Like any other software engineer, in order to save tax (forget about investment) I decided to buy an apartment. I mean I have been planning to buy an apartment for the past three years. And I am still searching, searching and searching! Some of my friends say my expectations are really high! But what is wrong in expecting a good house when am investing so much money, errr I mean when I am taking huge loan. But this thing called dream house looks like will remain as dream only..Here are some(monstrous) problems I came across while wading through the real estate mania.
Note: I am a software engineer from middle class family. This article is not applicable for NRIs, expats, ceos, ctos, cfos, etc..
When I was earning X amount and eligible for 2X amount loan, the apartment cost was 2X + Y. Few years later when I strived to make 2X as my income and eligible for 4X loan, the apartment cost became 5X. So you seeee apartment cost increases much faster than your income growth. Unless you have a dual income in your house, it almost becomes impossible to buy one.
Now we do get apartment for cost 2X, but where? Close to upcoming IT park, close to upcoming airport, close to upcoming city, all of which never happens. If not, it will be forest view or hill view! View might be good, but who will travel from forest to city everyday!
3. Hand over time
Even the A grade builder is not going to deliver on time.So if he promises 2015 as hand over, we have to be prepared for hand over to 2017. If you had planned to finish it by 2015, rent it out and close your loan with that money, you are in soup.
Reviews on even builder of the year will be bad. Even if I forgo about hand over time, there are cases of no refund, terrorizing apartment owners, bad construction quality. You might say there are consumer courts! Seriously? Apart from money and time, should I invest peace of mind too!
5. Floor plan
Sighh.. My house, my money and I don't get to design it nor alternate it. Stuffing 3 bhks within 1000sq ft, adding bunker beds to kids room with no space to walk, having dining table and sofa side by side, making loo as your store room, worst of all having loo as your bathroom! It is so small that you cannot even turn around. I was brought up in a time where there was a separate loo and separate bathroom, not to forget both spacious! Now? Who came up with concept of having loo in middle of bathroom! Already there is no space and this in middle gives such yuck feeling.
6. Carpet area
Carpet area is your floor plan excluding walls. If you are hunting for house you will know about it. A good plan should have at least 80% carpet area. But most of these builders will include corridor space, bad design and come up with 70% or less carpet area. So even if it says 1200sqft house, there will be a small house with less area to live.
7. Hidden costs
We have all got used to be prepared for extra 10lakhs. Why? Once you pay advance, you start begging behind builder as though he is doing a great favor to you. Suddenly rules change, suddenly penalty comes up and if you cancel somewhere in the middle again soup! And then comes the sprawling club house, squash court, tennis court, badminton court, ya I am a big sports person!
8. Gujaals marketing
When somebody puts pressure on me to do something or is overly sweet to me, I run away. And these guys come up with unique marketing techniques that definitely makes me run away. There was this high rise apartment with brilliant amenities but poor floor plan. Their carpet value was too less and I was trying to negotiate based on this fault. The marketing manager was outright denying and two more guys joined in to prove am wrong in my calculations.. After a point when they could no longer pretend to cover up, they brought in a lady. A lady swaying her hair, and just rightly tied saree, flaunting subtly, with bright makeup and stilletos. The job of this lady is just to divert your attention! She sat down and continued addressing only to my dad! I took her for a ride and she was not even able to do math! Sighh.. Even if the previous handsome chap had continued arguing with me I would have given in.. he brought a bimbo! When she could no longer take it from me, she was whisked away from me to the next table and wow, she actually had the charm to keep the guy's mouth open even as his wife was looking on. In order to maintain his male pride, he was not even trying to negotiate! Duh..
9. No marketing
The other end of gujaals marketing.. They will be handing out pamphlets to everyone but me. Why? Because am a Woman! Woman will not buy apartment let's not waste time over her types..
We all know that the upcoming parts of the city were once forest, lake or graveyard! Who owns this? And then there is A khata, B khata, Bbmp, bmrda, bda, bwssb and many more approvals.. half the apartments in Bangalore have legal problem, they do not give occupancy certificate, construction never ends, claim public road as private road, etc. After ten years of construction a posh apartment's compound was brought down recently because it had encroached in land belonging to lake! A multi crore project is coming up in marsh lands of Agara, cutting down drainage channels between bellandur and agara lake. Another multicrore project coming on marsh lands of bellandur lake. How do these get approval? How do people buy these apartments paying high price even when they know it is not legal. Once it is a big builder people safely think, he will give bribe to authorities and get all approvals on time. What they do not think of is, how good the base of the building will be on a marsh land!
11. Starting from 1.02 Cr
Ah! Excuse me.. Life is for the expats only is it? The amount of houses selling above 1cr has shot up like anything. An advertisement in TV states, houses starting from 2.4cr onwards and there are 300 houses in that complex.. Do the math cos I can't get the zeroes correct. Now in an area there are easily 10 complexes like that!! Another advertisement's tag line is, "where CFOs and CEOs reside!" Book a house and they will give BMW for free! And they say India is a poor country.. I get kind of depressed when I see such advertisements.. Gents pool, ladies pool, kids pool and private pool in your balcony! Seriously you have so much water? May be this is what they say, kaasa thanniya selavu panradu!!
With apartments not helping much, I thought let me just invest it in plot. So for my budget, somewhere in one city corner, sorry village corner, I thought I shall buy one. And one day I went with a sales guy who was showing around plots.. They give free pickup and drop in car you know! We passed through some paddy fields, emu farms, a village and came to a stop..
"Madam, proposed ring road comes few meters from here!!" I looked around and a yellow line cuts across quarter of the plot.
"Is that the proposed ring road?" I asked..
"No madam, that is only marking, if we put our gate they cannot do anything!"
"You are selling proposed ring road?"
"Aiyo you cannot understand madam, come I will show you our next development!!"
The ring road actually cuts across the plot and bda has kept milestones to mark it.. He takes me to next plot. It is a small sand mound with a board erected on top of it. You need to give only 50% of money, rest they will only give as loan! You see banks will not approve such projects for loan. The next plot is some random space!
"This does not have your board also!" I exclaimed.
"It is coming madam on the way!"
"That is also on the way madam!"
Then he gives a lecture on what is investment!! Investment is to dump your money on such unauthorized lands for cheap rate and pray that they get approval so that you can sell an approved plot at double the rate later.. If it does not get approved it means you did not pray well!
So you see, the list is huge and the hawkers try to cheat you in all possible ways. So please be aware of all kinds of fraud and pray that you should not get into soup.