Choosing an apartment or flat in India – Pros and Cons

We touched on the topic of apartments earlier. You can read up on it here.

Independent home or an Apartment

This particular article tries to throw some light on the concept, advantages and other nitty gritties regarding apartments.

Before I start, I would like to state that I have been living in flats/apartments for the last 15 years. That’s a huge figure, isn’t it? Right from my first grade to my college, I have been living in flats. The first 12 years I spent in my own apartment (or my dads flat in Coimbatore.). The next 3 ½ years have been spent in a rented out flat in Chennai.

Apartments are quite different from one locality to another. This article tries to keep in mind the Indian scenario.

Benefits that apartments offer:

Flats have become the default choice for people in metros and other large cities for some of the following reasons:

  • Shooting land prices have made sure that a middle-class salaried person even after applying for a loan, cannot (For details on home loans look here) afford to buy his/her own land and then construct a house on that land.
  • Even if one did manage to buy land and build a house, it involves a lot of issues from making sure that the land is for sale approved by the Government (unless you want to be taken on a ride), to getting land in the locality you want (as a thumb rule, the land costs increase steeply as it nears the place where you want to purchase 😀 ), to choosing the right constructor/contractor, deciding on the interiors, supervising the construction work.
  • All this is managed by the constructor if you are just buying a flat. However, it is always a good idea to check the approvals and other documents thoroughly.
  • Flats have dedicated security setup and there is a system to clean the premises on a periodic basis. This costs a lot in an independent house, at least effort wise. Security is another issue in independent houses, especially if it’s on the outskirts of the city without much police presence. I know of instances where people leave someone behind in the house when they go out of town for marriages etc, just to be sure of the security part.
  • A sense of togetherness. You get to socialize with people in flats.
  • Some flats even offer facilities like a gym, sports arena, swimming pools, tennis courts, etc. While you might not use all of them, it is definitely an added advantage.

High Rise Apartment

Image Courtesy : staymint.com

Choosing the right floor:

The two flats that I have lived in have both been more than 10 years old. This means that they are a whole lot different from the ones being built now. From the number of stories to the construction materials used, they are worlds apart.

  • Earlier, ground floor houses were the most preferred in an apartment. My Coimbatore flat was a ground floor one. That’s because these flats mostly consisted of a maximum of three stories (and a ground floor. Americans tend to call the ground floor as the first floor. So that would translate to four stories. ) This minimum number of stories coupled with the fact that there were no elevators (lifts), meant that people invariable preferred the ground floor and it often cost more than the higher floors. But this is assuming that there was some space between the compound wall and the house.
  • If this space was minimal, then the first floor was preferred, because ground floors resulted in dust and there was hardly any view to enjoy.
  • When stories started getting slightly higher, still with no lifts, first floors became the new ground floors for the simple reason that it resulted in less dust, had a better view and people didn’t mind climbing one storey.
  • With the introduction of lifts/elevators in Indian flats, the scenario changed somewhat. People were now willing to stay on the top floors. Choosing a house higher up normally translated to better privacy, closer to the terrace, (though some terraces are typically locked for security reasons.) and a better view of the neighborhood. Not to forget better ventilation. (The air does thin after a certain altitude, but most Indian flats haven’t reached that high yet.)

Complications of choosing a flat higher up:

  • If you have a lot of heavy furniture, home decor, then moving it up and down while vacating and moving in can be a very painful process.
  • In case of power failures, the lifts may sometime not be operational. Even though modern flats are equipped with generators, there is still a possibility this might happen.
  • I would like to state here to emphasize the first point that moving a Godrej almirah to my first floor house itself was a pain. I can’t imagine moving the same to the 10th floor especially if the lift cannot either take the size of it or the weight of it.
  • The regular stuff like carrying the groceries all the way up (even if you have an elevator), the gas agency guy bringing up the cylinder is a bit of botheration.
  • In hot cities, the top most floor translates to more heat!! Unless you have an overhead tank directly above.

Apartment

Image Courtesy : nuim.ie

Complications of choosing a flat lower down:

  • In today’s scenario, the compound walls are closing in, the floors getting higher.
  • Ground floor means that the ventilation might not be as good as the higher floors.
  • Since all you see these days are buildings on all the four sides, if the nearby buildings are also tall, your view is pretty badly affected.
  • Dust is always a problem with the lower floor levels.

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Posted by on Dec 7 2007 Filed under Reports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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