When looking for a new home, the flat vs bungalow debate often crops up. While a bungalow is usually a standalone construction on a land parcel where you should have total rights over the construction and the layout, a flat or apartment is a dwelling unit that is part of a residential complex, where the developer takes full responsibility of the construction and you are guided by certain regulations and bylaws regarding modification.
Both the formats have their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s look at some of the plus and minus points.
Pros of owning a house or bungalow:
# You can design and embellish the property according to your wish without being limited by any protocols or regulations.
# You can control the quality and efficiency of the products used, as per your budget.
# You are at liberty to construct extra floors or expand a single floor if the structure design permits.
# Owning a bungalow can give you a sense of great exclusivity and prestige.
# You can indulge in gardening on the adjacent land parcel.
# While involving higher capital expenditure, a house/bungalow also offers greater returns.
Cons of owning a house or bungalow:
# You are completely on your own when it comes to applying for such critical amenities like electricity, water, gas pipelines and the like. This process could be both tedious and costly.
# Obtaining the various necessary green signals from the appropriate authorities can be another painstaking process and also cost a bomb, not to speak of delays in construction if the clearances take time.
# Getting hold of a trustworthy contractor and then monitoring the entire construction process, including overseeing the workers can be a challenging and extremely time-consuming task.
# You will have to spend extra to hire your own security services.
# Without any built-in power backup, you will have to manage periods of power cuts on your own steam.
# Obtaining a home loan could be problematic since banks find it harder to assess independent houses.
# Creating parking space is often a problem.
Pros of owning a flat
# When you choose to buy an apartment, all the hassles of construction, including monitoring the workforce and dealing with the contractors, etc are not your concern.
# All the basic amenities like power and water supply, gas connection, etc are taken care of by the developers.
# Your flat comes with a reliable centralized security system which is part of the common area maintenance (CAM) package.
# You are likely to get other shared facilities like a swimming pool, clubhouse with sports facilities, gym, banquets and even a coffee shop or restaurant perhaps.
# You will be assured of your designated parking slot.
# Obtaining housing finance is easier since most apartment complexes have pre-approved loan arrangements with banks.
# Resale of flats is much easier since the ticket sizes are smaller and ownership is more convenient.
# Cost of maintenance is lower since it’s a shared expenditure.
# You have ready access to a pool of handymen services including plumber, electrician, carpenter, etc.
Cons of owning a flat
# If you want to make any modifications/extension to your apartment, you might be thwarted by restrictions imposed by the housing society.
# Owning a pet could become a problem because of lack of space or an objecting next-door neighbour.
# Sometimes there could be a loud party next door and you might have to stay up all night thanks to the noise.
# You cannot do any independent add-ons or modifications.
# You pay regular CAM charges even if you don’t use all the amenities, and this tariff undergoes an annual hike.
# You have little control over quality of construction and might have to suffer later trying to fix things.
So, it’s difficult to pick a clear winner since both the formats have inherent advantages and disadvantages. If you have a big budget and lots of leisure to monitor construction activity and run after the contractor, you might think of buying a plot of land and building a bungalow. However, few actually have that leeway in today’s high-speed life. Hence, for more people, particularly in metro cities, it seems an apartment is a safer bet these days, which involves much less hassle and also offers a community living experience that is great news for children and the elderly.
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