What Really Matters
As a first-time buyer of an apartment, before investing all our hard-earned money, we make enquiries with one and all so that we can get the best value for our money. It is during these interactions that we first come across the term RERA * and how this has been introduced by the government to protect the interests of the buyer.
Questions that immediately comes to our minds are:
- In what way or ways are we protected?
- Is there a rate fixed for the sale of an apartment?
- Does it help in getting a better quality product?
- If a home inspection is done at the finishing stages of the project, will there be less cause for worry, particularly in important areas such as avoidance of leakage or dampness?
The answer to these questions is that RERA has to do with total quality of delivery and avoiding conflicts between the builder and the buyer.
Timely Delivery of Projects:
One of the major worry of a buyer is about timely completion of the project. Many are the instances of individuals who have invested all their savings in paying up for an apartment and then being forced to live in rented accommodation as the project dragged on. This is particularly hard for retirees who do not have a sufficient source of income from which they could pay out this rent. By imposing penalties for undue delays, the Bill has taken care of this vital factor.
The next point of concern was whether the project would get stalled because of lack of government approvals or due to litigation with someone who may turn out to the lawful owner of the land. The bill ensures that all legal facets of the plot and the permissions are made transparent so that the buyer can be sure of all the factors before entering into an agreement.
One needs to know if what is being paid is a reasonable amount. There are so many confusing terms such as Built-up area, Carpet Area and Super-built up area which may be intelligible to a person who has been for long in this field. Not for the man in the street, for whom the only way out is go running to someone, and it is usually a friend or a relative who may be equally at sea. Apples are being compared to oranges but the buyer does not know that and so, more often than not, commits a blunder.
The catalogue may show that there is a swimming pool, Gym, badminton court and many other facilities some of which may never even be used once. In addition, projects have fancy names such as ‘Misty Mountain Greens’ or ‘Green Fern Valley’. The real carrot dangling before the customer will the comparatively low rate per Sq.Ft. This could be lower than that of an apartment purchased by a close friend and most amazing, they did not have all the amenities promised by this builder.
It is only when the project is in the finishing stages that realization dawns. The only thing ‘Green’ about the project may be the paint on the external wall and the swimming pool may be good only for walking around it as it is well paved.
But now RERA has got into the act and made it clear what the buyer should be sold is the livable space. All the other amenities or facilities could be advertised but not charged for. Once this rate for the livable area which is defined as the area excluding the external walls, balconies and ducts (but including internal walls), then it is easy to know what one is getting. The rest is just the icing on the cake.
* REAL ESTATE REGULATORY AUTHORITY