The Concept of Low Cost Apartment in Nepal

Whenever, we see an advertisement in daily newspaper referring to Apartments available in 13 Lakhs to 14 Lakhs, we do not try to understand more about it. People rush to the Apartment office or the site office. I myself was very surprised, when I went to the Mero City Apartment office in Hattiban. The site was packed with visitors cars, as if a wedding reception was going on. Inside the office were around 20 Sales girls. All were busy explaining their apartment features to the customers. In fact, when I asked for the brochure, the number of brochure also had finished. The hall was packed with customers and I could see some bookings were done.

The model apartments and the computer aided 3D movie were in display. People were busy viewing it.

The price range of the Apartment was amazing. The price range of the Mero City Apartment varied from Nrs 1,500,000 for 1 BHK (386.45 sq.ft) to Nrs 4,000,000 for 3 BHK (1013 sq.ft)

Similarly Eastern Apartment by Aayusha Developers a subsidiary of Oriental Builders Pvt. Ltd in Kaushaltar also was a huge attraction for Apartment buyers.

The builders have opened the booking for only 348 of the total 448 apartments. However, they were able to sell 50% of the total booking in just first 5 days. The huge response from the customers surged the developer to call all the 448 units on booking.

Due to the huge demand, the developer requested the interested buyers to fill up an application form along with a cheque of NRs 10,000. The applicant would get the apartment on first come first serve basis.

These are the basic strategies for Developers which was already been implemented by Guna Colony for their sale of their Bhaisepati Apartment. Then, they had opened booking for the Bhaisepati Apartment price starting from 13 Lacks. There was huge respondent to the Apartments in Bhaisepati which was organized in the Real Estate Expo in Bhrikuti Mandap, Kathmandu.

Most of these apartment sizes is ranging from 386.45 sq.ft to 548 sq.ft. The apartment size of 300-500 Sq. ft is very small for a family to live in and are similar to Studio Apartments abroad. These kinds of Apartments can adjust 1/2 people in a family to live in. The Rooms are very tight and no space for adding more luxury items.

The customers must not just make their decision by viewing the 3D Modeled video. The actual room and the customers view before buying the apartment might actually just not match.

Another important factor to decide before making the booking is that the customer must check the background of the Apartment Developers. Normally, we must only trust experienced Apartment Developers. These low cost apartments that are coming up in the market have been raising huge amount of funds from the market for the Proposed Apartment/Housing. The delivery and execution of these apartments is a real challenge and we must wait and see, if they can really develop these projects and their handover to their customer. So far, the construction of any of these low cost apartments has not started yet.

Some established developers claim that the price the low cost apartments are offering is suspicious. Some claim that these low cost apartments are very expensive if one calculates the rate per sq ft. Such small apartment size is not feasible for a family to live in.

The Eastern Apartment is the least expensive with price per sq. ft of Nrs 2,890 followed by The Sun City. The most expensive is the Imperial Court. However the target market for both the apartments is completely different as Imperial Court is a Luxury Condominium.

And when we compare the different apartments, all has different facilities. Some important comparison factors of the facilities for different Apartments are as following:

1. Location of the Apartment
2. Number of Lifts
3. Size of the Balcony
4. Project Land Site Area
5. Size of the swimming pool
6. Open Area
7. Distance from the city
8. Quality of finishing goods and specification
9. Developers profile & Construction company associated

The Apartment buyers must also think in mind the extra facilities the Apartment has. Normally, these apartments will have very poor infrastructures and facilities. They might actually come up with a very small swimming pool & very less open space.

And not to forget is the fact that these low cost apartments come with hidden cost. Mero city Apartment comes with cement flooring. If you want a Parke ting or tiles on the floor, you will have to add all the internal decorative items for the Apartment.

