Whats the difference between an apartment and a condo?
Ever wondered what the difference is between a flat and a condo? What the difference is between a condo and an apartment? What is a serviced apartment even? In Thailand, they can mean different things and the prices can vary quite significantly between them so if your looking to rent a flat in Bangkok read on.
In this article we will take a look at what the differences are and how they will affect you, the tenant:
Flats are pretty much just another name for an apartment or a condo in Great Britain (and indeed other parts of the commonwealth). The word “apartment” is also used but most use the term “flats”. In North America and other parts of the World, the term “apartment” is favoured. In simple terms however, they both usually refer to a self-contained unit inside a building. In Thailand, most Bangkok real estate agencies don’t use the term “flats” but mainly “condos” or “apartments”. However, “condos” and “apartments” can mean completely different things in Bangkok and all over Thailand…
Condos and Condominiums
Condos or Condominiums are self-contained units within a building. Most foreigners residing in Thailand long term usually reside in a Condo. Condominiums are found everywhere in Thailand and there are thousands of options in Bangkok alone. Prices vary depending on the usual factors: Location, Size, Age etc… They units are owned freehold but the common facilities, such as swimming pools, lifts, gardens, gyms, tennis courts etc. are shared by the residents… The owners of the Condominiums will have to pay a maintenance fee for the up- keep of these facilities and the building. Most tenants are not even aware that these fees exist as the owner takes care of them. However, please note that an owner will insist on the tenant paying them occasionally. Please read any contract you sign carefully. For most tenants living in a Condo, their utility bills are their only outgoing (mainly electric, water, internet, cable and sometimes gas bottles). Bills at Condos should also be of government rate and bill statements should arrive in your mail box. Condos in comparison to Apartments tend to work out cheaper because of this.
Apartment buildings are in simple terms owned by one person, family or company. Each unit is owned by this one entity and cannot be owned freehold. If you live in an apartment you normally pay your rent and bills at the apartment office directly. These individual units cannot be bought and are for rent only. As this one entity owns the entire building they can basically charge what they want for utilities and most do charge a premium. If you decide to live at an apartment, please check carefully the unit rates for water and electricity as most apartments charge a premium way above the government rates that you would find in a Condo. It’s not uncommon to have electric bills over 5000 baht for a one bedroom apartment. Set rates for water and parking are also the norm. Some apartments even charge vat on top… What may appear to be a cheap apartment at first glance can prove to be very costly once the bills start coming in. It’s worth noting however that some apartments, unlike condos, are pet friendly. Some of the best apartments in Bangkok are extremely busy because of this reason alone.
Serviced apartments are pretty much like hotels. Like hotels you get what you pay for. Unlike most hotels however, they are usually a lot bigger and have a wide array of units to choose from. From studios up to large, luxurious penthouses can be found in Bangkok depending on your budget… The services vary from apartment to apartment but they usually come with a standard maid service (sometimes daily with others weekly), Cable TV and Internet. All the utility bills are usually included in rental cost. Others again may also do laundry and room service. Serviced apartments tend to cater for the short to medium term customers. Some will do leases from just one day whilst others may ask for a month minimum. This is unlike most condos or normal apartments who tend to ask for one year contracts as standard. As you can imagine, serviced apartments with this flexibility come at a premium rate and can be one of the most expensive ways to live in Bangkok full-time.
There are a variety of choices in Bangkok and Thailand in general: Condos, Apartments, Serviced Apartments, Houses and Town Houses can cater for most people’s needs. If you’re looking to rent a flat in Bangkok or just in need of advice on Bangkok Real Estate please feel free to contact us at Rent Bangkok Condos we have a large selection of Bangkok condominiums available now.