Monday, August 01, 2011

Buying an apartment: My experience

The first question is whether to buy or rent. There is a mature rent vs buy debate out there and I respect all the points for and against. I still went for a 'buy' decision because of an emotional reason. It is not easy to change a house like one changes a fridge/washing machine. I tend to develop emotional 'roots' in a house, in the shops/vendors/restaurants/libraries around the house, in the sunrise I get to see from my bedroom balcony, etcetra etcetra. Changing a house due to landlord's diktat (even when I have no need to shift) is painful.
Once I decided to buy, I bought my apartment when it was nothing more than hole in the ground. From that point till I got possession has been a tale of pain, humiliation, despair, depression. I finally got my apartment but I never look forward to buying a property ever again in future(if I can help it).
Since then, I have suggested everybody to buy only ready-to-move-in properties, be it from builder or from earlier buyer. There are some learnings which I want to share.
Pros of buying ready-to-move-in property:
  1. In Bangalore, there is a saying: "Whole of bangalore is disputed territory". This adage can safely be extended to any Indian city. One never knows when a piece of land is declared illegal or disputed. One never knows when an ad comes up in newspapers cautioning hapless customers about the disputed nature of the property and hence stalling the construction. The name/reputation/size of the builder is immaterial here. However, when you are buying a ready-to-move-in property, you are sure that most of legal disputes are already sorted out.
  2. There is an argument that in a ready-to-move-in property you miss out on the opportunity of doing civil alteration. This argument is a weak one.
    All the civil alterations (like extra-loft/cement-shelves) I did turned out to be unnecessary. The builder and architects generally do a good job in designing the floor-plan and structures. An amateurish intervention (like I did) in a well thought out plan brings forth unforeseen chaos.
    For example, I asked for a loft. It gave me storage but made a critical bulb-point useless. I could have used lot of innovative furnitures to make extra storage. There is no dearth of furniture shops with innovative designs.
    Another alteration I requested was for cement shelves. I thought I will save on cupboard costs. After I got possession, I found out so many affordable and beautiful readymade almirahs. However, I had to give them a pass as my cement-made-shelves came in the way. I had to buy a suboptimal furniture which fits my cement shelves. I am now seriously thinking of bringing down those cement structures which were put up on my request (and money) in the first place.
    Long story short, civil-alterations/electrical-point-alterations in an under construction property sounds exciting but is actually not for amateurs like me.
  3. In a ready-to-move-in-property, what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG). Never underestimate the power of WYSIWYG. In my apartment complex, there are flats whose main balcony is ruined because of a super-structure which possibly strengthens and beautifies the overall building look. The building does look good but I feel for the poor souls whose main balcony projects into the super-structure. There is no way, the affected flats could have figured this out when they were buying holes in ground. Nor is builder at fault because he never explicitly promised about anything which lies outside a flat. The problem is again our amateurishness. We look at the hole in ground, we look at the colourful brochure, we look at one model flat and we think we know how our flat will look. That is not true. An experienced construction professional may surmise the final appearance from drawings but not amateur buyers. This problem does not arise in case of ready to move in property.
Cons:
  1. One pain of buying ready-to-move-in-property is the legal/paperwork. There is an established infrastructure for buying under-construction property. However, for buying ready-to-move-in property, there are additional apprehensions of getting duped. There is fear of buying a property which has already been sold to N-customers earlier. If reliable broker/lawyer-services can be found who help in buying ready-to-move-in properties, that will be great.

4 comments:

Nishant said...

Accidently reached to this blog,Sambaran. So nice of you to share your experience and take this pain. Goes on to show your kindness. Thanks.

Also, i read your query on 'Health Insurance' on Jagoinvestor.com

I am interested in buying Health insurance for myself and my family. Can you share your portfolio of health insurance. My queries were same as yours but you covered every aspect.

You can , if you wish reply to me on nishantkoria@gmail.com. I stay in bangalore.

thanks,
Nishant.

Sambaran said...

@Nishant,

Good to know that you liked my blog. Regarding medical insurance, let us take the conversation forward through personal emails. I still do not have all the answers but I hope one day the answers will come.

Anonymous said...

thats a nice blog...would love to read more of your writings...

keep it up friend!

Anonymous said...

well written blog Sambaran, I am going thru same pain and thoughts. but ready to move in has it's own legal worries exactly as put in your blog. -- Naresh