Mero City offers the following features:

* Kitchen: Tiles, Sync

* Flooring: Cemented

* Wall: Distemper

Things you have to add by yourself

1. Mostly, the modular kitchen
2. Bathroom sanitary items
3. Electricity bulbs
4. Flooring Tiles or Parke ting

This will at least cost you Nrs 400,000 to 500,000 for the completion of the Apartment. So the Total cost for the 391 sq.ft Apartment is now Nrs 2,000,000 which actually brings the price per sq.ft for the Apartment to Nrs 5115.

Similar is the case of the Eastern Apartments. The Eastern Apartment comes with no finishing in the bathrooms. The buyers will have to finish the bathroom costs & Tiles which will also cost them minimum extra NRs 400,000 to 500,000 for their flats. This will cost the buyers of Eastern Apartment an average cost per sq ft of Nrs 3,608.

This is actually expensive than some of the other Apartments with better facilities. So the customers must be aware of the concept of the low cost apartment that is coming in the market and not be fooled by the price they are offering. One should always calculate the Rate per sq. ft.

How to Find the Perfect Buenos Aires Rental Apartment – And What to Avoid

Luckily, Buenos Aires is a city full of temporary rental apartments. This is great for the tourist because you can rent an apartment for a week for the price of one night at a hotel. Also, apartments have full kitchens so you can save money by cooking your own meals. In addition, the apartments are much larger than hotel rooms, and you have more privacy then staying in a hotel.

However, finding that perfect tourist apartment in Buenos Aires can be challenging. At first you might be saying to yourself, well as long as it had a bed and it is clean what do I care? While that may be true for some people, if you are planning on staying in Buenos Aires for more than a few days you will want to avoid some of the mistakes I have made in the past when renting an apartment there.

After renting several apartment in Buenos Aires I now know what to look for and what to avoid. Below are some tips that will help you find that ideal apartment and make your stay in Buenos Aires more enjoyable.

Neighborhood – Make sure to ask exactly where the apartment is located. This might sound strange but many people renting out their apartments market their apartments as being in the desirable neighborhoods of Recoleta and Palmero when they actually are not. In fact at first glance you might think that those are only the two neighborhoods in Buenos Aires! But this is just real estate agents and apartment brokers tricky efforts to falsely expand the borders of the most desired neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. Recoleta and Barrio Norte (these two neighborhoods are usually used to denote the same area, with Barrio Norte being closer to subway stops) is the best place to stay while in Buenos Aires.

Palermo is also nice with cool new restaurants and hip bars, but for me the barrio still has a way to go before it is as nice and established as Recoleta/Barrio Norte. There is too much graffiti and dog crap (watch your step while walking on Palermo sidewalks!) for me to suggest staying there over Recoleta. While some parts of Palermo can be quite charming it is just too big of a neighborhood to recommend it as a whole. Unless you know the specific location in Palermo is what you are looking for, it is best just to stick to Recoleta.

Noise – I read once that Buenos Aires is the noisiest city in the world. After a night trying to sleep in an apartment on the street side of a busy avenue you will agree. Loud buses and scooters with no mufflers will keep you up at night or annoy you during the day if you aren’t careful about your apartment choice. The most important factor is make sure the apartment is not located on the street side of a building. For more quiet you want an apartment in the back side of the building or “contrafrente” as it is sometimes listed in spanish. Secondly, it is preferable to be on a low traffic street. But, I have stayed in apartments on a busy street before but the building was so large and the apartment was so far in the back it was actually very quiet. Finally the higher up the apartment the better, so look for an apartment on a high floor. However, I stayed in an apartment once that was on the 11th floor but it was still very noisy because it was on the street side. Therefore, the most important factor in having a quiet stay in Buenos Aires is look for an apartment on the back side of the building.

Rooms – In Argentina a one bedroom apartment is called a two room apartment. So don’t be shocked when you arrive and the “two room” apartment you rented is not a two bedroom, but an apartment with a living room and a bedroom. Likewise a studio apartment is called a “one room” apartment or “monoambiente” in spanish. Just make sure you are getting the right number of rooms you want when you rent, or ask for a floor plan before you decide to put down that deposit.

