Serviced Apartment vs Condo – What's The Difference?

Serviced apartments provide a convenient and home-away-from-home feel, and are an increasingly popular choice for long-term stays. So with a different price point and living environment, is that serviced apartment really worth it compared to a regular condo? Read on to find out!
service apartment, service apartment malaysia

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Choices, choices, choices. Everyone loves choices! When it comes to apartments for rent, Malaysia offers more than a few.

But with so many options to choose from, it can be tough to compare the benefits between a regular condominium or a serviced apartment.  

With all those choices on the market, we thought it would be helpful to explore the differences in detail. Why are some renters choosing serviced accommodation over condominiums?

Is it just because they’re more convenient, or is there something special about that cared-for, homely feel? Let’s take a closer look!

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What Is A Serviced Apartment?

Serviced apartments are basically fully-furnished units, with regular housekeeping and convenient nearby amenities like supermarkets.

They're generally more affordable than hotels, especially if you’re planning for a longer stay. Of course like most questions about property, there are some key points that can change that equation - amenities and location.

For example, if the lodging is near KLCC or other popular tourist destinations, it'll be pricier than if you rented a stay on the outskirts of Selangor.

Serviced apartments are commercially-titled, thus, the laws and taxes governing this type of property are completely different. 

 

Differences Between A Condominium And A Serviced Apartment

Although condominiums and serviced apartments have amenities that are rather similar, there are actually some notable differences between both property types.

One clear difference between the two is that a service apartment is almost always flagged for commercial use, as opposed to residential stays at condominiums. Here are some key differences: 

1) Land status

A condominium is registered as a private residential area, with its individual units owned by different people/ owners.

Serviced apartments are built on land registered for commercial use, and operate more like hotels. They tend to have a single owner who owns all units in the building.

2) Price point

Cost Is King! And here’s the reality of the kingdom - the different price range between serviced apartments and condominiums.

service apartment, service apartment malaysia

As serviced apartments sit on commercial land, owners need to fork out higher amounts for costs such as quit rent, electricity and water charges, as well as monthly maintenance fees. 

For example, the minimum water tariff in Malaysia for domestic use in Kuala Lumpur or Putrajaya is RM6. For commercial use, this amount is six times higher at RM36!

The minimum electricity tariff in Malaysia for residential use is RM3, while the low-voltage commercial tariff is RM7.20.

Just take a look at the table to see how consumption costs can vary between residential (condominium) and low-voltage commercial (serviced apartment):

Tariff A - Domestic (Residential) Tariff

Current Rate (1 Jan 2018)

For the first 200 kWh (1 - 200 kWh) per month

21.80 sen/kWh

For the next 100 kWh (201 - 300 kWh) per month

33.40 sen/kWh

For the next 300 kWh (301 - 600 kWh) per month

51.60 sen/kWh

For the next 300 kWh (601 - 900 kWh) per month

54.60 sen/kWh

For the next kWh (901 kWh onwards) per month

57.10 sen/kWh

 

Tariff B - Low-Voltage Commercial Tariff

Current Rate (1 Jan 2018)

For the first 200 kWh (1 - 200 kWh) per month

43.5 sen/kWh

For the next kWh (201 kWh onwards) per month

50.9 sen/kWh

Local authorities such as the Shah Alam City Council also impose slightly higher assessment rates for serviced apartments, compared to landed and stratified residential properties.  

They charge just 3.5% assessment rate on stratified properties such as condominiums, but 5% on serviced apartments.  Let’s explore a general overview of comparative costs!

Financial Obligation

Serviced Apartment vs. Condominium

Utility Deposits

Higher for Serviced Apartment

Utility Charges

Higher for Serviced Apartment

Quit Rent

Higher for Serviced Apartment

Assessment Tax

Higher for Serviced Apartment

Maintenance Fees

Tend to be Higher for Serviced Apartment

It’s pretty clear to see why serviced apartment renters usually have to bear higher rental costs. 

3) Environment 

Condominiums are more suited for families as they provide shared, non-exclusive amenities such as a swimming pool, gym, and party rooms. Woohoo, party room!!

If you're looking to rent a condominium unit, there’s also a chance you’re going to be living in a more bustling and active environment.

Although bustling does also sometimes mean more noise. We blame the party room.

Serviced apartments, on the other hand, have fewer units and cater to short- and long-term stays. They're also usually right above, or next to, shopping malls.

service apartment, service apartment malaysia

 

Rental Rates For Serviced Apartments

Rental prices for serviced apartments vary according to the services and facilities they provide. Depending on the length of your stay, some places may offer you a discount for longer periods of time. There are real benefits in being a repeat customer!

A fully-furnished apartment unit can cost about RM2,400 per month. Such apartments will come with the basic necessities. While they aren't five-star experiences, they're pleasant enough. 

You can definitely find cheaper rentals starting from RM1,200 per month, but these may not come with comprehensive facilities (for example, you may find they don’t provide bed sheets).

On the other end of the scale are the luxury serviced apartments. These are high-end, and more extravagantly furnished. Such serviced apartments usually cost at least RM10,000 a month.

 

Serviced Apartments Worth Looking Into!

Here’s a list of serviced apartments that we recommend. They're all well-maintained, well-furnished, have great facilities, and are located in city areas with convenient access to top amenities.

1) Regalia Residence

service apartment, service apartment malaysia

service apartment, service apartment malaysia

These beautiful units come with 1, 2, 3 bedrooms, or in a Studio type, and the costs vary from RM1,500 to RM3,500 for a month’s stay (depending on the size and furnishings). It’s fancy, and it knows it, and we love it.

Located at the heart of KLCC, it is known for its stunning infinity pool that offers a magnificent view of the city. There’s a rooftop restaurant, convenience store, gym and more all under one roof.

2) Tropicana The Residences

service apartment, service apartment malaysia

service apartment, service apartment malaysia

Priced from RM3,000 to RM9,000 per month, these luxuriously upmarket residences are perfect for solitary stays or sharing with a partner. Now, imagine the stress just melting away as soon as you step foot into your own cocoon.

Tropicana The Residences provides round-the-clock security and boasts a beautiful sky lounge. It’s also conveniently located next to a few bus stops and supermarkets.

3) KL Trillion

service apartment, service apartment malaysia

service apartment, service apartment malaysia

KL Trillion is a luxury serviced apartment located a mere stone’s throw away from the MRT. It boasts various facilities such as a jogging track, jacuzzi, and swimming pools.

Priced affordably for 3-4 people, rentals can start at over RM3,000 a month. If you require a larger accommodation, you can also check out a bigger service suite (5 bedrooms, no less), going for a cool RM9,600 a month.

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Whether you’re looking at renting a condominium or want the benefits of a serviced apartment, remember to consider your needs and budget carefully before making a decision. But if you're looking to buy one for investment purposes, then check out our guide on How To Spot A Great Property Investment Opportunity!

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