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Take your pick. Builder floor or high rise

Builder floor apartments are nothing new. Buildings which have only two or three apartments covering the entire floor have been there, ever since the 60s when Indian metros such as Chennai and Bangalore started their growth trajectory. However, builder floor apartments have come back, much like the miniskirts, in brighter and better formats.

Today builder floor apartments are the choice of the aspiring class as these apartments are seen as an alternative to independent villas and deluxe penthouses.  Increasingly, builders are constructing buildings with three or four floors in a medium sized plot in a residential layout.

These builder floor apartments are now making their appearance in smaller metros as well.

People often ask what is the big deal about a builder floor apartment and how different would it be living in one these apartment as opposed to living in a high rise.

The first basic difference is that builder floors are in general just three or four floors while high rise apartment complexes have many more floors. The second difference is that there would be only one residence on each floor, so there is greater privacy for the family. While in a high rise there are many apartments of varying sizes which lead to more occupants on each floor.

In addition to this, the builder floor apartment is aspirational and targets the home buyer who does not want group housing but wants an independent house and really cannot afford a villa or a bungalow.

Builder floor apartments are generally more expensive mainly because they are targeted at the well heeled buyer who desires and asks for high end fittings. These home buyers value their privacy and are willing to pay for it. High rise apartments on the other hand are less expensive (the price would depend on a number of factors including location) and often come with the plug and play option. Space utilization is more efficient in high rise apartments, in general.

One big plus in favour of high rise apartments is that they offer far more amenities than the builder floor apartments. High rises generally have a club house, laundry facilities, play area for kids, party areas, swimming pools and power back-up community halls. These apartment complexes also have a 24×7 security cover. High rise apartments are best suited for people who like community living.

A person living in a builder floor apartment could, of course, get full time security and 24×7 power back up but the costs would not be shared. The main advantage for a home buyer to invest in a builder floor apartment is the cost factor when compared to an independent villa or bungalow.  The builder floor apartment allows the home owner a better lifestyle while not hurting the purse.

Owners of builder floors are exempt from paying out huge amounts as maintenance and other common use charges.  On the flip side, the maintenance of the building would have to be managed by the home owners themselves, which could turn out be quite tiresome especially if they are holding down high flying jobs.

Many of the builder floor apartments are built by small time developers and are mostly seen in Delhi – National Capital Region, Bangalore and Chennai. Since land cost in Mumbai is much higher, these smaller developments are not economically feasible. In most cases, the builder floor apartments are part of a redesign when the builder revamps an older building.

Of course, all the usual rules for buying a home also apply for builder floor apartments. Make sure that the builder has a good standing in the market. Enquire when the apartment would be ready and whether there are any hidden costs.

One thing to remember is that the home buyer is eligible for a proportionate freehold ownership of the plot on which the builder floor apartment is constructed.  The sale of the builder floor, like any other property, has to be registered.

Nina Varghese for IndiaProperty.com

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