Things to check
The first and the most important thing to check while buying a house, is the builder’s construction experience. Generally, every reputed builder has a list of completed, ongoing and upcoming projects on his website. This can help the buyer get an idea about the number and type of projects that have been executed by the builder, in and around the buyer’s target city.
“Experienced builders generally have clearly laid-out processes or steps, for different construction tasks, from project approvals to the actual construction,” says Pramod Ranjan Dwivedi, head –real estate marketing and customer care, Ambuja Neotia Group.
The buyer should ensure that the project has a clear legal title and all approvals, like environmental clearances, are in place. “The building’s plans will reflect the type of usage of space (commercial/residential). If the construction is not as per approved plans, then, the buyer should avoid such projects, as they may face difficulties in getting the occupancy certificate (OC). Once the buyer is satisfied with the plans, he should have a look at the construction quality,” advises Pakshal Sanghvi, director of Sanghvi Realty.
“With respect to the building, buyers can ask the developer for a copy of the structural stability certificate, issued by the structural engineer, to be certain that the building has been designed and built as per the load estimated,” suggests Karan Chandrashekar, managing director, Karan Property Developments Pvt Ltd. “One can also go through a few test reports, to understand the concrete and steel strengths of the materials used. Additionally, the buyer could ask about the type and thickness of blocks used for construction and the brand of cement. If someone has used a four-inch block for an external wall, it is certainly not advisable,” says Chandrashekar.
Buyers should ensure that the specifications offered by the developer, are endorsed in the agreement for sale. They should also examine whether the electrical load meets their requirements and if waterproofing has been done in the bathrooms. A home buyer can even consult an architect, for clarifications, vis-à-vis the specifications. “Periodical site inspections by the buyer will really be helpful. These inspections, if carried out with the help of an experienced architect or engineer, can eliminate the possibility of issues cropping up later,” explains Anil Bhaskaran, urban planner, chief architect and MD of IDEA Centre Architects.
Steps that home buyers should follow
Following all these precautions and finally investing in a property, is not the end of the road. Buyers should put in as much effort, to maintain the house and its premises, after the purchase. The residents’ association should be active in ensuring that every aspect of the building is being properly maintained, thereby, preventing the building from deteriorating.
- Home owners should never break or modify structural elements, like beams or columns.
- Avoid making alterations to the plumbing system, without the help of the building’s plumber, as any breakage could lead to seepage, which could make the building weak.
- Residents should consult a structural consultant every 15-20 years, to obtain a structural stability certificate for the building.
- Annual maintenance contracts for lifts, diesel generators, sewage treatment plants, filtration systems, etc., have to be in place. Residents should also have provisions in place, to service the various pumps, motors, etc.
- Underground sumps and overhead tanks should be cleaned every six months, to ensure that clean water is supplied to the apartments and dirt does not collect inside the pipes.
- Painting and plastering should be redone, as needed.