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Whether you are a first-time home buyer or you are looking to relocate to your fifth home, deciding what kind of home you want can be challenging.

There are advantages and disadvantages to renting or buying a house or apartment. How does someone know which one is right for them?

Richard Barnett, broker at RE/MAX Main Street in Bexley, and Sharon Friedman, broker associate at Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices in Moreland Hills, said a lot of it boils down to personal preference.

“We’re fortunate in Cleveland, Ohio, that we have a lot of options, unlike New York, where some people are forced to be in an apartment with large families,” Friedman said. “So it just really depends on their personal situation and choices.”

One big advantage families have in a house, according to Barnett, is the ability to get creative with how they use the space inside and outside of the house.

“You’re getting more square footage and potential flexibility in your home for your family,” Barnett said. “You’re getting more diversity in a single-family home for your family’s needs.

You may have a basement, an attic, spaces that can be used compared to a rental unit ... if your family is mobile and you need more space, you would typically go towards a single-family rental or purchase. Apartments don’t typically offer you the space that a single-family would. Plus, it also doesn’t give you the exterior space that you typically require.”

The average square footage of a house in Cleveland is 1,396 square feet, while the average apartment is only 804 square feet.

Friedman also mentioned how important extra space could be, especially for a family.

“With a home, you typically have more space than an apartment,” Friedman said. “More storage if that’s important to somebody. A lot of homes in our market area have basements. So they could turn it into storage as well as a possible finished area for a little playroom for kids.

“... Depending on how far you are from your neighbors, you’re not attached, typically. But you would be attached to your neighbors in an apartment or certain condominiums.”

Aside from the extra space that a house provides for families, Barnett also said low finance rates are another great reason to opt for a house rather than an apartment. Because of a combination of things, rates are at their lowest in years.

According to NerdWallet.com, the mortgage interest rate for a 15-year mortgage was 2.36% as of Feb. 8. Those rates are about half of what they were in Nov.ember 2018, when they peaked at 4.60%.

“There’s actually a very large advantage towards buying a home these days,” Barnett said. “The first is that finance rates are at the lowest they’ve ever been. The second thing is that with interest rates so low, the cost of the house gets closer and closer to what it would be in a rental unit. So your monthly payments are getting more in line with each other.”

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