Buying a Home: When to say NO?
For most people it’s a dream to own a house. Any house, most people would say that we call our own.
No more bickering with the landlord, put nails where you want on the wall, your own private oasis of peace, and a place you can give your children. You start looking around.
There are so many properties and at so many price levels. You finally zoom in on some in-progress properties, because the prices are cheaper. The builder promises a jogging track, swimming pool, community club and a well landscaped common area. You ask for a first floor flat, they say they have none, the flats are disappearing so fast. So, you pick a ground floor one, close to the security. The EMI’s will work up to about Rs. 30,000 a month. “We will spend less”, you promise. The paperwork with the bank is done, and the loan payments will kick in six months later. The flat will be ready in three the marketing staff at the developer’s office assures you, with the swimming pool.
Six months elapse, and in all your visits there seems to be no major progress. You are assured however it will be ready. In the meantime, you are paying your rent and you start to pay your EMI. The going gets tough. A year later, you manage to get contact numbers of some other folks buying the apartment. You have a couple of meetings and speak to the developer. Another year passes by and while the amenities are pending, you decide you are going to shift in, come rain or hail. And you do.
The walls around the bathroom exhibit seepage. On some investigation, you realize, no water proofing chemical has been laid. So you stand and do that. The grill frames are still to be painted; you pay extra and get it done.
Another six months later, some more families move in. You wake up in the morning to a foul smell emanating from the basement. It is the septic tank. It requires an inexpensive chemical and periodic cleaning, none of which are getting done. The switch next to the fan turns the light on. The jogging track you thought would keep your diabetes at bay has a transformer in its way. Unless you are into pole vaulting, walking seems impossibility.
Then, the biggest whammy. The landowner has been offered 30 flats in the property, which never featured in the marketing spiel. So in the well landscaped common area you see a bed sheet with grain drying on it. Pretty soon, the security and the gardener are either babysitting the land owner’s children or carrying their groceries.
Soon you realize Bangalore is the medical tourist destination for many. Africans, Arabs and many others avail the service apartment facilities in your apartment block. The landowner has decided to convert them into service apartments. The ambulance outside the apartment block becomes a common sight.
Patients in masks, groaning in pain or coughing. You fret and fume, worry for your children, to no avail.
Very soon most of the children stop coming out to play. All attempts at making an association come to naught, much to the relief of the developer. Slowly but steadily you see your dream dissolving. Interest rates climb higher.
You start wishing you were not so naive. The wisdom in picking the right but more expensive developer comes to mind. The importance of not settling for just-so gets emphasized. It is after all a life altering decision. The need to say NO, post thorough research cannot be stressed more.
Research, discuss and ask for other customers you can speak to. Have clarity on how the developer has acquired the land. Are there any major stakeholders? (A family holding 30 flats in 120 has considerable say). Go with your gut. That niggling voice that speaks over your best laid plans must be listened to. Get value for your every rupee. There will always be circumstances that are not in your control, but there are many that are. Buying a house is a big decision for most, even if it’s for investment. Look at your own reserves, near future goals and current lifestyle before you sign on the dotted line. Better the peace of a rented space than hell that you can call your own.