10 Important Things to Remember Before Buying Flat/Apartment

  1. Legality: It's the most important thing to check before buying a flat. In every city there are local government bodies authorized to approve maps of any building. Buyer must check the approvals before entering into agreement or contract.
  2. Builder Reputation: As a buyer/investor it's your responsibility to check the history of Builder or Developer. By visiting old buildings constructed by the same builder, you will be in a position to decide upon the quality standards followed by the Builder. Generally, all good Devloper companies maintain their complete profile in CD's. Just ask for it before buying the flat. Also by checking the past history you can make a prediction that whether builder will provide the flat on promised possession date or not.
  3. Competitor Work: Before signing on dotted lines, it is very important that the buyer makes a thorough research on the work done by different builders in the same location. By seeing different projects you will be in a better position to make judgement about Quality, Facilities and Price.
  4. Project Location (Future in Perspective): My views are very different on this particular decision point. It is not necessary always that project on main roads have location advantage compared to the ones located on inside roads. Down the line, after some years you might realize that you have done the mistake by selecting Residential Project located on the main road because of increased traffic sound and commercial activities. Remember we are buying home not office. While selecting any location you should check for basic facilities like grocery store, schools, hospitals, public transport, etc.
  5. Features & Specifications: Features are the building facilities and specifications are related to facilities and amenities provided in the flat. Every Builder/Developer gives host of features and specifications to lure buyers. The important part in this regard is to understand which features & specifications are of real use and which are cosmetic.
  6. Loan Facility: Generally all reputed builder groups are registered with leading Banks and NBFC's to provide Home Loan facilities to their customers. Whenever any Bank or NBFC approves any project for home loan facility, they provide APF (Approved Project Finance) number to the builder/developer. When customer applies for a home loan, they can just quote the APF number of the project, submit their documents and get loan sanctioned. With APF facility customer is free from the stress of collecting legal documents of the project and submitting them along with his own financial papers. One good thing about project having APF number from leading banks is that this assures you of sound legal & technical credentials of the project.
  7. Wish list/Priorities: You should have clear understanding of your wish list that what do you want? One thing we must all keep in mind is that it's difficult to get everything we want. As a consumer you should have absolute clarity on facilities or specifications for which we are ready to compromise and for which we are not ready to compromise. Priorities must be clearly defined and you should stick to it before making decisions.
  8. Budget/Add on expenses: Consumer must write down there budget carefully. Property cost is not only the price paid to the builder but there are several add on which you must calculate before finalizing the property. There are add on costs like club membership charges, parking space charges, service tax, stamp duty, registration charges, home loan processing fees, electrification charges, transformer charges, preferred location charges (PLC), etc. Sum of all these expenses is your actual property cost. I have not included maintenance deposit and charges in above list as they do not form part of property acquisition cost but are property maintenance cost. Some Builders have removed all above mentioned charges to make it simple for their customers. Such builders only charge Basic sale price (BSP) for the property.
  9. Area calculations: There are 3 terms which you will come across while buying any residential flat/apartment. These are Carpet area (The area within four walls of the flat), Built up area (The area including carpet area and area occupied by walls of flat) and Super built up area (The area including carpet area, built up area and proportionate of common areas). Generally builder charges on the basis of super built up area and consumer must understand the calculation before entering into the agreement or contract.
  10. Price: Well, in the end it all comes down to Price. A buyer must do a complete survey about the prices in location/area in which he is planning to buy the flat/apartment. But there are certain variables which must be kept in mind before you make a decision on the basis of price. These are facilities in the building, specifications of the flat, location, possession date, quality of construction, etc. You must understand that the most economical to buy may not be necessarily the best. Comparison should always be done between equals. Also if you like any property and you are not getting it in your budget, don't just walk off but try to negotiate with the builder/developer as I believe that you should not let go your dream home for 5-10% difference between budget and actual cost. You never know, negotiations might pay off.

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Very useful article.

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