The first step, while scouting for a property, is to put down what you’re looking for – quality of construction, reputation of the builder, cost, amenities and other thing that you consider as essential. Ensure that the project you are considering, has good connectivity, as well as legal clearances, vis-à-vis the commencement certificate, occupancy certificate, land ownership, and parking allotments.
1) Do your research
If you don’t know what these terms mean, read up on them. Go online and research builders/projects that you may be interested in. See what other people say about them and check if there are any complaints from prior customers.
2) Don’t get distracted
Do not be swayed by low prices on properties that are located in far flung areas, with brochures claiming that the area is ‘about to be developed’ or ‘close enough to walk to the upcoming airport’. For all you know, the proposed infrastructure (say, a flyover) may never be built and the airport may not come up until 2050. If a project has a swimming pool for which you need to pay Rs four lakh more, consider how often you will use the pool.
3) Know where and what you can afford
Before visiting any expo, do the math to know exactly what you can afford. Find out what savings and investments you have, and which of these you will need to liquidate. Check your loan eligibility, by visiting a bank’s website or by speaking to a loan agent.
While evaluating your budget and loan amount, factor in the cost of existing loans and your regular expenses. Remember that stamp duty, registration, loan processing fees, brokerage and other costs may amount to almost 20%.
At the exhibition
- Ensure that you are dressed comfortably, as it may get quite crowded. Carry a large bag for brochures
- Carry a list of questions that you intend to ask, along with a pen, a notepad, a calculator and water
- Look at the layout map, or take a quick walk around the place, without stopping anywhere at first. Once you know where your preferred properties are, start visiting those stalls first. Leave second-best for later
- Keep site visits for a different day and utilise the time to gather information on as many properties as possible
- After visiting your preferred stalls, chat with other visitors. Ask them which projects they are considering and why. You may glean some unexpected information, this way
- If you have zeroed-in on a property, do not rush to buy it, even if the developer claims that an amazing discount would end soon, as such sales tactics are often used to encourage buyers to close the deal
- Do not hesitate to bargain hard. If you are unable to do it yourself, bring along an experienced friend or agent who can help
- Visit the expo during off-peak hours – during the afternoon or when it opens up in the morning – to get undivided attention from the builders’ representatives
- With prior research, you will know the top projects in the location of your choice. See what prices are being quoted for these. Having this knowledge, will help you shop and bargain better
- Don’t disclose excess information but if the developer is stuck at a price just above your budget, be frank and say that you cannot afford anything above X amount. Once they realise you are serious, they may be willing to negotiate
For virtual fairs
- Before the exhibition, check your internet connection speed and ensure you have Java and Flash installed
- Just like in a physical exhibition, take notes, do the calculations and ask questions in the virtual fair too
- Attend online chats and webinars with the developers of your preferred projects. The organisers of the expo often have an online help facility, which you can use, if you run into any obstacle
Before you finalise the deal
1) Ask about recurring costs, such as property tax, monthly maintenance and charges for amenities such as a club house or swimming pool
2) Even if you have sufficient funds, take a housing loan for a small amount. Reputed banks will check all the paperwork and legal permissions, before extending a loan. Alternatively, you can also enlist the services of a lawyer who specialises in property transactions