My Real Estate Saga – Part 2 (What to lookout for when buying an apartment.)

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From Confusion to Conclusion
From Confusion to Conclusion

After sharing my real estate saga Part 1, I would also like to share some tips and pointers while entering the real-estate market. I am no ‘guru’ of property transactions. And there is no rocket science in these pointers but surely helped me.

  1. Freeze your budget – It is of paramount importance to freeze your budget. this is one area, that is often ignored and new home owners find themselves in a quandary after a while. Of course, you need not get rigid up to the last rupee, but be sure of the range that you are willing to spend. More importantly be sure of the upper limit that you are willing to stretch upto. For example, if you decide that you want to spend Rs. 40 lacs. on a house, keep yourself flexible for another 2-3 lacs, just in case you stumble upon something really irresistible.
  2. Research about the builder – Once you shortlist a couple of property, it makes sense to do a quick check on about the antecedents of the builder, past projects, quality of delivery, timeliness, etc. Although, it is highly improbable to find someone who is clear on ‘all’ the above counts, yet, you can choose one who fares better on a relative scale, compared to others. How? Google….Google….Google. Websites like CREDAI are a good place to sniff around. Also checkout groups of apartment owners on yahoogroups or commonfloor, to get an insider’s opinion.
  3. Beware of the MODEL FLAT trap! – Most good builders, spend a fortune on doing up a model apartment (that is typically anyone flat in the apartment block) to give prospective buyers a “realistic” feel of how their house will look, once it is furnished. Remember, all of us humans are easy prey to sensory appeal. And psychologically, we *always* buy the model flat, although we shell out the money for another ‘similar-looking’ dwelling. And this exactly the motive. The model flat is done up with classy interiors, bath fittings and accessories, to leave a lasting impression on the minds of the prospective (and very excited in case of first time) buyer. Remember those car advertisements that read “Accessories shown in picture may not be part of standard equipment”? This is pretty much the same. You may be swept off your feet by the brand of accessories that you see there and many innocent buyers actually “assume” that they are going to get the exact same thing in their flat too. But sadly it does not happen 😦 that way. WYSIWYG does not apply here!
  4. The paperwork– If you are not a lawyer yourself, then hire one, period. If you try to act smart on this one, you will simply drown in the “whereunders” and “thereunders” of the Indian Legal Jargon and will not be able to make any sense of the bunch of papers that you are required to sign, before the property legally becomes yours. So it makes perfect sense to have your lawyer, by your side, to guide and advise you with the content of the agreements before you sign. Also look closely, for what is written in the agreement/deed in specific sections that mention bathroom fittings, sanitary fittings, locks, etc. (this will typically be a schedule C or D in the deed, describing the apartment on sale). Several times, they don’t give the same brand of accessories, that are displayed on the model apartment. Again, refer to point# 3.
  5. The slick marketing staff – Can I get exclusive garden? = “Yes”, Can I get a helipad on the terrace – “Yes”, Can I get my own little Mars Rover and personal space ship? “Yes” — That is the typical response you will get “before” you pay money, from the marketing team. They don’t even bother about what your question is, they will simply say “YES” and to make matters worse, they will tell you that “THEY ARE THERE FOR YOU!”. Oh man, this should immediately raise several red flags and jangle all your alarm bells. Beware of their tribe. Remember, no matter what anyone promises to you, you will get ONLY what you signed up for. Once you part with your money, you can have fun, chasing those very folks, who promised you the world. So do not believe any such promises, unless it is supported by something in writing, and signed by the competent parties.

Well, while these tips cannot be classified as “the ultimate guide” to real-estate purchase, perhaps they would certainly make it to “real estate for dummies” 🙂 Hope these pointers help some of the prospective home buyers, from common pitfalls and avoidable heartburn.

And one more thing, in spite of taking care of all these things, there are a 100 other ways in which one can be conned. So the key is to be alert and exercise as much caution as is ‘practical’ and leave the rest to luck.

Do share your fantastic thoughts by dropping a line of comment below!

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