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Standalone Houses vs. Housing Complexes for Expatriates


When companies bring their expatriates to Indonesia, they will need the help from a local consultant to find them residences that fit within their budget and the needs of the employee. Since expatriates have minimal understanding about current regulations and other important information, it is crucial for them to get a good orientation in order to prepare for their move.

One of the question that often arise is whether an expatriate should live in a housing complex or in a standalone house.

What is the Difference?

Mostly, people see the difference between standalone houses and housing complexes based on the areas where they are located. Standalone houses are typically located directly on a public street, while housing complexes comprise a group of houses located within a specified area with guarded access.

But that’s not the only difference. Here is further explanation:
• Security
The most visible and basic differentiator between a housing complex and a standalone house is its security. Housing complexes have 24/7 security guard. Tenants in housing complexes do not need to hire extra security guard because security costs are included in the rents they pay.

• Facilities
Expatriates who come to Indonesia with family members typically look for adequate facilities. Housing complexes provide facilities, such as children's playground, gyms and public swimming pools. Some standalone houses also have facilities, such as swimming pools and sports areas, but as they are not part of a secured complex and they require a lot more attention, with additional responsibilities and expenses as tenants are also in charge of maintenance, utilities, gardening and the general upkeep of other facilities in or around the house.

• Community
Some expatriates request to live in an area that has more local people. Living in a standalone house might give them more of a sense of the local culture and community compared to a housing complex, since it is mostly expatriates who live in those neighbourhoods.

• Maintenance
Most housing complexes have their own maintenance team, which is not the case with a standalone house. In housing complexes, it feels like living in an apartment − the management takes care of the maintenance for an additional compound fee on top of the rent, and the amount depends on the services offered.

Understand the Market

In the midst of gradually more-positive conditions, many companies are starting to feel more confident about bringing expatriates to Indonesia. With the arrival of these expatriates, the company naturally needs to provide all facilities, including housing that is in accordance with a calculated budget. With a cost usually between USD 3,000 −5,000 per expatriate, most companies prefer to put everything within the budget, including compound fees and taxes.
Therefore, companies need to make sure they get precise information, especially in relation to the existing and current market prices, in order to get the best and most suitable rents. Companies also need to get precise information regarding the property owner. Regardless of whether it’s a standalone house or within a housing complex, companies need to ensure the credibility and proper property documents are completed and guaranteed.

How to Decide between a Standalone House and a Housing Complex

A company importing expatriates must understand the actual market conditions and the basic difference between standalone houses and those within housing complexes. Below are the main points that need to be considered:
• Whether in a housing complex or a standalone house, the size of the house varies greatly. Usually, expatriates want a house with a land size of 300 − 500 sq m. However, if they are looking for a size larger than that, such as 1,000 sq m, standalone houses will usually be a better option because there are more of them available.
• For expatriates with a family, locations that are close to their children's schools will be preferable.
• South Jakarta, well known for its lifestyle area, will typically meet the expatriate’s needs and requirements, where places like shopping malls, restaurants, groceries stores are within walking distance.
• Whether choosing a housing complex or standalone house, it is good if the tenant can find an affable owner, so that when there is a complaint, requirement, or when it’s time to negotiate the rental agreement, communication will be pleasantly tactful and well-mannered.

Both standalone houses and housing complexes have their respective advantages. Both companies and tenants need to determined their priorities, find clear and definite information in order to carry out the selection carefully. In the end, the decision will be based on tenant preferences as well as the company’s budget and objectives.

Click here to learn more about Expatriate Housing services including how you can accelerate your business success or contact our Expatriate Housing experts for a discussion.

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