Do We Need all the Bells & Whistles?

All, Realty, Interior Contracting, Facility Management

Developers of residential buildings, in order to attract home buyers, are providing amenities that are way beyond necessities. But do we really need all these luxurious amenities and are they worth it? Let us look at a few points that would help explain it. 

 

 

To begin with, the basic amenities that are a must in a residential complex are: -

• Interiors – Acoustical treated windows, high-quality electrical wiring & plumbing fixtures are among the basic amenities that need to be provided inside a home

 

• Safety and security equipment - Security and safety is an important concern for every building. Offering round-the-clock security, automated access control, video door phones & an intercom system helps in creating a sense of security. A backup power generator, elevators with automatic rescue devices & a well-trained security agency which can organize regular emergency drills gives the resident the required comfort they need in their homes

 

• Children’s play area – A lawn or playground with equipment (Swing, See-saw, Monkey bar, etc.) is a must for families with children

 

• Parking Space – This is a top priority in the list of requirements for a resident. Ideally, this space should be covered

 

• A hall/open area for Community events - Open areas allow the members of the community to engage in social activities, and also in developing relationships internally with the residents of the building

 

• Gym & Swimming Pool – Workout rooms with a treadmill and other gym equipment on the premises will save the resident’s time from having to travel to health clubs. It will also save the cost in terms of expensive memberships

 

While projects would launch with only a swimming pool and a clubhouse a few years back, the recent trend is to offer additional amenities that may include a spa, mini theatre, home automation, white goods – A smart fridge, electric stove, a washing machine, dishwashers, etc. 

 

However, these additional amenities tend to increase costs of maintenance overheads as mentioned below:

 

Increase in CAM (Common Area Maintenance) Charges: The resident will have to pay for the maintenance and repair of the hi-end luxury amenities utilized by them as a part of the CAM Charges. The more the amenities, the higher the CAM charge that is paid by each resident. This is because additional amenities tend to increase the consumption of electricity & tend to increase the overall cost of maintenance & repairs. When renovations & refurbishments occur, normally once in every 5 to 7 years, redoing these amenities also increases the overall cost. 

 

Increase in CAPEX in the Long Run: Additional amenities such as spa’s, mini-theatres, automation systems have a limited life cycle, which means that the Residents or the Society will have to incur large capital expenses to replace these items once their useful life is complete. These items are typically fairly expensive & Residents are usually reluctant to infuse more funds towards the society or use funds from a Society’s corpus to pay for these expenses.

 

Increase in Electricity Charges for Individual Homes: Dishwashers, in-unit washer-dryers and electric stoves that are often offered in new homes also increase the resident’s electricity bills. Hence, electricity charges tend to become a lot higher than the charges that the homeowner would have previously paid.

 

Every purchaser needs to make an educated cost-benefit analysis of purchasing or renting an apartment in a building with additional amenities. Developers install added amenities without factoring in the cost of operating them in the long-run because it makes it easier for them to appeal to the consumers into buying apartments. However, we have often come across scenarios where residential housing societies neglect or replace these additional amenities in order to reign in maintenance costs, once they have taken over the management of the building from the developer.