10 things to check when booking an apartment in a builder project

Call it practices or malpractices; real estate in India is riddled with cases where buyers have been taken in for a ride. And in this environment, buying an apartment is not as easy as it may sound. Whether you are an end-user or an investor, you should pay attention to the following 10 items when booking a flat. These 10 items are categorized into two principal checklists namely Project details and Apartment details:

Project Details

When making real estate investments, buyers of property typically want assurance that they will become the legal owner of the property and that the seller is lawfully possessed and has the right to convey title. When a real estate developer has “Title”, he is said to have all the elements, including the documents, records, and acts, which prove ownership. Therefore, a buyer should insist on documents that clearly demonstrate Land Titles.

Some of these builder projects are approved for home loans by banks or lending institutions. These lenders are also concerned about title assurance because the quality of title affects the collateral value of the property in which they have a secured interest. Therefore, if you as a buyer lack the capacity to verify Title certificates by yourself, you should at least check and verify with the list of banks that have approved the project for home loan grant.

The Town and Country Planning (TCP) Department grants license to private developers owing land for converting it into a colony or a group housing society. The license is granted upon fulfillment of parameters laid down by the TCP Department.

Ask for the License number from your developer and verify it at the TCP website.

  • Intimation of Disapproval (IOD)

Check if the builder has received the IOD from relevant authorities (Town and County Planning Department). IOD lists out the conditions based on which the building should be constructed. It is usually valid for one year and has to be re-validated thereafter.
A master plan typically demarcates city or region’s future development including residential, commercial, industrial, and recreational facilities. Visit the City Development Authority website and verify the claims made by the developer while selling the project.

  • No Objection Certificates (NOC)

In addition to the License number granted by the TCP department, a builder should also possess NOC from environment, fire fighting, electricity, water, airport departments. Check these NOCs.

Apartment Details

First thing first, location is the key differential in selecting or rejecting a project. Make sure, you book an apartment in a project which is well connected by road to city’s CBD (Central Business District). In addition to that, look around for the presence of social infrastructure such as schools, shopping malls, college, etc.
You are going to live in this apartment. Therefore, pay attention to the floor and unit plan. In one particular project, we noticed there were about 14 apartments on one single floor and that was a big dampener in otherwise a good project. In an under construction project, it is very difficult to assess the floor plan and unit plan. Ask for the approved floor plan and unit plan from the developer and analyze these plans for open spaces, lobbies, lifts, etc.
After a long and hard day at office, one would like to relax and rejuvenate. Buy an apartment in a project which offers state of the art amenities such as park, jogging track, swimming pool, clubhouse, etc.
Many people overlook the Kitchen; however, make sure Kitchen is not only spacious but also properly planned. Many developers in Gurgaon offer the option of Modular Kitchen, however, check if the same can be developed from outside suppliers at lower prices. There are numerous vendors of Modular Kitchen in Gurgaon, visit them and inquire about the quality and total price. Thereafter, one can compare and take a final decision on the modular kitchen offered by the builder with the one offered by outside vendors.

Specifications comprise of kitchen fittings, bath fittings, flooring, electric work, walls, etc. Visit the sample flat prepared by the developer and assess the specifications first hand. Make sure that specifications provided in the brochure and shown in the sample flat are part of the builder buyer agreement.

  • Carpet Area/Sale-able Area Ratio

Most builders would charge you on the basis of sale-able area. Ask for the efficiency of the apartment or in other words carpet area of the apartment. In most cases, ratio of carpet area to sale-able area is 75 to 80%. If possible, get that included in the builder buyer agreement.

We are sure you will have your own stories to tell, your own issues with real estate projects, your own experiences of buying an apartment with a builder, and your own follow-ups? Share them here with the larger audience and let’s help each other.