Apartment or Townhouse: Which to Rent?

If you’re looking for your first (or second) place, the top thing to consider is your budget. It’s absolutely crucial to find something within a comfortable price range that won’t leave you strapped for cash. That said, if you have a little more to spend each month (or have extra roommates to split costs), you may consider renting a townhouse instead of an apartment.

San JoseTownhouses are attached homes, usually with 2-3 floors. Instead of spreading the space out over a large footprint like a traditional house or apartment, townhouses are built tall with multiple, smaller floors and the units are often attached to other townhouses, although each has a private entrance/front door.

As with everything, there are pros and cons of a townhouse versus an apartment.


Depending on your location, apartments are often a bit cheaper because they generally include less square footage. If your budget is tight, skip the townhouses and focus on apartments to keep it affordable. Even if your rent per month is comparable (and affordable), remember that other utility costs (water, electricity, and especially A/C & heat) will cost more per month in a townhouse, as you’ll have more space to light and climate control. If you have roommates to fill the extra space, costs may not be too much higher, but budget for these extras to make sure you can still afford the rental. If not, an apartment is likely the better fit for you.


Generally, townhouses include more square feet, more rooms, and stairs. That may be just what you’re looking for, especially if you have a handful of roommates or a pet. However, if you don’t need the space, it may be overwhelming to decorate and maintain, and extra space takes more time and effort to keep clean. Consider the stairs as well. If you’re not a fan, perhaps staying in an apartment is your best fit. If you like the idea of 2-stories of separate space, keep searching for a townhouses.


Amenities are one of the fun parts of having an apartment, and many apartment complexes include a complimentary gym and/or pool facility. In larger complexes, they also often include walking trails, dog parks, or park areas. If the townhouse you’re eyeing is standalone, in a smaller “neighborhood”, or not part of a complex, you likely won’t get access to amenities. Keep that in mind when you do your search, as you’ll have to pay for a pool or gym membership if you’d use them.


As a renter, most of your maintenance should be covered by your landlord. However, townhouses in suburbs can include grassy yards (fenced or not), so confirm that the front and back yard maintenance is not your responsibility. If it is, you’ll need to invest in lawn equipment (and invest time each week for doing yard work!). Apartments generally have no outdoor maintenance and the complex takes care of everything. Just confirm the maintenance agreement before making your decision!

What other factors are there when deciding between an apartment and a townhouses? There are pros and cons of both…which will you choose?

Related Posts

Author My First Apartment

Posted by

Sarah is a dog lover and advocate for conversation & laughing at your own jokes. Since finishing her college career in communications, she began working (and living) in Atlanta. After living in a few different apartments over the last few years, she's ready to share experiences. Stay tuned for adventures, tips and advice!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments (10)

  1. Avatar Emaar IL Primo

    Hey SARAH! This is very interesting to me because whenever I have no idea about which one best “Townhouses & Apartment” for our family with our budgets. I think this very typical for everyone but after reading this article get some points which help to select easily according to your budget, location, and family.

  2. Avatar Victoria Addington

    I am thinking of purchasing a new place but I’m indecisive about whether to take an apartment or a townhouse. It’s great that you said that the top thing to consider is the budget. Since I already knew that there are new townhomes for sale in Houston, I think I’ll have to check it first. I’ll follow your tips on checking the cost and space if it’s suitable for my budget and preference.

  3. Avatar Prachi

    One major deciding factor is whether you have small kids or not. Apartments can be limiting for them if your downstairs neighbour doesn’t like kids or have very low tolerance for floor noise. If you have kids, spend a little extra (may be save somewhere else) in townhouses but you and your kids will have peace of mind.

    • Sarah Sarah

      Great point, Prachi! Townhomes generally give you more space for the little ones to run around… and reduces the chance of frustrated neighbors.

  4. Avatar Stephanie

    Keep in mind town houses usually have laundry hook ups or already have it built in unlike some apartments.

  5. Avatar Jensen Mott

    It’s great that apartments have no outdoor maintenance generally and that the complex usually takes care of everything in that regard. My husband and I don’t have time for maintenance with our jobs and business trips, so we need something that doesn’t require any extra work on our part. I’ll have to start looking for the right apartment for us so that we can move in before the weather gets cold. Thanks for the info!

    • Sarah Sarah

      You’re exactly right! Some townhouses will still do outdoor maintenance, but not always guaranteed! Good luck with your apartment hunt – winter is generally a less-popular time to move, so you may be able to find a great apartment at a cheaper price now than later next year!

  6. Avatar Jack Titchener

    If townhouses have more square feet then I think I’m going to go with that. My wife and I are in the market for something cozy but spacious enough so that we feel like we can breathe. Great article on the comparison, definitely helped with our decision.

    • Sarah Sarah

      Great idea! Look for a townhouse that has multiple stories/floors. Not only does a second floor increase the square footage, but also builds in functional space for you and your significant other! For instance, we have our living room and kitchen downstairs and a master and guest room-turned-office upstairs. It gives me and my fiance enough space to spread out without leaving our home!

  7. Avatar Amanda Drew

    I like how you say that townhomes have more square feet and rooms. My little family is growing, and we’d like more room for all of us while not dealing with a whole house. I should look into places that rent townhomes to people like me and my family.