The question of whether to invest in an apartment or an independent house has kept most of us on the edge from time immemorial. However, based on a few criteria, we can add some logic to this question and hence the decision, which may eventually make the whole process easier.
The life stage
This is a personal criteria and it depends on the stage of life that you are in. For instance, a young family with a child would rather choose an apartment than an independent house to keep the overall cost of investment down. Further, cost of utilities and maintenance will be easy on the pocket. Apartments in good locations would also fetch decent resale prices as well. And, when the same family has reached the middle age, they can think of selling the apartment, realizing its resale value and move into an independent house/ villa. This is true for a sizable population of IT professionals working in Kakkanad area. The shift from apartments to budget houses/ villas is evident as they go through the different stages in life.
For apartments, we get a host of facilities like security, centralized gas supply, CCTV cameras, swimming pool, gym, children's play area and what not. But one should be ready to shell out monthly maintenance charges in the tune of 1000’s to enjoy the same. From a logical point of view, these charges would be minuscule compared to what we’d have to spend if we were to set them up in our individual houses. So this criteria is simple right?. The apartment maintenance charges in Cochin ranges between 3000 to 6000 per apartment which is not bad for the quality of services that is given in return. Few luxury flats in Cochin Projects even have electric car charging ports in individual parking lots.
It is often heard that banks are willing to lend for apartments as compared to independent houses. This is because of the fact that banks pre-qualify a set of builders and their projects. Then the process of lending to individual customers of these projects would be safer and risk-free for the bank. When it comes to independent houses though, it is difficult for the banks to ascertain the value and assess the individual’s capability to make the repayments. Hence they back-out of lending all together unless you have some close ties with the bank employees.
Stage of construction
One of the most important factors that has to be considered before investing. For apartments, the investor is always at the mercy of the builder who is also under pressure from factors such as price of raw materials, economy, availability of workers etc. However, the recently launched RERA guidelines prohibits builders from any malpractice and ensure timely delivery of projects or else they have to face hefty fines. In the case of independent house, the individual is at liberty with the speed and timeliness of completion. It is all about buying a good plot and planning the stages of construction. But then again one has to face the headache of managing different stakeholders involved in the construction. For many, this is the single deciding factor when it comes to investing in a property. The hassle of constructing an independent house is a major turnoff for many.
Apartments generally have a lower maintenance cost structure from an individual owners perspective. This is because of the fact that all the residents of the apartment pool the monthly maintenance charges into a lump-sum amount which is then utilized to take care of maintaining the common amenities. The case is entirely different when it comes to an independent house. One would have to shell out huge sums of money for maintenance say for example if the back-up inverter goes bust.
Folks who buy properties for investment or for personal use at some point in time will think of resale. Properties as a group of asset take more time to get sold. It's not as easy as selling your car or bike. Out of the asset class, independent houses takes a lot more time to get sold because of higher price and relatively less possibility of remodeling. For the same reason, most builders are not investing in houses/ villa projects in Kerala. They are looking at budget to semi-luxury apartment projects in the range of Rs. 50 to Rs. 80 lakhs with all kinds of luxurious amenities.
The aforementioned criteria is not exhaustive enough to lead to a definitive choice. However, a potential homeowner can build his or her case of which to invest in based on it. Further, it is great if you can build some market intelligence on your own by talking to peers, relatives, parents and even builders to understand the trends pertaining to the real estate industry.