiet drink.


How much do you need a house?

As you can see there are a few things that only a real house can offer – but there is the possibility that you can have (most) of your dreams in a townhouse or apartment, if you are prepared to spend the time looking for the right one (and saving of course).


Are there other reasons why you want a house that I have missed? Let me know below.

Posted in Goals & Personal Development, Life, Property

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