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Old 22nd May 2020, 11:51   #1
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Default Living in an Apartment vs Individual House

There is a lot information out there that lists pros and cons of living in apartment vs houses. Since we have members from the different backgrounds , locations etc. I wanted to see what your experiences , thoughts and plans are for your ideal house especially to live when you are done working.

Can we share pros and cons from your own experience of living in apartment vs house/villa and also some perspective on this topic.

e.g. If one can think from the long term perspective, the ever increasing monthly maintenance cost in gated communities can be quite burdensome e.g. during the retirement. This cost is not there when one is living in a independent house.
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Old 22nd May 2020, 12:01   #2
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Default re: Living in an Apartment vs Individual House

Apartment living has its benefits, and I have listed my top noting.
Apartment Pros:
Security (be in guards or your neighbours who are close at hand)
Water issues are managed
Power back up (sometimes for unlimited hours)
Facilities like Gym, pool, lush greenery, maintenance
Collective bargaining for paperwork related to khata or BESCOM

Apartment Cons:
High monthly maintenance costs
Nosy & noisy neighbours (who think they're living in a private villa and just walk in raising issues/discussions etc)
You can't make changes in balcony (exterior)
Internal dimensions as per builder (no scope for extensive changes)
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Old 22nd May 2020, 12:05   #3
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Default re: Living in an Apartment vs Individual House

One of the biggest con of living in a villa is constantly going up and down the stairs. Another one is the mosquitoes, not sure of the situation in apartments though. Other than those two I can't think of any other problem I face.
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Old 22nd May 2020, 12:23   #4
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Default re: Living in an Apartment vs Individual House

As a family and right from my childhood, we have been living in individual houses. While I have cousins and friends living in apartments, the thought of living in an apartment has always been alien to me.

In 2011, when we decided to shift from Veraval,Gujarat to Mangalore, Karnataka, there were thoughts about going for an Apartment. But we decided to stick to our comfort zone i.e to build a new individual house after seeing that Pros for our needs easily outweighed the Cons.

Individual House- these were the actual points that were thought about while deciding between an individual house and an apartment
Pros
- Privacy
- Build and design the building, its rooms, windows, electrical placements etc in the house as per your needs and conveniences. This also meant having guest bedroom for families and friends coming over for 2-3 weeks stay - something which is a bit difficult to manage in apartments.
- Not worrying about whether there is enough water for daily use in the overhead tank (OK,may be it was a little paranoid but I have seen cousins in bigger cities struggling with this in apartments)
- Having independent and safe parking space for our cars and not worrying about it getting vandalized by a jealous neighbour or pesky kids in the building.
- Enough space to build a garden.
- The exorbitant building apartment maintenance charges are avoided (but you end up paying higher property tax and water bill in an individual house)
- Have a decent sized solar water heater(something which *may* not have been possible in an apartment complex)
- We were planning to have a pet dog at home and it may not have been possible or convenient in an apartment complex.

Cons
- High cost of land for building the house
- Building a house could be costlier than an apartment(but the fact that you are living in a house built for your needs and conveniences easily outweighs this as a con)
- Possibly, higher Loan amount needed for building an individual house. Also banks those days were not providing loan for the land(not sure if it has changed now).
- A security issue perhaps? Thieves tend to target individual houses more. But then we had a dog and a security system. So that threat was addressed to a great extent.

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 22nd May 2020 at 18:22. Reason: As requested.
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Old 22nd May 2020, 12:32   #5
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Default re: Living in an Apartment vs Individual House

Security is certainly better when it comes to an apartment, but doesn't mean that individual houses won't be secure. I live in a pretty crowded neighborhood with a lot of retired folk and children who are at home most of the day, so anything that happens or any stranger in the locality is immediately noticed.

Privacy, well if construction in Bangalore was done following regulations, with enough offset and FSI and things like that, certainly an individual house will afford better privacy than an apartment, but with the way houses are stacked up in most neighborhoods, no real advantage I think. My neighbors can look right in to my kitchen through the windows! And every time the mother and daughter fight in the next house, the issues are loud and clear in ours!

Individual houses have their expenses too. And those go up as the house gets older. Plus, with a house there is a lot more personal effort involved. I've had to bring the BESCOM people myself when the underground power supply line burnt out while we were welding a grill. Have to trim the tree in the compound myself and bring a tractor to haul away the leaves and debris. Each monsoon I have to climb up every few days and clean the tank, terraces, chajjas of leaves, dead rats, birds. Cracks, flooring, exterior painting, pump replacement. Still, cost wise I think it's a lot less than the outrageous amounts I've heard my friends in fancy apartment complexes pay as maintenance.

