The Benefits of Apartment Living
Buying a home is one of the most stressful life experiences that you will ever encounter. There is so much to consider, such as type of home, tenure, location, benefits, schools, facilities, design, solicitors etc.….the list goes on.
As a Managing Agent whose main business is to maintain blocks of apartments and communal estates of houses throughout the UK, we understand the benefits of so many different types of properties, and what they mean to our customers whom reside in them.
This month, we are focusing on the feedback of our Apartment customers, and the benefits they have encountered through apartment living….
Location & Building
One of the best things about apartment living, is there are so many variations when it comes to types of properties to choose from, from new build structures, city centre conversions, skyscrapers, converted mills, Grade I & II listed properties, old country estates, even castles! Apartment Living can give you the ability to live in a property that you could initially could only have dreamed of! Imagine walking the grounds of your country estate, swimming in your luxury pool, or walking out into the bustle of a metropolis to explore, apartment living is not just a home, it is a lifestyle!
Are you a keen fitness fanatic? Are you a busy individual? Apartment services can vary greatly, from those homely feels within smaller developments, to offerings such as extensive fitness and leisure suites in larger developments, cafes and shops at ground floor levels for your daily caffeine fix on the way to work, or within some buildings you may have a professional concierge service that can offer additional benefits such as the collection of parcels, dry-cleaning, transport arrangements etc. Always check what additional benefits could be available to you, and check to see what is included within your service charge, and what comes at an additional cost.
One of the beauties of apartment living is the sense of community that some buildings can bring. For individuals who may have retired, moved to a new geographical area, or for those who live on their own, there are many apartment buildings where community is key and these offer facilities such as communal lounges, leisure facilities such as gyms & pools, gardening committees, communal grounds, resident meet and greet events, and of course, the Annual General Meeting (AGM) to discuss your developments business/matters.
Many apartment buildings may offer security services, CCTV, concierge or just the reassurance that someone, such as a neighbour will always be around. As a result, instances of burglaries are significantly lower in apartment buildings vs. houses, and the added security of gates, door entry systems, security systems, and/or concierge/security staff, provide additional reassurance.
Sharing the Upkeep
Unlike living in your own house where you would be responsible for your own gardening and building maintenance, many apartments are maintained communally, whereby all residents pay a service charge towards the upkeep of the building, the insurance, the communal benefits/services, and collect a sinking fund/contingency fund so that when items of large expenditure are required, funds are available to cover the cost of these works. Discussions regarding the above items at resident managed schemes is usually done at each years AGM to ensure everyone is happy with how the building is run, to discuss the accounts of previous year’s expenditure, and to plan for the upcoming years. It is vital as an apartment owner that you try to engage with these meetings where possible to ensure you have a say in how your building is run. Well run buildings and communal estates add value to the apartment properties, and ensure they are protected and well maintained for many years to come.
As an apartment owner, you are generally known as a “leaseholder”, as you own a lease to a property, as opposed to owning a physical building. Your lease sets out for how many years you can lease the apartment, how often rent and service charges should be paid, and what things you can and cannot do while living in the building. It is vital you always ask your solicitor to go through these clauses with you when considering to purchase an apartment property. The lease may include restrictions such as prohibiting pets, restricting parking, prohibiting instruments etc, as this may disturb the quiet enjoyment of your neighbours. If, for example you were a pet-owning piano player with a car, you would need to be careful to ensure that you would not breach any restrictions should choose to live within the apartment building. The good news is that while this may seem restrictive, these rules are in place to protect residents to ensure that these clauses are not abused, and allow a managing agent to instigate action against any breaches that protect the enjoyment of all residents in their property alike. This gives the leaseholder far more benefits in the event of neighbourly disputes.
Cheaper to Purchase
Apartments are generally cheaper to purchase than a house and lower property values generally result in a lower Council Tax banding. Apartments also give a leaseholder the ability to live in an area like a city centre where owning a house would usually be prohibitively expensive. The cost of apartments is also dependent on the communal facilities in place, such as if there are leisure facilities to be maintained, large areas of grounds etc. Therefore when purchasing an apartment it is vital to check not just the price of the property, but also what the service charge cost is each month, any large items of expenditure due such as major buildings works etc. (and if there are funds already in place to cover the cost of these), and whom is managing the block. Unfortunately some residents/agents may set budgets lower to make these more attractive/affordable for leaseholders, which means levies may then be raised for items of large expenditure if there are no funds to cover these costs, so it is always best to check.
Most sensible Managing Agents such as ourselves, would always suggest that budget setting is approached with caution, and that realistic budgets are set so that the costs can be spread throughout the years. Our aim is to deliver value for money and the highest quality management and maintenance at all times, and we work exceptionally hard to strike the delicate balance of quality and cost in a thorough and considered manner, in compliance with client instructions and bringing about significant improvements in the satisfaction of residents.
If you would like a quote for Realty to manage your apartment development, then please do not hesitate to contact us on 0161 474 7677 or at firstname.lastname@example.org