Which would you choose?

Which would you choose?

The choice has a direct impact on the quality of your life. So, before you finalise on your residential option, do weigh the pros and cons of both, living in an apartment and owning an independent house, suggests Natasha Menezes
 

In the 80s, owning an independent house was pretty much the norm. The  apartment culture had not quite set in. Today, though, the scenario has completely changed. Large concrete structures are burgeoning at every nook and cranny, while residents of individual houses are slowly selling their space to builders. It has become increasingly clear that the culture of independent houses is slowly fading away. The reasons for
this growing trend? Security, community living, ease of maintenance... There are reasons galore.

The sky-rocketing cost involved in purchasing an independent house is forcing many buyers to shy away from even considering it. Of late, buying land has become a formidable task, thanks to the steep escalation of purchasing costs and the lack of patience to have a home constructed on it.

“In fast growing metros like Pune and Bangalore, land is in short supply. Vertical development, as opposed to horizontal development, is the need of the hour, to better accommodate housing demands. Also, apartments are lighter on the pocket, both, in terms of buying and maintenance. It also promotes community living and offers better security,” says Pooja Nibjiya, director, Hemant Group, Pune.

Parul Amla, interior designer, Antrik Design Studio, agrees with Pooja. She rues that a plot, which is free from litigation, is no longer easily available in the country, as was the case, roughly around 20 years ago. Even finding a suitable location is a harrowing task, and therefore, you are left with no better option than buying an apartment.

But, of course, if you aren’t cash-strapped, and have time on hand to scout for an independent house, you may want to weigh the pros and cons of both - living in an apartment and living in an independent house:

In the 80s, owning an independent house was pretty much the norm. The  apartment culture had not quite set in. Today, though, the scenario has completely changed. Large concrete structures are burgeoning at every nook and cranny, while residents of individual houses are slowly selling their space to builders. It has become increasingly clear that the culture of independent houses is slowly fading away. The reasons for this growing trend? Security, community living, ease of maintenance... There are reasons galore.

The sky-rocketing cost involved in purchasing an independent house is forcing many buyers to shy away from even considering it. Of late, buying land has become a formidable task, thanks to the steep escalation of purchasing costs and the lack of patience to have a home constructed on it.

“In fast growing metros like Pune and Bangalore, land is in short supply. Vertical development, as opposed to horizontal development, is the need of the hour, to better accommodate housing demands. Also, apartments are lighter on the pocket, both, in terms of buying and maintenance. It also promotes community living and offers better security,” says Pooja Nibjiya,
director, Hemant Group, Pune.

Parul Amla, interior designer, Antrik Design Studio, agrees with Pooja. She rues that a plot, which is free from litigation, is no longer easily available in the country, as was the case, roughly around 20 years ago. Even finding a suitable location is a harrowing task, and therefore, you are left with no better option than buying an apartment.

But, of course, if you aren’t cash-strapped, and have time on hand to scout for an independent house, you may want to weigh the pros and cons of both - living in an apartment and living in an independent house:

Amenities
Typical apartment complexes come with ancillary services like round-the-clock
security, allocated parking lots, generator back-up, ample water supply and fire
safety mechanisms. On the other hand, all this is not easily available for independent homes; often, it requires a lot of time, money and effort. It is estimated that an independent structure will incur an additional two to three per cent, on an average, for inclusion of such amenities like power back up and regular water supply. Security is also another challenge, but if it’s a colony of villas, then a committee can be formed for the purpose. In an apartment, the builder usually takes care of all this at least for an initial time frame before handing over the reins of management to the society committee.

Loan
Getting a loan for an independent house is a lot more problematic than securing one for an apartment. Banks that lend home loans usually have a list of sanctioned projects, from which a buyer can select. However, for independent properties, the process is more tedious and banks undertake a strict scrutiny of the borrower before sanctioning the loan. It is also seemingly tough to determine the real value of an independent home. Typically, banks fund only sixty to seventy per cent of the total value of the land. Added charges, like stamp duty and registration, need to be borne by the buyer. However, a small amount of construction loan may be provided by a few banks.

Under construction
The task of buying land and then constructing a home on top of it is a long, daunting process. However, the advantage is that it can be completed within the stipulated time frame. On the other hand, developers these days have terrible construction delays and the buyers have to suffer in the end. Factors such as poor financing, rising cost of raw materials, labour charges and plummeting sales invariably lead to this situation.

Maintenance
From the moment you enter your new home, there are several costs involved like cleaning, maintenance and repair. While all this is generally taken care of by the
society’s Residents’ Welfare Association (RWA), this is not the case in an independent house.

Another important point to note is that due to pooling of resources by society members, the costs for maintenance are lowered drastically when you are living in an apartment. On the other hand, when you own an independent property, the time, money and effort involved for maintenance is high. You are in it alone; nobody to share your burden.

However, the maintenance of common amenities in an apartment is typically high and ranges from one rupee to 2.50 rupees per square feet per month.

Re-sale value
Of all the assets, property is probably the one that takes the most amount of time to appreciate. The task becomes even more challenging if the property is an independent house. Recent studies have shown that apartments with a two or three-bedrooms setup have more demand than independent houses and villas. This trend is not only seen in tier-1 cities, but even tier-2 cities are witnessing this compounding growth in apartments. Apartments these days have better re-sale value than independent houses.

Constraints
With an apartment, little or no changes at all can be made to the exteriors. Due to space limitations, gardening, and even having pets, becomes difficult. Also most apartments do not eliminate noise completely; this could become a hindrance to immediate neighbours. Independent houses, on the other hand, have some advantages in this aspect. There is a greater degree of freedom to expand or contract its architecture, the liberty to have it designed as you please, and better privacy, thanks to no common walls. 

Gated community
Still unable to make up your mind? Perhaps, a gated community villa is for you. Bridge the gap between an apartment and independent house by getting yourself a plot in a gated community.

Then, you will be able to get the security, maintenance and water supply, like in apartments, while still having separate walls and not having to bother whether you are disturbing your neighbours. You also have the liberty to design and build your home the way you see fit. All in all, a gated community plot certainly offers you the best of both worlds. The catch: There aren’t many gated communities in well-connected locations yet, are there?

Whichever your pick, make sure you do your ground work and factor in all the essentials. Make a calculated decision after evaluating all important parameters.At the end of the day, property is one of the best investments you could add to your portfolio of assets.

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