When buying a home, a first-time homebuyer has to consider various issues. First on the list would be the budget – how much is he willing to spend and how much can he afford. Then, the buyer would have to decide on the location and type of property where he would want to live – should it be a condominium, a landed home or a cluster home?
In deciding on the type of property, homebuyers may have immediate preferences either due to perceived increase in comfort level (already enjoying facilities in condominium) or current living conditions (living in terraced home and would not want to move to an apartment).
Strata property vs landed home
If security is a concern, then a buyer can go for a terraced home in a gated and guarded scheme or a secured condominium unit – both of which require the payment of security fees/service charges.
A condominium unit will also do well for buyers looking for the convenience of various amenities and facilities.
A landed property would be the obvious choice for buyers wanting to have a garden or own a pet dog.
However, there are some high-rise developments with garden terraces at its condominium units, enabling buyers to have a mini-garden within their high-rise homes.
Residents of high-rise developments are also governed by a management corporation which prescribes the living conditions – from internal unit noise level, usage of facilities, management of waste disposal to design of security grilles for windows and external doors.
But those purchasing condo units will spend less on renovations due to building restrictions than those purchasing landed homes as there is more flexibility of extensions.
Overall, properties with similar built-up area will not have much difference in prices. Once maintenance fees/service charges are added into the monthly loan instalments for condominium units, the amount would more or less be the same to that paid for a landed property of the same size.
It has to be noted, however, that this would only be relevant in densely-populated Klang Valley, where condominium prices and service charges are high.
Officially known as strata-landed housing, cluster homes is the choice for those longing for the exclusiveness associated with landed homes but want the convenience of recreational facilities at their doorstep.
This type of housing developments may be two or three storeys high and may comprise bungalows, terrace and semi-detached houses either singly or in combination.
They are deemed similar to townhouses but with different settings and layouts. Notably, townhouses are usually co-located with high-rise apartments while cluster housings comprise solely of landed homes.
Townhouses are generally laid out in uniform street blocks while cluster homes may be built in non-standard forms and linked in clusters – enabling for different permutations and layouts.
Cluster housing is also likened to a marriage between condominium and landed housing — the units have ground contact, just like landed homes, but have the perks and convenience of condominium living with communal facilities like swimming pool, security, gymnasium, playground and jacuzzi.
Notably, it uses the strata title arrangement to define the extent of the communal facilities and private areas. Maintenance of facilities at this type of housing becomes more affordable for owners through cost-sharing.
Cluster homes also come with attached basement car park – taking away the ills of roadside parking normally associated with landed homes.
Eventually, choosing the type of property all boils down to the buyer’s preference –whether it be a strata property, landed home or a cluster home. All have their pros and cons. And just like all the important questions in the property market, the answer would just be a matter of personal choice.