In the IELTS speaking exam, you may be asked questions about flats, houses or homes. Read the following IELTS style questions and answers below and pay attention to the words or phrases in bold. Use the ‘Definitions’ section at the bottom of the page to check any meanings you are unfamiliar with.
Make a note of any new vocabulary and the best way to learn it is to use it!
Examiner: Do you currently live in a house or a flat?
Eduardo: At the moment I am living in a rented flat because I have recently moved into a new central neighbourhood. This has taken a bit of getting used to, if I’m honest, as previously I lived in a detached house in the suburbs which was much more comfortable.
Examiner: What was the family home like where you grew up?
Maria: I was lucky to be brought up in a large family home which was where my grandparents lived before my parents. This ancestral home was seeped in family history and I have always felt a great attachment to it. It is far more spacious than the urban loft where I am now, with larger, airier rooms and inspiring panoramic views. The house has a large veranda where we share family meals, a study and a cellar where my father keeps his best wine.
Examiner: Have you ever shared a flat with people you did not know before?
Henri: Well, when I used to live in London, I could not afford to rent a place of my own, so I decided to join a flat share which I saw advertised on an accommodation website. It was a real challenge as the flat was in need of modernisation, and whilst the rooms boasted original features, such as original Victorian windows, it was freezing cold and my flatmates kept to themselves so it was hard to make friends.
Describe a house or an apartment that you would like to live in. You should say
Caspar: I have always been attracted to the idea of constructing my own home, as my father is an architect and we have always been great fans of watching TV programmes which follow the trials and tribulations of people who are involved in complicated and ambitious building projects. Sometimes, although there are many difficulties and unexpected challenges along the way, the end resulting home is just beautiful, appealing and really inspiring.
This small house would be by the sea, possibly in France, as the Atlantic coastline there is still quite wild and underpopulated. I’m attracted to the idea of an environmentally friendly bungalow, which would be open plan and use screens or bookshelves to divide rooms.
I’d love to work with my father on the design, and ideally it would be made of eco-friendly materials, such as sustainable woods, recycled glass and highly insulated to keep energy costs as low as possible. I’ve been inspired by the Scandinavian style houses I have seen in design magazines, which are planned to blend into their location, looking simple and clean from the outside, but boasting all mod cons inside.
I would love to have a large terrace to sit and watch the sunsets or share sustainably sourced local foods. I am not tempted by an extravagant, designer or flashy décor but prefer something understated with stripped or varnished wood floors, a kitchen made from recycled wood, and open shelves to display my collection of ceramic pottery which was my grandmothers. Light is very important to me, so I would try to incorporate large full length windows to enjoy the views and experience a connection to the peaceful countryside outside.
Examiner: In your country is it more common to rent or buy a house?
Sergi: Over the past twenty years there has been a surge in property prices, fuelled by relaxation in the rules surrounding mortgages and loans. This has resulted in a boom in the housing market. Many young professionals are taking the opportunity to get on the property ladder but for most first time buyers, many years of renting is needed to save enough for a deposit.
Examiner: Many landlords are known to take advantage of their tenants. What can be done to control this?
Raoul: It is well known that in many urban areas, which are overcrowded and where accommodation is in very short supply, that unscrupulous landlords charge excessive rents and demand large deposits which they are unlikely to return in full. Improved legal protection should be provided for tenants, many of whom are unaware of their rights, and this might give leaseholders more confidence and security.
Examiner: It is preferable for families to live in central districts or in the suburbs?
Alline: The trend for parents with young children has relocate from the metropolis to more suburban areas is widespread in many countries. It also depends on which neighbourhood you want to live in but the city centres have become too expensive for normal, middle income families or people to live there. Outside the centre, there are the new hipster neighbourhoods, where many creative or entrepreneurs and artists live, but there can be a shortage of family sized homes.