Before the covid-19 lockdown I always thought my lifestyle would be better served living in an apartment. Anyway I was out of the house from 7-9 at work on weekdays and usually travelling somewhere on weekends. And we don't really need all that much space with no kids. But now, hearing all the horror stories of residents 'welfare' associations and their extra controls above and beyond what the government has mandated, I'm thanking my stars I don't stay in an apartment complex with a paranoid RWA.

Last edited by am1m : 22nd May 2020 at 12:34.
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Old 22nd May 2020, 12:38   #6
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Default re: Living in an Apartment vs Individual House

The nuclear Set up of modern families and with everyone going out for work needs more of an apartment type residence because of the safety and security primarily. One can simply put a lock and go for a weekend getaway without worrying about the security back home. A lot of people in my extended family are living in independent houses and the major con is that at least one person has to stay back at home if there’s any outstation event like marriage in the family. This advantage is the biggest pro of living in an apartment. Pros of independent housing in my view are:
1. No disagreement on day to day running issues like those in apartment societies.

2. All the benefit of any spend on facilities is entirely yours. No sharing of resources or funding of facilities that you may not use like in apartment.

3. Unlimited potential for after market modifications (in terms of TBHP) one can renovate, modernise, design and redesign you independent house the way YOU like it. Apartment owners dream on.

4. Cost effective to build compared to flats. But depends on cost of land as well.

Pros of apartment:

1. As stated, biggest advantage is security. May outweigh many other advantages single handedly over independent houses.

2. Suits modern and working lifestyle of young couples.

3. Pay and get concept. Compare this to building a house where you have to arrange for every resource for building it. Save for independent villas sold by builders.

4. Sharing of cost of facilities makes them cheaper. Imagine getting your own borewell, rain water harvesting systems, elevators, etc. at your own cost single handedly.

5. You certainly can’t have gymnasiums, community halls, etc along with independent house.

6. Manpower readily available if required in form of neighbors, guards and other personnel. Helps a lot in emergency situations. Last year during the peak of summers, our apartment borewell failed. We made 3 teams- one for getting labour, another buying new motor, pipes and associated electronics and the last team was given the task to collect the finances from all members. Now imagine doing all this alone in case of your own home.

There could be more stuff that I might have missed. All these come to my mind instantly. People shall surely add more to it.

Regards
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Old 22nd May 2020, 13:01   #7
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Default re: Living in an Apartment vs Individual House

Quote:
Originally Posted by hondafanboy View Post
There is a lot information out there that lists pros and cons of living in apartment vs houses. Since we have members from the different backgrounds , locations etc. I wanted to see what your experiences , thoughts and plans are for your ideal house especially to live when you are done working.

Can we share pros and cons from your own experience of living in apartment vs house/villa and also some perspective on this topic.

e.g. If one can think from the long term perspective, the ever increasing monthly maintenance cost in gated communities can be quite burdensome e.g. during the retirement. This cost is not there when one is living in a independent house.
Nice topic especially during Corona times. Having lived in both (house in a tier 3 town and apartments all across the globe), these are what I can think of

Apartment Advantages
1) Small compact unit for upkeep
2) Easy to get Local labour esp maid, carpenters, electricians, plumbers.
3) If in the same area, you pay way lesser in terms of property tax than an independent house. The property tax rates in city areas are much higher than the suburbs.
4) You can use the common area for a walking, jogging, playing, swimming etc
5) More people to interact with.

Apartment disadvantages
1) Small for storing your stuff. Lack of Space
2) The common area is not under your ownership. So you cannot plant, do agriculture according to your needs.
3) Can be claustrophobic if you stay longer. Not good, if you have pets.


Independent House Advantages
1) Your house is your house and you can do anything in your own house (Provided it is actually a stand alone house). The feeling of having your own house where no one disturbs you is a different thing, altogether. Ideal for reclusive living.
2) Ideal for small time agriculture, trees if you have some land along with your house.
3) Terrific for people with pets.

Independent House Disadvantages
1) Security - especially in urban areas. In rural areas, people tend to know each other pretty well.
2) Water - If the corporation doesn't provide you a connection, you need to have your own well.
3) Upkeep : Up keeping the land off shrubs, animals is going to take your time and effort.


