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What is the difference between a condo and apartment in Bangkok

What is the Difference Between a Condo and an Apartment?
Those of us who grew up in the west may not be familiar with the difference between an apartment and a condo. Some might say an apartment is a cheap low-rise building for low income people, and, while there are a great deal of apartments that cater to those on a far smaller budget, this definition is not technically correct. Simply put, an apartment is a building of self-contained units owned by one company. This company sets their own rental rates and also their own electricity, water, internet, and TV rates which are usually marked up. Many of these do indeed fall into the lower 4-8,000 Baht bracket, but in Bangkok but there are also luxury apartments which cater to high income expats. For example, along the Sukhumvit BTS line and especially in and around the Phrom PhongThonglor area, it is not difficult to find a 50,000 Baht, 60,000 Baht and even a 100,000 Baht apartment. Condos on the other hand are owned by a single landlord and the utility bills are paid direct to the billing company without any mark-up. 

Convenience of Apartment Living
Apartments appeal to many people because they offer high levels of convenience for the tenants. All utility bills can be paid direct to the apartment. If you have a problem with the room, the apartment staff will always be there to assist during office hours. Also, although there is a slight mark-up on utility bills, this cost is often offset by the sqm you can get for your money. Most apartment tenants find they are living in more sqm than any condo for the same money. For instance, El Patio Apartment in Phrom Pong offers 80sqm with a full European kitchen for 30,000 Baht per month, in contrast with nearby condos offering just 50sqm for the same money. In addition, a great deal of apartments offer a tuk-tuk service to the BTS or local supermarket for residents. 

The high end apartments are usually able to satisfy the requirements of families or sporting individuals as the facilities cover most needs, featuring large swimming pools, tennis courts, badminton courts, squash courts, a library, a well equipped gym, sometimes even a snooker room, and, most importantly for many, a children’s playroom. Also the majority of apartments are pet friendly which is almost impossible to find with a condo. 

Essentially, apartments offer tenants a broad and good value for money package. Tenants who will make use of all the facilities at their disposal will find excellent value and convenience in an apartment, and that feeling of value for money, in this current financial climate, is very important to most people.

Bangkok Condominium lifestyles
Living in a condominium, however, offers a whole range of options which are not always available in an apartment building. The most obvious difference with modern condos and apartment buildings are the aesthetics. As part of the lure for attracting buyers and renters, the developers try to make their condo stand out from the rest. A good example of an attractive and eye catching design is the Millennium Residence; 4 huge silver towers dominate the Bangkok skyline. Then once inside the condo and in the lobby, the developers have tried to create a unique ambiance, giving a homely and warm feel. Each condo will feel slightly different but generally they all generate a pleasant homely feeling.

The style of a condo is very often likely to be what determines whether a buyer or renter chooses to live in a condo, and thus the uniqueness and individuality of a condo is often its greatest strength. Apartment rooms are generally designed and furnished in a manner that makes them indistinguishable from each other. Every unit has the same sofa, the same, furniture, and the same bed etc. In a condominium on the other hand, the condos’ owners determine the individual units’ designs and colour schemes. This can result in stunning and unique properties which are rented the very day that they go on the market. However, if the owner has personalised the condo with colours and furnishings liked by few but loved by the owner, then there is a high chance that unit will stay unrented for many months until a tenant comes along that shares the owner’s unusual taste for décor, or the owner relents and makes changes.

A concern to most tenants is the cost of utilities, and generally a condo will have lower monthly utilities bills as tenants are billed at the Government rate as opposed to the marked up prices that apartments levy for electricity and water bills. Standard rates for a condo are 4baht per unit for a condo whereas an apartment can be anywhere from 5 Baht to 8 Baht per unit. 

A Home
At the end of the day, regardless of whether it is an apartment or a condo, it should always be looked at as a home. And, what is important is the moment you open your front door, you feel comfortable and positive and safe about being home. There cannot be a worse feeling when living away from family and friends in a foreign country than the thought of going home being a depressing one!