The Kenyan market in recent years has had an influx of houses and apartments which are available for sale and rent. This allows you to choose what type of home you want or desire. Houses are usually alone in a compound or in the case of gated communities semidetached. Apartments are usually in blocks of one or more. Depending on the type of home you will buy or rent there are some advantages and disadvantage.Advantages when you buy or rent a:-
An independent house provides you greater degree of freedom. You can come and go at your leisure. Ability to design the house as per your wish. You do not have to get permission from anyone. And you can make future modification. Yard Space for a garden, even for keeping livestock (chickens) and for when you have visitors you can put up a tent.
More privacy for nobody will be able to see what you are doing in your own compound. You can always expand the house as per requirement in the future when your children grow up. You can develop the higher floors when you want to make some additional income through rent. You can have something to pass on to your kids. Some houses stay in the family for generations.
Disadvantages of a house
Security is a concern and will come at a significant cost i.e if you want to keep a watchman or gate keeper.
Facilities such as power backup (especially if you want to install generators to run A/C’s etc) and water supply would be expensive and a maintaining the same would be a hassle.
You would need to get access to external clubs and sport facilities. This would be an expensive proposition for e.g monthly access to a good gym could cost you anywhere between Ksh 12500/- to Ksh 23500/-.
Services such as plumbers, electricians etc would need to be identified and called for at the time of need.
If you have a job which requires you to be traveling to different cities, then security of your household goods would be a cause for worry.
Advantages of an apartment
One of the key advantage of an apartment is security for your family members in the event you are traveling or for the expensive house hold goods.
Facilities such as power and water backup would help you to live a hassle free life. The scarcity of power and good water is becoming a serious problem in most top cities and the problem is expected to escalate more in the future.
An apartment which is part of a large development will have a well maintained garden and landscaping as part of the complex. This will provide space for you and your family to take a stroll and relax.
Club facilities will provide you access to gym, sports, swimming pool etc which will help you to lead an active and healthy life – a must need in the current high stress environment.
Services such as plumber, electrician are available on call (from the society) which will help to reduce the hassle of maintaining your home.
If you own an apartment and you get transferred, some societies help the apartment owners to rent out the apartment which will enable you to generate revenue from the asset with limited efforts.
No war of words with neighbor for parking space which has become a daily phenomenon in the larger cities. The parking slots are well defined and allocated in case of flats.
Apartment complexes have staff that comes to collect payments for usage of utilities such as electricity, water, internet etc which removes any hassle of setting reminders for making payment.
Disadvantages of an apartment
Maintenance of the common facilities would come at a cost. The service charge ranges from Ksh 1000 to ksh 10000 (for luxury properties) per month.
Limited or no freedom to make modifications to the outside of your home.
Very limited space to develop interests such gardening or growing smaller farm animals (societies mostly object to the same).
Sound seepage between the wall of the adjoining apartments or voice from lower or higher floor could irritate you and visa verse especially if your neighbor works at night.
No flexibility to expand the space for future needs as your children grow or if your parents move in to live with you.