Dream home or nightmare? Buy­ers please take note

HT Estates - - NEWS - Anil Pha­rande feed­back@hin­dus­tan­times.com Anil Pha­rande is chair­man, Pha­rande Spa­ces

When we look at the whynew­firsthome­buy­er­sre­gret their pur­chase, there­a­son­s­given vary widely among peo­ple in dif­fer­ent parts of the world. Whenit comes to home pur­chase, the ‘re­gret’ fac­tor is quite in­ter­twined­with­so­cial­val­ues- asetof vari­ables whereno­cookie-cut­ter ap­proach can ob­vi­ously ap­ply. Af­ter all, what is con­sid­ered im­por­tantinAus­traliaorCanada may not res­onate very loudly in an In­dian’s mind­set. Nev­er­the­less, it is pos­si­ble to come­up­with a list of re­grets which are com­mon to ev­ery­one, re­gard­less of ge­og­ra­phy or cul­ture.

Be­fore weget­into this, it is rel­e­vant to re­flect on why peo­ple wind up mak­ing home pur­chase de­ci­sions that in­vite re­gret later on. The fore­most rea­sons are im­pul­sive­ness and ex­ces­sive fo­cus on a low pur­chase price. While im­pul­sive­ness can have many rea­sons, be­ing overly fo­cused on get­ting a cheap deal need­sto­re­al­fur­ther­ex­plo­ration. In real es­tate, when you buy cheap, you get cheap.

This means that what you get wheny­oubuythecheap­est­pos­si­ble prop­er­tyis def­i­nitely no­top­ti­mal ex­cept per­haps in terms of cost price. Prop­erty prices are dic­tated by lo­ca­tion, avail­able civic and so­cial in­fra­struc­ture and the pres­ence of good ameni­ties and fa­cil­i­ties. If one chooses the cheap­est avail­able prop­erty, thereis­bound­to­bea­com­pro­mise on­these very im­por­tant fac­tors - and it is th­ese fac­tors that lead to sat­is­fac­tion with­one’shome­pur­chase in the first place.

An­other com­mon re­gret is winding up too far from one’s work­place. Theneg­a­tive­ef­fect of liv­ing too far from one’s work­place is es­pe­cially felt by peo­ple who lived in rental ac­com­mo­da­tion be­fore buy­ing their home. Be­cause­oftherel­a­tively af­ford­able rent struc­ture in In­dia, fam­i­lies can usu­ally rent homes con­ve­niently close to their in­come earn­ers’ places of work.

While the pride of home own­er­ship af­ter years of liv­ing in rental homes is un­de­ni­able, this joy­canbe­se­ri­ous­ly­di­lut­ed­bythe work­placedis­tance­fac­tor. Thi­sis one of the pri­mary rea­sons why in­te­grated town­ships work so well in In­dia.

Such­town­ship­shavecom­mer­cial of­fice spa­ces in­te­grated into the project along­side res­i­den­tial spa­ces, thereby cre­at­ing the per­fect jux­ta­po­si­tion of res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial catch­ments. A home in a town­ship which also hosts one’s place of em­ploy­ment is the very def­i­ni­tion of ‘dream home’ in In­dia.

An as­so­ci­ated home­buyer re­gret - lack of kinder­garten­sand schools in the vicin­ity - is of­ten a ‘hid­den’fac­tor­fornewly-mar­ried couples that only rears its head when chil­dren are on the way. A home may be quite per­fect in oth­er­re­spects, but­non-avail­abil­ity of good play schools ini­tially and pri­mary schools there­after can be a se­ri­ous spoil­sport.

For closely re­lated rea­sons, in­ad­ver­tently buyin­ga­home­ina neigh­bour­hood­with­ahigh­crime rate be­comes a ground for huge re­gret. Whileeven­low-end­hous­ing projects usu­ally haveat least some level of se­cu­rity for res­i­dents, the world beyond its gates is beyond con­trol. Safety and se­cu­rity have be­come a ma­jor is­sue whose sever­ity keeps mounting in all In­dian cities.

In­suf­fi­cient in­fra­struc­ture is an­oth­er­ma­jor­source­ofre­gretof in­ex­pe­ri­enced home­buy­ers. It is not un­usual for peo­ple to make home­pur­chasede­ci­sion­slargely based on mis­lead­ing as­sur­ances by­bro­kers, de­vel­op­er­sand­pre­vi­ous own­ers with re­gards to the avail­abil­ity of wa­teran­d­elec­tric­ity. Sincethe­sup­plyreg­u­lar­i­tyof the­se­high­ly­im­por­tantre­sources can of­ten not be es­tab­lished on a sin­gle in­spec­tion - and, in In­dia, even changes with the sea­sons - buy­ers can wind up re­gret­ting their pur­chase­wheni­tis­toolate.

NowthattheRealEs­tateReg­u­la­tion Act(RERA) is in­place, mis­lead­ing as­sur­ance­shave­be­come pun­ish­able­by­law, bu­ton­ly­tothe ex­tent that there is doc­u­mented ev­i­dence­ofthem. Inother­words, it is now pun­ish­able by law to ad­ver­tise or oth­er­wise mar­ket prop­er­ties in a mis­lead­ing man­ner. How­ever, ver­bal as­sur­ances canob­vi­ous­ly­not­be­tracked- and un­for­tu­nately, count­less prop­erty buy­ers have had rea­son to re­gret tak­ing too many ver­bal as­sur­ances at face value.

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