Owning a home is a financial goal that transcends religion and nationality. Once the requisite financial planning is done and necessary savings accumulated, the next question is whether to buy an apartment or an independent house. Usually, space crunch and high rates in metros compel most homebuyers to look at apartments as their preferred choice. These come slightly cheaper than independent property which could be in the form of a villa or an assortment of floors built on a plot. However, there are many factors to consider like location, accessibility, rent, appreciation, security, purpose of purchase, stage of life etc., before one makes this once in a lifetime investment. A bunch of independent houses clubbed together known as colonies are a common sight in the country but economic factors and urban lifestyle have dealt a death knell for the culture of independent houses especially in metropolitan cities. Rise in nuclear families, upgrade in compact & chic lifestyle, increase in land cost and inter-state migration of the population for jobs led to the practical flourishing of apartment culture in the big cities. Vertical growth has now extended to shopping malls and multi-storeyed office space and technology parks as well.
Apartment vs Independent House:
1. The cost of buying an independent house is much higher than that of buying an apartment hence in case of a home loan the requirement will increase in a corresponding manner. It would include the price of the plot, the stamp duty to be paid to the Govt., the clearances required from various authorities, the cost for an electricity connection, raw materials, labour costs depending on the city, and the architect fees in case of renovations. In the case of an apartment, the builder takes care of the technical formalities and the buyer just has to pay the requisite amount for the apartment and move in whenever one desires.
2. While an apartment property comes with added values, such as security, enough parking space, power back-up, water systems and fire safety mechanism in place, an independent property needs extra effort for setting up of these services. This would also include an extra cost of 2-3% of the total property value on these amenities around an independent villa property. This would include setting up of a small power back-up in the form of an inverter or a generator set and your water mechanism.
3. Banks sanction loans for independent properties only after strict scrutiny of borrowers which is time consuming and may lead to losing out on the desired property. Loans for apartments are readily available as builders have tie ups with various banks to make it a more hassle free process.
4. Owning a property needs financial resources and constant efforts for maintenance, cleanliness and construction & repair whereas in a society with apartments they have a dedicated in-house maintenance team which takes care of everything and are available round the clock at a reasonable expense due to the pooled resources.
5. When it comes to independent houses or villas, capital appreciation is not as high as an apartment. This is largely due to the high initial capital involved and the limited demand as compared to apartments. For the same reason, it is difficult to sell an independent house. Apartments on the other hand are always in demand and easy to sell or rent out.
6. If one is an inexperienced new buyer, one could fall prey to title fraud and scams when purchasing an independent house. In case of apartments, buyers can check the reputation and past record of the builder of delivering projects and their quality and can also fact check with the existing residents. This helps in investing the hard earned money in a trustworthy project.
7. Living in an apartment complex encourages communal harmony and societal living as no discrimination is made on the basis of caste or creed. Society members from all walks of life are welcomed which is lacking in independent house living.
An independent house will be best suited for someone who has a big family and is particular about the aesthetics of their home, the neighbourhood and its privacy, and also has the financial strength to complement such a lifestyle. Someone who doesn’t want to be bothered with the technical hassles of buying a plot and constructing a house can go for an already built independent house.
For buyers like a modern nuclear family on a budget or seniors looking to spend their retirement in peace; apartment is the best option. This financial logic has resulted in tier II cities also opting for apartments. The builders have sensed the demand and are catering to it for every budget and providing all sorts of amenities and facilities to attract such buyers.