Akshay is on the lookout for an apartment in Bengaluru. He has a budget of about 85 lakhs. He has zeroed in on 2 projects. ‘Project ‘Rose’ comprises 70 flats and ‘Project Jasmine’ comprises 937 flats. Both projects are quite near to his workplace and have good connectivity.

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Project Rose consists of 2 towers with 35 residential units each spread over 1 acre of land. It has basic amenities like a mini gymnasium, security guard, a small play area, basement parking, a common party hall which can house 50-60 people. The yearly maintenance comes to about Rs 12,000/- which is inclusive of electricity of the common area, garbage collection, lift management etc.

Project Jasmine consists of 10 towers and 937 residential units which over is spread over 8 acres. It has some very good community and commercial facilities like a club house, swimming pool, kids play pool, bank and ATM, reserved/guest parking, retail basement shops, indoor games room, jogging and strolling track, gymnasium, tennis/badminton court, basketball court etc. The yearly maintenance comes to about Rs 60,000/-

Akshay seems confused as to whether to go for Project Rose or Jasmine. He is a Sales executive by profession whose job involves travelling across Europe for more than half a month. He is married with no issues. His senior citizen parents stay with him. He is in a fix whether to invest his money into a large size project with all modern amenities or a mid-size with fairly decent facilities and less residents. He is at the same time uncertain whether the nature of his job would actually allow him to enjoy and make full use of the facilities available to him in big size apartments. Akshay is also contemplating as to where his parents would be more comfortable and safe considering he is always on the move, travelling for work.

So let us help solve his dilemma. Here are some points that Akshay should keep in mind before deciding on which project he should go for i.e. a high rise or a big size project with large number of apartments or a mid-size project with fewer. Builder Floors also fall under the category of mid-size projects with low rise buildings of 4 floors or less.

Maintenance and Recurring Costs

Apartments with more units means more amenities will be available to a potential buyer. Facilities such as a gym, party hall, swimming pool, kids swimming pool are the most common ones. However such facilities are not usually free and there will be a monthly maintenance that is attached to the use of these facilities. Monthly membership charges could range between Rs 3000 to Rs 10,000. Also such amenities shall be professionally managed and maintained in a better way.

On the other hand a mid-size project with lesser units would have less or no amenities like a swimming pool etc but in proportion to it the maintenance charges towards it would also be less. Builder floors however despite being mid-size projects can be very costly in terms of maintenance as they may have been constructed for high end home buyers providing limited but very high standard amenities like spa, temperature controlled swimming pools etc.  

So here the important factor is the recurring costs. Apartments with larger units since the amenities are more, the recurring costs per month shall also be high in order to avail such facilities.

Security

Another important factor to be looked into is security. Most apartments with more units tend to have a better level of security and also a 2 tier security. Details of all visitors are recorded for future use.  Usually any new visitor to the apartment premises, would have to state his name, contact details and the name of the person he is visiting to the manned security at the entrance. The security would then call the resident to confirm the credentials using an intercom facility. The visitor shall also have to be photographed with  a webcam.

On the other hand, mid-size projects would generally not have stringent verification of visitors using a 2 tier security feature which could end up compromising security. Also apart from visitors, even salesmen, hawkers could easily get thoroughfare due to the absence of a strict security check making the residents vulnerable.

Safety

Large projects especially high rise ones may be be better equipped to handle a fire, short circuit etc. as they will take more safety precautions considering the potential number of people at risk. Most high rises tend to have an emergency exit or fire extinguishers at each floor. In comparison, a mid-size project may tend to overlook the safety aspect and may have safety concerns during an emergency. But since mid-size projects, usually only have ground floor and additional 3 floors, evacuation to safety incase of an emergency would not be as difficult as a high rise project.

Safety is an important aspect with any apartment type. The number of people in a given apartment can make a huge difference at the time of evacuation in an emergency. If a large number of people are constricted in a small given area, evacuation operations may even cause a stampede due to the high volume of people trying to make a beeline towards a safer place. Since elevators are shut down, and stair cases being the only option, eviction in emergencies is a daunting task more so with a high ratio of people in proportion to the area.

Also Read: 2 BHK vs 3 BHK at same price – Which one to buy?

Inclusiveness

Larger projects have more units thus in turn having many residents. Such apartments do not tend to be inclusive of everyone in the apartment and residents are generally constricted to their individual towers. Not everyone may be interested in participating in the community get together events citing lack of not knowing people around them. Thus a certain aloofness creeps in.

But such may not be the case in mid-size projects. There tends to be a personal relation with fellow flat members as we end up seeing the same crowd more often than not and there is a close knit feeling. An individual does not just end up being a number in the crowd. On the contrary, builder floors can offer a very private living owing to the preference of high end buyers buying them. 

Sea of People

Large projects have a swarm of people in the parking lots or elevators making the whole environment a bit noisy and crowded especially at peak hours. People who prefer some calmness and tranquility would opt for mid-size projects where the decibel levels are more lower compared to high rises.

Neighbourhood of Your Choice

Many mid-size apartment projects may have residents with similar lifestyle, food habits etc and one may end up having neighbours of similar tastes. Such may not be the case in large projects where residents can be of varied lifestyle, food habits etc.

Seeking Consensus

All apartments over a period of time have to have an association or society and get the same registered. Once such a body is formed, it shall have a governing council with its elected office bearers. These societies then lay down the rules, regulations, bye-laws that are to be followed in the day to day running of the affairs of the apartment. Any minor or major decision pertaining to the apartment in general or an individual apartment can only be taken by consensus.

However in a high rise with so many residents seeking consensus could be a Herculean task. Individual issues may take a backseat and focus more often than not remains on issues that affect a larger group of people. Whereas on the other hand in mid-size projects, consensus seeking could be way much more easier as there will be a personal level touch to any issue to be decided. The chances of individual grievances being addressed in mid-size projects is very high.

Mismanagement of Funds

After any apartment has been completed and people have started residing, forming an association or society is of utmost importance. Such bodies take critical and day to day administrative and financial decisions. Apartments are usually managed using corpus funds or monthly collected maintenance fees. But with large size projects, there can be a scope of mismanagement of funds as the money pooled in as maintenance from all the houses need not be effectively spent on the purpose for which it was collected.

On the other hand, mid-size projects with only limited resources and money flow, it is easier to keep track of the money being spent for various development or recreational activity thus reducing the scope of mismanagement of funds.

Conclusion

Keeping the above points in the background, it is important for Akshay to decide on what kind of apartment he wants depending on his preferences. If Akshay is a person who values personal space more and who enjoys the high life wanting access to all the amenities, he would prefer moving into a large size project. On the other hand if Akshay enjoys a homely environment, likes personal interaction with other residents more often, likes being social, wants a friendly eco-system for his senior citizen parents, a mid-size project or builder floors would be apt for him.

A large size project could involve many residential units but in proportion to the number of people, the facilities provided may not be the same. At the same time, a mid-size or small project may provide not all but certain recreational facilities that could be enjoyed by all proportionately. The choice that Akshay needs to make is how best and how often would he be using the available recreational facilities and whether paying for the same is worth it in the longer run.

Both kind of apartments have their distinct advantages and disadvantages. It however depends on what a person prioritises and whether he feels it is worthwhile on spending a small fortune as maintenance fee to enjoy the recreational or community facilities. Other important aspects include security.

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