Today, about half of the apartments in new buildings, which are offered to buyers, are free planning. Most often, this feature of residential real estate is positioned by the developer as the main advantage of the apartment..
And yet, before making the final choice in favor of a free layout, it is worthwhile to carefully study all the advantages and disadvantages of such a home..
The history of the emergence of housing with a free layout began in Russia not so long ago – in the early nineties. It was then that the most wealthy citizens thought about buying apartments “not like everyone else’s”, began to remodel the square meters they already had to their liking, buy out neighboring apartments on the site, combining them into a completely new space, and create two-level dwellings.
Developers quickly reacted to the growing demand for open-plan apartments, and now most of the housing business, premium and elite classes fall into this category.
What is a free layout
It is a living space that is a single living space. Of course, in such an apartment there are already basic plans – where there will be a kitchen, and where there will be a bathroom, because the laying of communications is carried out even at the construction stage. But in the rest of the territory, the walls are completely absent, and the future owner can equip his home, guided only by his own needs and desires.
Modern building technologies, such as monolithic-frame construction, allow the construction of houses in which only the external walls of the building are load-bearing, so there are no restrictions at all associated with the transfer or complete absence of internal partitions..
Pros of free planning
The main advantage of open-plan apartments lies precisely in the freedom of action for the future owner. There is no need to demolish the existing walls, you can allocate a fairly large area, for example, for a children’s room, equip a kitchen-dining room connected to the living room, plan an office or a room for guests, albeit small, but still quite comfortable.
Free planning is a great way to buy not just a two, three or four-room apartment, but a unique opportunity to independently decide how many rooms will be located in a given area. Layout “for yourself”, taking into account the needs of this particular family, is a huge advantage, allowing you to make your stay more comfortable and enjoyable. And the very process of planning, preliminary layout – “this is where our bedroom will be”, can bring a lot of positive emotions, make it possible to feel like a real designer and even an architect.
Kapiton Alekseevich Zelentsov. Living room in a city house. 1820
Of course, the interior of such a room will be original, and it is simply impossible to find the exact same apartment even in this apartment building..
Cons of free planning
However, the free layout has not only advantages, but also some disadvantages, among which the following disadvantages should be noted:
Firstly:buying a home with a free layout can initially cost 5-10% more than buying an apartment with a ready-made turnkey finish. As mentioned above, usually free planning is the prerogative of business, elite and premium class apartments, that is, initially it costs slightly higher than ordinary economy class housing. In addition, developers usually present a free layout as one of the main advantages of housing, which gives them the opportunity to further raise the price..
Secondly,free planning is not only the absence of walls and interior partitions, but also the presence of only a rough finish. Thus, the buyer receives for use only a concrete box, in which often the electrical wiring is not even laid, but only a shield is installed on the landing. Of course, the main communications – heating, water supply and sewerage – have already been carried out by the developer, plastic glass packages and an ordinary iron entrance door have been installed, but the rest of the trouble of arranging the apartment falls on the shoulders of the owner.
Zinaida Surova. A room without walls. 2007
How much will it cost to bring such an open-plan apartment into a residential look? It should be borne in mind that only the development of a detailed design project can cost homeowners several hundred thousand rubles: on average, from 5 to 10 thousand per 1 square meter, the cost depends primarily on the complexity of the project itself, as well as the prestige and status of the design or architectural bureau.
Coordination of a design project in various instances and approval by official bodies will cost from 10 to 25 thousand rubles.
But this is just the beginning of the repair work, the costs of creating a virtual plan for the future interior of the apartment – its implementation, that is, the cost of directly purchasing the necessary materials, construction work and finishing can ultimately increase the price of housing by 1.5-2 times.
Thirdly,free planning still implies the presence of an already approved BTI plan, so that the owners are waiting not only for the construction of partitions, but also for the coordination of all changes in the layout of the apartment with the relevant organizations. In addition, there are a number of restrictions that make free planning not so free, in particular:
- it is forbidden to transfer the location of the bathroom;
- you cannot move the kitchen to another place;
- it is forbidden to connect the loggia or balcony with the living area of the apartment;
- heating cannot be carried out on balconies and loggias;
- it is forbidden to combine or carry ventilation units;
- it is impossible to increase the approved living area of the apartment by connecting utility rooms and vice versa;
- it is forbidden to create rooms with an area of less than 9 square meters in an apartment;
- you can not “sew” pipes into the wall through which gas is supplied;
- it is forbidden to equip living rooms in which there is no natural light.
As you can see, there are quite a few restrictions. It is also worth remembering that developers may already outline the location of the walls, and if in reality it looks like a regular “path” of bricks, then these walls will be included in the apartment scheme approved by the BTI as already existing. So any change in the layout will have to be coordinated and approved, which will definitely result in additional troubles and costs..
Fourth,the area of an open-plan apartment may end up being less than the one originally announced by the developer. The square meters paid by the new owner can be “eaten” by tracing, that is, the implementation of the layout of the apartment. At the same time, the act of acceptance and transfer does not regulate the issues of mismatching the footage, so if the home buyer does not want to pay for non-existent square meters, he will have to conclude an additional agreement and carry out measurements, with the call of BTI specialists, make a recalculation and after that demand compensation.
Alternative to free planning
Of course, the decision – whether to purchase an apartment with a free layout or be content with a ready-made version of the developer, is taken only by the buyer of residential real estate. In any case, it should be remembered that a free layout requires additional, often very significant costs, so when deciding on this option for buying an apartment, you should accurately calculate your strength and decide on the budget that will be spent in the future on home improvement.
Free layout, despite all its advantages, still has a lot of disadvantages. That is why in recent years, the purchase of housing with the so-called “European” layout, where there are already internal, easily transformable partitions, has become increasingly popular..
In addition, many buyers purchasing apartments in an unfinished building prefer to agree in advance with the developer on the internal layout of the rooms and even order a design project for future housing. This method of buying allows you to save time and money that could be spent on coordination with the BTI and drawing up a project. However, it is worth remembering that such an agreement with the developer can be drawn up only at the initial stage of the construction of an apartment building, literally at the stage of “digging a foundation pit”. And buying a home in an unfinished building is a completely different story, including the emerging risks and the possibility of extending the terms of putting the house into operation.