Bed(s) – The eyes can be deceiving is what I learned when I rented what I thought was a perfect apartment. I even went to see the apartment before I decided to rent it. But I was fooled by the queen sized comforter covering up two single beds pushed together. Now some people might prefer this if you are two people traveling together and you want your own tiny bed, however there were queen sheets on the bed so you would have to ask for two sets of single sheets and more blankets to have two beds anyway (which in Argentina may or may not happen). So make sure your check under the covers or ask what the bed arrangement is before you book the apartment because waking up in the crack produced when the two beds push apart in the night is not a fun experience.

Refrigerator – Many Buenos Aires apartments are small and sometimes the kitchen only has space for a small “dorm-style” refrigerator with a “freezer” the size of a text book that takes three days to make ice. This might not be a big deal to some, but I prefer to have a full sized fridge to make ice for drinks, and for longer stays to keep frozen food frozen.

Internet – Many apartments in Buenos Aires offer “high speed” Internet. But what that means to some people may be different to you. I rented an apartment once that claimed to have high speed internet and when I arrived it was slower than dial up. The owner was in Spain and wouldn’t increase the speed so I had to spend many afternoons at Internet cafes just to check email. Be sure to ask what the speed of the Internet is and if you don’t know what is fast and what isn’t usually a connection of 512 Kbps will be fine if you are just checking email occasionally, but if you are planning on downloading files and working online while you are in Argentina, then I would recommend at least a 1.0 Mbps connection or faster.

English – If you don’t speak Spanish, be sure to ask if the representative that will be meeting you at the apartment speaks English. Usually this isn’t a problem, but I have had instances where I had to conduct business in Spanish and while it went OK, if you don’t speak Spanish it might not go as smoothly for you.

Vacation Apartments in Rio – What to Expect?

Lately I have been receiving dozens of emails regarding apartment rentals in Rio de Janeiro. People have sent me many questions and concerns, asking what are the average prices of apartments in Rio, their average prices, best locations, best deals, established companies, what should be included in the vacation apartments and so forth. This is when I decided to write a basic guide on renting apartments in Rio, Brazil. Some down to earth tips might save you some monies and avoid headaches.

The first thing you need to know when renting a vacation apartment in Rio is that it’s a legal well established business within the tourist industry in Brazil. Many Brazilians and even foreigners buy apartments in Rio exactly for this purpose. Investors commonly buy used apartments and renovate them to offer the best comfort as beach rentals. Let’s now discuss the main points you should be note when selecting an apartment.

Prices: prices in vacation apartments in Rio can vary significantly. Generally the more luxurious, the more expensive are the apartment prices. Beachfront apartments also carry a premium in their prices. Another rule is obvious, the greater number of rooms, the pricier it gets. If you travel with a group of friends, price per room can decrease substancially. Renting apartments with more than 3 rooms can be a wise option.) Prices are normally charged by number of nights. That is, if an apartment costs US$ 100.00 p/day, 10 nights will be US$ 1000.00. Discounts can be considered above 30 days rentals. Prices per day can decrease for longer periods, since a longer stay will be booked. How much per day? Usually fair apartments can be found starting at US$ 90,00 a day. Two bedrooms apartments in Ipanema, Lagoa and Leblon, all beach neighborhoods can vary from US$ 150 to US$ 300 a night, on average. If the apartments are located in high floors, if they have private pools and/ or hydro massage bath tubs, prices can rise significantly.

