5 questions customers never ask builders!

25 Oct,2010

Today’s home-buying customer is pretty smart. Without moving a muscle, he is able to get a lot of information about different types, areas, features and locations. Carefully and patiently, he matches his aspirations and budget to what is available and then chooses. Quite smart, eh? Well, not quite if one truly begins to understand the way apartments are built and sold. The buyer slowly gets into a painful (and expensive) education about what he and his family are truly getting. Well, if one is really lucky and the developer takes pains to educate the buyer and sets expectations, there could be some smooth sailing.

Here are 5 questions which one could ask the developer, sooner than later. And get lucky while choosing a home.

#1: “Excuse me, but what is your track record?”
Always resist temptations to brush aside a process to check the antecedents of the developer. References are always the best option, and if there is no family member or friend from whom a reference check about the developer can be obtained, seek third-party references or ask the developer for contacts of previous owners.

#2: “Can you truly explain the access?”
It may be great having a development on a major road, but it may emerge that there is really no direct access from the road. While scrutinizing the location, ask questions about the future urban development plans in and around the area. Would I be able to travel to my workspace faster, Would my kids’ schools be accessible. Bottomline, accessibility is more important that location in determining the appreciation of a property. For example, properties which are closer to metro stations show considerable appreciation and demand.

#3: “Will you stick to your construction schedule?”

When handover of a home gets delayed, it leads to multiple repercussions for the buyer. For one, shifting plans can get seriously awry. If kids’ schools are involved, planning may be further impacted. The more serious implication is financial. While the buyer continues to pay EMIs on any loans, he will now have to bear the additional burden of rents for the time delayed, in case this is a first home purchase. Banks can also stop releasing further installments if the project is extraordinarily delayed; in which case, the buyer is helplessly stuck in the middle of a vicious cycle. It is better to ask the developer to commit to the schedule in writing and suggest delay-based compensation if any.

#4: “Can we talk to the architectural team?”
Most developers do not understand architectural design in detail and they end up not getting 100% commitment from their architects. Now the buyer should be worried, since it is he, and not the developer who is going to stay in the house. The design of a house is complicated and to truly get 100% efficiency from your house, it is important for the architects to apply thought while designing the spaces. For example, the buyer may think that corridors are the norm, but what if you have to shift a large appliance or piece of furniture to a particular room at the end of the corridor.

#5: “Can you explain the electrical plan in detail?”
It is interesting how a layperson fails to understand the intricacies of an electrical layout plan. The realization of loopholes becomes evident when the buyer takes possession. By then, it is too late to do anything but to adjust to the fittings provided. Ask to understand the details!

There are many more, but these should be a good start for buyers to better understand what they are getting.

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