My friend Nishtha and Ahbay Sharma decided to buy a home for themselves. Nishtha’s immediate concern was that whether their to-be-home will have a kitchen, which is big enough to throw a dinner party. Abhay wished for a good view from the bedroom and a garden full of blooming flowers.
Finally, they bought their dream home after trudging from property to property every weekend. When they were looking for the best deal they came to me for advice.
I told them that there are many things that should look into while investing on a real estate property, besides a big kitchen, a good view and a garden full of blooming flowers. They learned that starting from ascertaining that the documents provided by the builder are genuine, there are the physical and material aspects of the house that they should look into before making the down payment. Thus, the Sharmas, being wiser now, have made a checklist of these aspects of the house that they need to take into consideration before they zeroed in on one.
Take a look at the checklist put together by Nishtha and Ahbay Sharma.
1.Defects Liability Period (DLP)
Almost all the builders these days have a DLP contract that ranges from 6 months to 12 months. According to this contract, the builder is liable to attend to any minor defects in construction after handling over the property to its owner. Generally, this period begins from the practical day of completion of work. It is very important to scrutiny this clause in the builder’s contract and to ascertain with the builder what defects come under this clause.
2.The A Khata
After acquisition of your property, ask the builder for the A Khata. The Khata is an important document for all property owners as it records all details about your property such as the size of the property, location, built-up area etc. for the purpose of payment of property tax. You also need the Khata when it comes to electricity and water connections, trade and building licenses and availing of bank loans. Besides, you surely need the A Khata for resale of your property.
A house needs to have proper cross-ventilation and adequate windows for light during daylight hours. It is good ventilation that keeps you comfortable, even when the weather keeps on changing. Each part of the house requires proper ventilation during the summer months and the winter season. The rooms should be set so that they do not receive too much sunlight and act like a furnace in the summer, and lose too much heat during the winter.
4.Rain Water Harvesting & Water Supply
The building codes stipulate that new buildings need to have provision for rain water harvesting. Rain water harvesting is an excellent method of recycling water, by which we can use tons of litres of water which would go waste otherwise. The builder should make provision for a water tank to save rain water, which could later be used for gardening, cleaning and washing. This way you will be contributing your little bit to the future of the planet by saving water.
In addition, ensure that the developers have made provisions for uninterrupted water supply for the house.
5. Power Back-up and Solar Panels
According to recent government rules, your building needs to have solar panels installed for your water heaters. Other than these, make sure that the developers have installed alternative power back-ups in for emergencies. Installation of solar panels will not only help diminish the sum of energy that is being used from the power plants, but also enhance the value of your house.
6. Waste Disposal Arrangements
A far-sighted developer would arrange for a mini sewage and waste treatment plant within the community. Ensure that the sewage and waste treatment plant is adequate to cover the needs of all the houses in your community. If the developer has failed to do so, ensure that the builder has provided other means for sewage and waste disposal.
Once considered as an add-on feature by big developers, installing Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) in housing complexes (having fifty or more dwellings) is made mandatory by the Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) in 2010.
7. Open Areas and Parking Areas
Another thing that is vital importance while buying a house is that there should be adequate open space and large trees on each side of the house or just outside the boundary of the house or road. Your dream house should also have walkways and parks for the residents. Moreover, make sure that the garden are does not slope towards the house as there is a possibility of rainwater flowing into the compound.
Additionally, check the size of your parking lot. Does an SUV fit into in? Make sure that each flat or plot have a parking lot. On top of it, the developers should provide parking spaces for your visitors.
8. Paint and VOCs
Sometimes, builders use paints and other polishing substances that are considered harmful, to cut-down on building costs. Before you move in to your dream house, check with the developer that they have not used paints/polishes that contain VOCs and have used eco-friendly paints.
Moreover, do not forget to consider the external painting of your home. Using all weather paints give your property a fresh look even after 3-4 years from the date of handover. If the developer did not use all weather paints, your property will start looking shabby within a few months. This will affect the value of your property.
9. Leaks and Water Seepage
Defective water pipes, sanitary fitments or drainage pipes cause leaks and seepage of water. This makes damps on walls, which can lead to serious problems over the years. If you notice any damp on the wall, rectify it immediately.
Ensure there are no cracks on the walls or ceilings in your dream house. They are just not eyesore, but also potential a headache in the longer run. Hence, out some extra effort to spot them; after all it is your home.
11. Lift and Other Items
A recent study by Karnataka State Electrical Inspectorate (KSEI) reveals that around 8% of the lifts in Bangalore are not licensed. Though is impossible to ascertain whether a lift is legal or not, it would be wise to ensure that the builder has purchased the lifts from registered companies and has complied with the standards mentioned in the rulebook. Also, check the capacity of the lifts installed in your apartment. This is to avoid mishaps and inconvenience during the rush hours.
Make sure that appliances such as geyser, chimney, and electrical fittings are according to standard quality as per the sale agreement. Further, ascertain that fittings like locks, taps, showerheads etc. function well and are up to the promised standard otherwise you’ll end up burning a hole in your pocket.
12. Maintenance Crew
At times you have to deal with a short circuit or a blocked toilet. Make certain that there will be a maintenance crew to deal with such minor hiccups once you have moved in and the DLP is over. The maintenance crew should be competent enough to handle any emergency crisis at any time of the day. The majority of the developers have their own maintenance crew while others have a tie up with the contractors to do various kinds of repair work.
Last but not the least it is important to check out the security system of the house you are purchasing. Many developers install surveillance cameras inside the premises. Moreover, it is very important to check whether the fencing and the wall around the property is in good shape. Safety is a major factor for you and you need to pay proper attention to the security system as this can lead to prevention of crime and will give you a sense of security 24X7.
Finally, Nishtha and Ahbay Sharma have found a house that fulfils all the criteria in the checklist.
This checklist is important when you start living in your dream house. We urge potential buyers not to jump into a rash and hurried decision, but to ascertain that all the points listed above are fulfilled.
Ramesh Kumar has extensive experience in real estate in a career spanning over a decade. With his critical expertise in sales and marketing, he has successfully launched and closed out projects across a complete spectrum of properties like plots, budget apartments, comfort homes as well as luxury villas.
Ramesh Kumar holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from Bombay University and is currently serving as the Deputy General Manager – Marketing & Sales at Vakil Housing.