Locations/ Neighborhoods: Like any other major city in the world, prices vary by per different neighborhoods and zones. Most expensive apartments are all found on the South Zone (called “Zona Sul” in Portuguese), specifically in the following neighborhoods: Ipanema, Leblon, Lagoa, Copacabana, Flamengo and Botafogo. Barra da Tijuca, once a separate beach neighborhood, also offers some very luxurious flats and residence services, but you need to have a car to drive around since public transportation is limited there. Ipanema, Lagoa and Flamengo have been considered the safest neighborhoods, since prostitution is heavily combated in those areas. Copacabana is a universe on its own, with a many apartments to choose from. Copacabana is one of the most famous neighborhoods in Rio, with night-clubs, beach and lot´s of culture. Need some one liner neighborhood highlights? Here they are: Ipanema: Fashion shops, trendy restaurants, and gorgeous beach. Leblon: upscale shopping mall, excellent restaurants and bookstores. Lagoa: nice park, tranquil night kiosks around lagoon; Copacabana: wide apartment selection, public transport, eclectic environment. Flamengo: family type neighborhood, Flamengo Park, famous street bars. Barra: beautiful beach, Miami hype constructions.

Rental Agencies: The most popular way to find a rental agency is through the web. The are innumerous rental agencies to choose from in the wonderful city. The great majority of vacation rentals in Rio are serious in their business, delivering what they claim. Most of them display a list of apartments they own or represent, either by neighborhoods or by number of rooms. They present up to 10 pictures of the rentals and a small description of the amenities and apartment surroundings, so you can familiarize with the region. When you are choosing the apartment, first try to identify yourself with the neighborhood you are staying in, as well as your budget. This will save you time and help in the selection process. Once you know what where you want to stay and how much you can afford, browse through the apartments list and see if there is anything you like.

Once you see something you like, send an e-mail to the company stating which apartment you have in mind, and a second or third option, case that apartment is taken. (Many rentals offer an on-line bookings calendar view, which may save you time as well.). To find a list of rentals agencies in Rio, type in Google “Vacation Apartment Rio” and check the results. You will find more than 10 agencies only in page 1 of your search.

How are Payments made: Most Rental agencies in Rio take Pay-Pal, money wires, credit cards and cash. A reservation deposit is necessary to secure your apartment reservation. Companies have different reservation deposits policies. These deposits can vary from 30% up to 50% of the total stay amount. After the agency acknowledges the initial payment, the balance due is normally paid on entrance and key delivery of the vacation apartment. Most companies however do not return reservation deposit for Carnival and New Years holidays, due to great demand. Check the cancellation policy in company’s website or via e-mail.

Amenities: Vacation apartments in Rio also vary a lot in terms of their included amenities. Most of them offer by default a complete kitchen, cable TV, Internet access, air conditioner in the rooms and linens/towels. This would be the minimum acceptable. One level above, rentals can provide CD/DVD player, clothing washing machine, coffee machine, and safe. Luxury apartments in Rio and residence service flats additionally can offer hot-tubs, private pools, and even gourmet kitchen utensils.

Do’s and Don’ts: Be very careful during the reservation process since you need to understand all of the apartments requirements. Once you have decided for the rentals agency and the apartment in mind make sure you have all your questions and concerns promptly answered. It is the agency’s obligation to make sure you feel comfortable with your choice. Your rentals contacts should be courteous and receptive. If during the reservation process you are not satisfied or comfortable with your rentals contact, be sure to change your agency. If you have any friend in Rio de Janeiro, ask him/her to visit the apartment. This procedure is pretty common. Another tip would be to try to plan ahead. As soon as you have your travel dates secured, start your “apartment hunting”. Be sure to ask for a contract as well, and read all of the buildings do´s and don’ts.

Apartments for vacationers are numerous but even so, Rio is famous for having the most exotic beached in the world and thousands flock here every year. So it’s wise to remember that the best vacation apartments get filled up very quickly especially in during New Years holidays and Carnival. I truly believe Rio is a city full of wonders and hosts the friendliest people on earth. Buy the latest fashion trend bikinis and flip-flops, but remember that the best vacation apartments in Rio get filled up very quickly especially during New Years and Carnival. So make sure you book well in advance.

Copyright (c) 2008 Andre Skowronski