To be honest, would advise an independent house (rather than an independent villa or apartment) if you are familiar with the area and have a support system in place especially for older people.
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Old 22nd May 2020, 13:02   #8
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Default re: Living in an Apartment vs Individual House

Should have included a poll to go with this!

I have had the benefit of both an apartment complex as well as independent house. My dad has constructed his independent house and I do spend some time there. For myself, I've got apartment complex in B'lore and Noida. One in Noida is currently on rent and will likely be sold off sometime.

Things I like about apartment complex -

1) Plenty of play space and social circle for kids.

2) We are more or less insulated from government apathy - power supply (generators + inverters); trash disposal (through private organizations if the local municipality is creating issues); security (through various agencies); water (through different suppliers).

All these issues get addressed at a community level so less hassle and headaches at an individual level.

3) Arranging for any get-togethers is a lesser hassle with the community centre at our disposal for any large gathering.

4) In-house electricians and plumbers are always on hand to address any small/big/urgent issues as they creep up.

5) I have found the apartment complex managers to be amazingly resourceful. It is a bit shocking how some residents can be very disrespectful towards the managers...I've always had great respect and rapport with them.

> My renewed passport was to arrive but I as travelling for almost a month. Spoke to the manager who knew the local post office folks and enabled easy collection on my return!

> He is very well connected with good painters and tile-works folks that do excellent job.

> If I am not home and anything needs taken care of, he is mega reliable.

Things I like about independent homes -

1) You can rebuild anyway you like. Use the space as you wish.

2) You can choose to install solar panels if you so desire.

3) You don't have to deal with some of the whims and random decision making of RWA

4) Relatively less expensive to maintain.

5) The landownership is of great value in present and in the future. For the apartment complex, depending on the free-hold or lease-hold status, although you can get that undivided share of land, it's not quite the same.

6) Lesser space is lost is that common-area nonsense definitions and overall carpet area is much more efficient.

7) With a two or three story construction, the effective cost of the independent house could be lower than an apartment complex in addition to the fact that an independent house has the potential to keep generating rental income even while you reside there.

Last edited by Miyata : 22nd May 2020 at 13:08.
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Old 22nd May 2020, 14:31   #9
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Default re: Living in an Apartment vs Individual House

The biggest con of an individual house / bungalow in a big city is the "opportunity cost". I don't know of anyone in my circle who hasn't caved in to the temptation of demolishing it in favour of a tall building. If your bungalow is in a nice locality (e.g. Juhu), would you say no to Rs 100 crores?

Although the charm of an individual villa is undeniable, if I was shopping, I would perhaps pick one of the new gated communities. Love the facilities, luxury, security & strict systems (am a big fan of discipline in all areas of life). They greatly enhance the overall quality of life.

Last edited by GTO : 23rd May 2020 at 08:02.
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Old 22nd May 2020, 20:48   #10
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Default re: Living in an Apartment vs Individual House

My preference is in following order

Gated Villa > Independent house > Gated Apartments

I cannot afford the first two and I am reluctant to buy the last option. So I am waiting to save some moolah.

The only reason I don't want an apartment as a permanent residence is safety. No matter which part of the world you live, Apartment fires are disasters. It only takes, one mistake by one tenant, "sarbanash". Even if fire doesn't reach you, CO is enough, which may not necessarily emanate from fires but also from misfires of Gas geysers. Thanks to my below neighbor who reminds me from time to time as he builds a homam and chokes me.

That was the main reason, just for the heck of citing more supportive statements, here are few additonal annoyances
1. Toilets are stacked up, and as apartments get older, things leak from one floor to the other
2. So many people packed in a small space = their exhalation is your inhalation
3. Noices from top floor drums the bottom floor
4. Lastly, apartments don't appreciate as much as a pukka plot

Last edited by Thermodynamics : 22nd May 2020 at 21:02.
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Old 23rd May 2020, 01:19   #11
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Default re: Living in an Apartment vs Individual House

An individual house offers a more wholesome, private and flexible experience in general compared to an apartment.

However one critical and most important aspect where apartment trumps individual house is security. Thieves are always sizing up and observing independent houses to strike after proper planning, its relatively difficult to target and track apartments.

