While evaluating options for an apartment, a home buyer is frequently confronted with the question of which apartment to choose: one in a ‘large gated community’ or in a ‘standalone building’.
The answer to this question lies in the requirements, preferences, and the budget constraints/flexibilities of a home buyer. It also depends on the kind of lifestyle a home buyer prefers.
What matters is the home buyers’ definition of convenience, comfort and utility with respect to these two options. So, let us understand the pros and cons of both ‘gated community apartments’ build on acres of spread, and ‘apartments ensconced in a standalone building’ built on a smaller residential plot.
The final decision of which to purchase depends on the choice one makes by making an informed decision.
The article is meant to offer a balanced view of both the options, which a home buyer can choose basis one’s preferences, requirements and financial resources.
The basic difference between Gated Community and Standalone Apartment
An apartment in a standalone building normally is a much cheaper option compared to apartments in a gated community, usually having a better location, lesser amenities/facilities, and yet surrounded with good social infrastructure nearby
An apartment, on the contrary, is a larger gated community complex, which is normally a more expensive option, and comes loaded with host of facilities, amenities offering good socially connecting opportunities
Let us dwell upon both the options in greater detail…
Availability of large land parcels: a challenge in densely populated areas for Gate Community
‘Gated community residential projects’ are built upon a larger land parcel which usually runs into acres, and is not like a ‘standalone building project’ which is constructed on a much ‘smaller residential plot’, usually ranging between 500 square yards to 2000 square yards in size.
When a home buyer has a locational preference, especially a ‘high density population area’ with smaller plot sizes, then finding residential community apartment projects becomes difficult.
In already inhabited and well-populated locales, one can only find apartments constructed as part of standalone buildings; this is because large land parcel in the existing densely populated are normally just not available.
Why are apartments in standalone buildings cheaper?
Should such a large land parcel be available in high density areas, their procurement costs get higher for the builder, and with all the common amenities and facilities, the price of the dwelling units further shoots up.
An apartment in a standalone building with similar internal apartment specifications like an apartment in a gated complex costs almost 20% to 40% lesser.
It is the add-ons (facilities, parking and amenities) because of which the price of apartments/houses in a gated community residential complexes goes-up.
The builders in such large apartment complexes are required to provide for internal roads, parking options, and horde of amenities which may include a gym, a club house, play-courts for different sports, open lawns, visitors parking etc.
The cost of such gated community apartments also depends on the FAR or FSI (Floor Area Ratio or Floor Space Index), which is permitted by the civic municipal bodies.
The FAR/FSI determines the total covered area in square foot that can be constructed on a given plot. Lower the FAR, higher the per unit price, since the builder gets lesser opportunity to recover the costs due to these regulations.
‘Gated community apartments’ vs. ‘standalone building apartments’
Weighing the pros and cons of ‘gated community complexes’ and ‘standalone building apartments’
Clearly, large gated communities provide for a considerably higher social connect, are high on security features with guards changing shifts round the clock,
having a well-regulated entry and exit of visitors, and maintenance activities on all the facilities
and specifications provided to keep them working well throughout the year.
This kind of large scale operation, and dedicated monitoring of multifarious activities is normally not available to the standalone apartments owing to cost constraints.
Certain gated community complexes are located in organized townships that run into hundreds of acres,
and these are usually very premium on pricing, specifications and amenities/facilities.
The lifestyle quotient offered by such projects in ‘gated community apartments’ is higher,
and the demand for such projects are much higher in localities closer to job/employment hubs.
However, in the very same areas, the demand of standalone apartments
is also very high considering the proximity to the central locations, and the work spaces/offices.
The ‘ease of commute to the job hubs’, and ‘cost of both buying and renting’
makes the standalone building apartments very lucrative to a certain utility and budget conscious gentry.
The standalone buildings with apartments are also a big preference by those who seek a low density living,
and are looking for preferred, natural habitat, normally surrounded by more independent houses, where large projects are just not possible.
With an apartment in a standalone building complex, a home buyer is able to avoid additional costs pertaining to facilities and amenities
like swimming pool, gymnasium, sports areas (squash/basket-ball/tennis/badminton courts, skating rinks, cricket-practice nets, golf putting greens etc.). This is where standalone buildings score over gated community projects.
On the positive side, the gated communities are usually located in peaceful surroundings, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
They provide for a cleaner and relatively noise-pollution free living.
This means that they score higher on the lifestyle quotient. It is a pleasure living and seeing families gather together,
sitting on the benches placed in the large open-parks, watching children play in the open areas,
engaging in sporting activities, enjoying a swim during hot summer,
or celebrating festivals in open areas or clubhouse all year round.
The appeal of stringent security checks also gives the home buyers an added sense of safety in bigger gated communities.
Having said that, the overall risk to a buyer on getting possession and
promised amenities is usually considered to be higher for the buyer of an apartment in a gated community.
Conversely, the risk factor on promised amenities and timelines of delivery are much lesser in standalone building.
Do the apartments in standalone buildings score less on attractiveness?
The answer is a big NO! The lure of standalone apartments are high for the tremendous value they offer. Not only are they cheaper, but normally score high on locational advantages.
The social infrastructure in and around such standalone building,
usually, more than adequately covers-up for the lack of facilities within the gated community complex.
Added to this, the attraction of low-maintenance pay-outs makes standalone building very attractive and easy on the pocket.
Consequently, the rental one can expect or pay is lesser in standalone building. Moving into a standalone building as a tenant is usually preferred by families who are driven by budgetary considerations,
or desire an easier commute to their place of work or elsewhere.
How to find a good builder for a standalone building apartment?
One factor that a home buyer needs to be cautious while purchasing an apartment in a standalone buildings is the
credibility and reputation of the builders.
Many small scale builders are operating in this space, and launch standalone building or mini-projects. Hence, it becomes difficult for the home buyer to ascertain their credibility and professional competence in delivering quality projects.
While this lacuna is largely taken care by the standards and controls established by
RERA and permissions by civic authorities like GHMC in Hyderabad.
Yet, the extent to which the builders are committed in making a quality offering
is something a home buyer must assess independently before opting for a standalone building.
A home buyer is faced with the challenge of competing demands of family members,
varying needs of all the members, different requirements, multiple priorities, and a limited budget.
However, a final choice has to be made between the two options viz. a ‘gated community apartment’ and a ‘standalone building apartment’.
Both the options are fabulous in their own way since both constitute a home buyer’s living abode! Although, a free-standing standalone residential building offers lesser facilities and amenities, it is high on locational advantage and economically priced.
Similarly, an apartment in a gated community complexes and townships has a thrill of its own,
comprising host of facilities for a superior living experience for self and the family.
Being located away from the noise, traffic, and pollution in these social-islands offer a lifestyle replete with amenities and facilities,
although at a higher cost!
To put it simply, those who seek ‘lesser benefits for much lesser price’, and a preferred location with high functional utility opt for a STANDALONE building apartment.
Whereas, those who seek ‘more benefits for a higher price’, are comfortable being a little away from preferred high-density locations, and crave for more amenities and facilities
offering a higher lifestyle quotient opt for an apartment in a spacious GATED COMMUNITY complex or township.
Both the options have their own unique advantages and benefits, and a home buyer should choose the one that works best for the home buyer’s self and family requirements.
The home buyer eventually ‘picks the one’ having gone through all the thinking, debating and evaluating! An individual eventually zeroes-in on the one option that satisfies most of the critical factors!
Both are fabulous home options depending on how comfortable the decision makes you feel!
After all, “…the ultimate luxury is being able to relax and enjoy your home!”[Jeff Lincoln]