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10 tips for buying a house

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By G.P. Savlani: Planning to buy a home? Itís a great idea and here are some tips to help you choose wisely. Shortlist properties based on these concepts and you should find the entire process less confusing than you think it is.
 

1 Aspirations, lifestyle

While you may want the moon, think clearly and decide what kind of lifestyle you and your family would be comfortable with. Villas, apartments, individual home, an executive floor, all entail a particular type of lifestyle. Deciding between living in the inner city and a suburb is also a lifestyle decision. If you like a quiet laid back life, choose a suburb. If you like being in the hub of things and having everything nearby, but are willing to settle for less space and more noise, the city will work fine for you. Think of scenarios about 10 years into the future and identify a place that will suit your needs till then.
 

2 Whatís the size of your pocket?

Figure out your loan eligibility from a housing loan company or bank. Look at your resources and decide how much money you can pay up as a lump sum. That will help you do a back calculation and decide what budget you should have while looking for a home.
 

3 Study the market carefully

It is important to do your own research on the property market while buying a home. A lot of people take property decisions based on the advice of someone they know. While trust is a good thing, this can also get you in trouble. Start looking at property supplements and trade magazines. Visits brokers, look at websites, visit exhibitions, then shortlist properties based on your requirement and budget.
 

4 Location is important

Find places near to work, to the kidsí school, to a shopping centre and other conveniences. Also figure out how good the access is, what the neighbouring areas are, the quality of infrastructure. Find out whatís going to come up in an area in the future, to whatever extent has already been planned. A visit to local brokers and a contact with the planning department of the local area might yield some results.
 

5 Study the layout as well

Study the layout of the apartment well. Making changes to an apartment is possible, but it is time consuming and costly. First of all, see if there are enough rooms for your family. The same area can accommodate two large bedrooms or three smaller ones. What you need is dependent on the size of your family. Check on the size of the living, dining and kitchen. The sizes of the bedrooms should accommodate double beds easily.

Check if there are provisions for electrical equipments. Storage is important. The flat should maximise the use of space.
The rules are many, but whatever your taste, you need to ensure convenience and safety. For a child or elderly person, this could make the difference between comfort and fear.
Use the sample flat to understand the layout, but sit down with an architect or interior designer to see what possibilities it has for remodeling in the future.
 

6 Finishes and amenities

With apartment developers going all out to woo customers, you have a lot to choose from. Donít get taken in by all the jazz though. Figure out what amenities you would really use and whether they are there or not. Security mechanisms, power back-up, open areas and basic sports facilities would be essentials, but beyond that itís up to you.

Interior finishes is also a subjective area, but you need to remember that the sample flat is not necessarily what your apartment will look like. While Italian marble may sound very good in a specification list, you may discover that it is too slippery and smooth for your old father to walk on. Again, talk to a professional to understand what the finishes in the specification list mean and look like.
 

7 Background check

Once you have zeroed down on a development, it is important to look at the track record of the builder. Find out about the builderís last few projects. Visit them and study the finishes, speak to residents about the quality of construction, delivery time and maintenance arrangements. CREDAI is working at putting in place a developer rating system that evaluates a range of factors like on-time delivery, construction quality, track record, etc. This will in all probability be done by CRISIL.


8 Go through the right sources

Donít buy something only because youíre getting a cheaper deal from someone. Beware of inexperienced or crooked brokers. Always go through a reliable source. If possible, strike a direct deal with the builder.
 

9 Sort out the legalities

Take time to study the fine print lest there are loopholes later. Make sure the property is registered and apartments will be registered on completion.
Many developers, like CREDAI members follow a code of conduct that insists transparency and ensures that the builder honours the agreement that is signed between the buyer and the builder. The Code also insists that the developer clearly defines the terms in the agreement.
 

10 Be a proud owner

Once the property is in your name, you need to ensure that you pay your loan installments in time. Once you occupy the apartment, be pro-active and maintain it with utmost care.

 

The author is resident director of CREDAI Confederation of Real Estate Developersí Associations of India - the apex body of organised real estate developers across India. ( http://www.expressindia.com )

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