7 Disadvantages Of Living In A Flat (or condo) | Propertylogy

7 Disadvantages Of Living In A Flat

By on August 6, 2017

Following the commentary of advantages in living in a flat, I find it necessary to counter that argument with the cons of living in one too.

While there are indeed disadvantages to living in a landed house compared to apartments, that does not mean that only advantages exist for flats.

And it’s how an individual weighs up the pros and cons for both that ultimately determines which type of housing is best suited for his or her personal situation.

Without further ado, here are the main disadvantages of living in apartment flats.

1) Seldom freehold

This can be an immediate dealbreaker for a lot of buyers and investors.

Apartment units are often sold as leasehold property instead of freehold. This can be the case even when the land the building sits on is freehold.

When a flat is leasehold, it essentially means that you are not the outright owner of the property. You are only purchasing the right to use it for the period of the lease, usually 99 years.

While there are flats that do pass on freehold status, they are few and far between compared to the available leasehold. And when you do sieve them out, expect to be demanded a higher price.

2) Privacy

If you despise your privacy being compromised in any way, living in flats can be a real nightmare.

Neighbors in the opposite building might have a clear view of you while you are digging your nose with utmost pleasure while watching the TV on your sofa.

Bedrooms could be exposed when you forget to bring down the curtains.

And while bathrooms are usually designed in a manner where neighbors would not be able to peep into, it does not mean that people would not know when you are having a shower.

This is because walls are seldom sound proof and the water-splattering noise you make in the shower can be heard by neighbors especially in units directly above and below you. Which leads us to the next factor.

3) Noise

Living in close quarters along with other families can inevitably get noisy at times.

Noise can originate from things like:

  • The neighbors’ kids playing their electric guitars
  • Family quarrels on the unit below yours
  • Loud television sets next door
  • Children playing along the shared corridor walkway
  • Karaoke enthusiasts bursting their lungs out every Sunday
  • Pet dogs that have not been house-trained to keep quiet
  • Renovation in neighboring apartment units
  • Noisy air-conditioner units from neighbors
  • etc

It can be a real nightmare.

It’s not that you disagree with how others are living their lives. You have no reason to force your will on others. But it becomes an issue when what others do with their free time affects what you do with yours.

It’s not really conducive when there are children in the house when they need to revise for their exams or just doing homework.

If you are obsessed with noise levels, then visiting a place during different hours of the day might provide better insight of how much noise pollution a unit is affected by.

4) Remodeling restrictions

Remodeling in landed houses have to abide by the building codes. However, homeowners have a lot to work with while ensuring compliance.

It is a totally different story when it comes to flats.

The control you have is very limited.

There’s no way you can increase space by installing a deck. You need approval before tearing down a wall. You wouldn’t even have the freedom to relocate ugly pipes that are exposed.

There are a lot more restrictions. So much that it’s not possible to list them down here.

Just be mentally prepared for a mental breakdown if you have the full intention of designing the interiors of the home to your liking.

And this is just one area of concern in condominium agreements that impose controlling restrictions on owners.

5) Neighbors

Good neighbors will obviously be preferred. But there is no way you can choose your neighbors in communal living.

And if you happen to have conflicts with the neighbors around you… guess what?

There’s no way to avoid them! You’d probably see them a couple of times everyday!

And because of the sheer number households that might reside in a multi-family building, there’s also a higher chance of neighbors getting into disputes with each other.

In fact, neighbor disputes are common in apartment buildings.

Couple fights in the middle of the night for example can wake you up from your beauty sleep. And we all know that if a couple fight can occur once, the odds for it to happen again is very high.

These things can be disruptive to peace and the quality of living.

This is also why units with the least common walls tend to fetch the highest prices. e.g. corner units, top floor.

6) Hostile groups

Since occupants now live in a closer community, there is a higher tendency for factions and splinter groups to form.

This can either be good or bad for everyone.

If you are lucky, a group might form that make it a point to bring you breakfast in bed every morning.

If you have lucked out, these groups might make life difficult for you.

I’m not talking about gangster stuff here. But more political stuff.

For example, there might be a community vote for certain upgrading or maintenance to be done. And because large groups are only interested in their interest, your needs might be the last in the queue.

And if you are on the wrong side of them, you could be bullied in various ways.

You could very well become a target or become the focus of unsavory gossip if you don’t go along with their norms or interest.

7) Value appreciation

Unless the location of the flat is in a prime area, the appreciation of an apartment unit will more often than not be slower compared to a house.

There are many factors that affect real estate values. But generally speaking, the previous statement is true.

You might find that this is a non-issue if you are in it for the long term and only see the flat as a home.

But when the situation arise, you’d be looking at a lower equity loan and a lower selling price.

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