Last edited by for_cars1 : 23rd May 2020 at 01:28.
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Old 23rd May 2020, 09:09   #12
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Default re: Living in an Apartment vs Individual House

I would say an apartment but not more than 4-5 houses in that building against a huge gated community. I've lived in an individual house, gated community and a standalone apartment. I prefer small apartment life to other two. Main negative in gated community is that issue starts to raise once the building is 10+ years old and requires big maintenance activities like arresting seepage, exterior painting etc. By then many owners have different say and the task of executing it falls on association president who at the end of every task will be branded as corrupt. Thanks to those who complain but not take up responsibility. Getting along all the members is a head ache. In a standalone building having 4-5 houses the task is simple. Convincing 4-5 owners over tens and hundreds is better !
An individual house has great money value but we lose out on security, social life and ease in buying/selling the property like an apartment. The house cannot be left locked if we have to take a road trip. There is a need to look out for relatives/friend who can sleep at our house during every night when we have to take a vacation. Making an overnight plan to start a road trip with all from family in an innova? Apartment is the way to go.
The biggest loss for me from not living in individual house is having my own gated garage where I can spend time with my car.

Last edited by KPR : 23rd May 2020 at 09:14.
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Old 23rd May 2020, 09:53   #13
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Default re: Living in an Apartment vs Individual House

An apartment is always a compromise. Nothing really belongs to you. Someone else's floor is your roof, your floor is someone else's roof. Not even one wall belongs to you, though the space inside your apartment is yours! Everything else is common. Okay, bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea.

We, and two of my uncles lived in three adjacent independent homes till the Y2K. A financial crunch at the time made us approach a builder for co-development of the properties in to an apartment complex. I still can't think of that house without a pang. Nothing fancy, built in '58 by my dad before I was born,and expanded a couple of decades later. Two storeyed and surrounded by a garden. We grew all the coconuts, drumsticks, banana, lemon, amla, mangoes, chikku and jack fruit we needed. A family can consume only so much, so plenty of the produce was distributed to relatives. We never knew the price of these items in the shops. And don't even mention about the privacy and independence; you will never tread on anyone's toes, nor they on yours! Parking for your cars and bikes, even for the ones your relatives brought...no issue. A couple of wells supplied all the water we needed, supplemented by the Municipal water supply. Not much heat will be felt even in summers, because of the surrounding space full of trees.

One woke up to bird songs in the mornings! Parrots came to our fruit trees. How many varieties of birds I used to see...king fisher, Mynah, Cuckoos,hummingbirds, different varieties of sparrow! Now the only birds I see are crows. Everyone in the locality got bitten by the apartment bug, which offered a sizeable sum those days. The amount looks small in hindsight, and what we had lost priceless. Very few independent homes left now. And no issues with keeping whatever pets one wanted. I occasionally had squirrels. We always had a dog in the house till the apartment project happened. I regretfully gave away my then seven year old German Sheperd to a close relative. To this day I can't pass someone walking his/her dog on the street without feeling a pang. Apartment rules prohibit any kind of pets except aquarium fish.

There was no UGD in our area till then, so the only issue was clearing the septic tank about once every eight years. The water used for bathing, washing etc will run through channels and irrigate the trees in the backyard. Those coconut trees could suck up prodigious amounts of water!

Last edited by Gansan : 23rd May 2020 at 09:57.
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Old 23rd May 2020, 10:49   #14
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Default re: Living in an Apartment vs Individual House

I've lived in an Individual house through out my childhood in a tier 2 city, where such houses are still common.
When I moved out of my Parents' house for job, I have lived in the apartments only. Believe me, I always miss living in an Individual house.

To me, house gives a special sense of ownership. The land, the roof, the boundaries, the main gate etc every thing is yours. where as in apartment , once you are out of flat, everything is common.

I am fortune to be in my hometown during COVID-19 lock downs, I am able take a walk in porch/terrace of the house ( this is prohibited in my apartment building in Pune). I've even created a basketball hoop for my daughter, with amazon delivery box and installed it on the terrace, this would not be possible in the flat I live in.
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Old 23rd May 2020, 10:50   #15
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Default re: Living in an Apartment vs Individual House

Quote:
Originally Posted by skanchan95 View Post
Cons
- Possibly, higher Loan amount needed for building an individual house. Also banks those days were not providing loan for the land(not sure if it has changed now)..
I've bought land on a housing loan via LIC Housing Finance Ltd. It is very much allowed by banks and NBFCs. They give you 2 or 3 years to start constructing a home on the land. But the moment the bank/NBFC conducts an audit 3 years down the line and discovers that no construction has happened yet, they have a free rein to apply a retrospective higher interest rate and collect it from you. But they don't seem to be conducting these checks as yet. There are so many people that are abusing this loophole and availing lower interest rates to buy land as an investment.

I intend to construct sometime soon...
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