If you have always wanted to own your own home, have you considered the advantages of buying an apartment? Living in an apartment has become an increasingly popular trend not only in large cities but also in smaller towns in India. In this article, we outline the options and merits that you should be aware of before you can discuss the pros and cons with your family and come to a consensus about whether an apartment is suitable for your lifestyle.
Prior to buying an apartment, you and your partner need to agree on the aim of buying an apartment. Is it an investment that you hope will appreciate over the years, or are you moving to make things more convenient – being closer to your workplace or your children’s school? Additionally, you need to decide on the style of the apartment. Should you choose a unit in a condominium with multiple high-rise towers where you may not know all your neighbours, or would you prefer a small apartment with two or three floors, where you can develop good relations with all the residents? Of course, a lot will depend on the lifestyle of your family.
As you can see, there is a host of factors to consider before you buy an apartment, which is why we have put together some tips to guide you to make the right decision.
Location is the most important point when deciding to buy an apartment. Ideally, your apartment should have a good approach road, be well connected to public transport, be close to schools if you have children or near your office. Additionally, proximity to markets and easy access to emergency medical services are other aspects to look at when you evaluate the suitability of an apartment’s location.
Apartment buildings with two or three storeys are very popular, especially if they are in areas that suit you in terms of location, transportation and proximity to educational centres or the workplace of family members.
The advantage of smaller buildings with a few floors is that you aren’t dependent on elevators. You can easily walk up the stairs to your apartment, even if there are power outages. Additionally, in case of earthquakes, evacuation is much easier in this type of building.
The negative of a smaller apartment with only a couple of floors is that because the units are closer to street level, security becomes an issue. Additionally, the street noises will be amplified. However, you can get around this by installing grilles to make the apartment more secure or getting glazed doors and windows to cut out the street noises to some extent.
Tall buildings with hundreds of dwelling units also have advantages. Firstly, because a greater number of owners contribute to the maintenance of the condominium, the facilities accessible by the residents will be far superior to those in smaller buildings. Additionally, if you have an apartment on a higher floor, the panoramic views as well as the reduced noise levels from the street are other advantages.
The main disadvantage of living in a large complex is that you won’t get the opportunity to meet all your neighbours and social relations will be quite impersonal.
Irrespective of the style of apartment building and whether it has a few or many units, it is vital that the construction adheres to all the regulations prescribed by the law or the local authorities. For instance, the building should have an occupancy certificate after completion. This is usually issued after the authorities conduct an inspection to verify whether it meets all the required compliances. This might include an endorsement that the building has safety measures for dealing with earthquakes, fires and other calamities and has signposted evacuation routes, fire safety equipment as well as regular inspections by the relevant offices in the municipality or local area. Elevator safety is another vital issue, and the capacity of the lifts should be consistent with the number of people living in the building.
Norms or systems must be in place for garbage collection and disposal, including the maintenance of hygienic conditions in ducts or collection points. Additionally, the roof of the building should be waterproofed to prevent possible leaks into the apartments on the top floor.
You can get the help of an architect in evaluating whether the apartment meets all the mandatory requirements.
One of the main factors that influence the decision to buy an apartment instead of a house is that standalone houses are more vulnerable to intrusions or burglaries, but you should verify whether the security measures inside the apartment are better.
Assess the systems that are in place to ensure that the accesses to parking, common areas and individual apartments are well monitored so that unwelcome visitors can’t enter the building. If the apartment is on a lower floor, evaluate whether you need additional protection for the windows, balconies and terraces. In case you need to install grilles, ensure that it matches the norms approved for the building.
Find grille designs that offer protection and beauty for your apartment.
When you view the interior of the apartment assess the size of the unit as well as each room to ensure that it is suitable, especially if you have a large family. Check the layout to see the connections between the social and private spaces. In most modern apartments, the social areas have an open plan. Review the layout to see whether the size of the living room is suitable for your lifestyle, or if you have the option of closing the kitchen to keep the cooking odours out of the living room.
Check whether the apartment has sufficient natural light and the quality of the construction as well as the condition of the walls, ceilings and floors. This will give you an idea of whether you need to budget for repairs or remodelling. Last but not the least, assess whether you like the design style of the apartment, because you will have to live with it unless you want to spend a fortune on renovating it completely.
Larger condominiums with more blocks and units usually have common facilities such as a fitness centre or gym, swimming pool, children’s play area, sports fields or courts, clubhouse, sauna, supermarket or store, a running track and a yoga deck. However, the greater the number of facilities, the higher will be the monthly maintenance fee that you will have to pay.
If your busy lifestyle doesn’t allow you to use these facilities regularly, then you may need to evaluate whether the additional cost is worthwhile for you and your family.
The lighting in the common areas is another factor you should look at before buying the apartment. This should include the lighting systems in internal spaces such as corridors and stairs as well as the façade, the parking area and other spaces such as the walking path or driveway. Besides providing sufficient illumination to prevent accidents, the quality of the outdoor and internal lights should comply with expected standards so that it doesn’t cause any damage to the building or require frequent replacement.
If the apartment that you buy is located near the coast, it will need to withstand strong winds or even cyclones. Check whether the balconies and windows are designed to handle this. Otherwise, the interiors can get damaged due to wind and water entering your home.
Apartment prices in India vary significantly, depending upon several factors. These include the city or state where it is, the location of the apartment, especially in terms of its distance from the Central Business District, the quality of construction, the reputation of the builder as well as the type of finishes. In general, the cost per square foot can vary from around INR 3,500 to INR 15,000. In metropolises such as New Delhi and Mumbai, the prices can be much higher, especially in complexes with high-end facilities or those in premium neighbourhoods.
Browse through the images of professionally designed apartments on homify, and if you find an apartment with the finish or style that you like, you can contact the interior architect or designer to get your apartment designed by them.