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Some points to be noted while buying a building.

Must follow the rules and norms of land

As per the Kerala Municipal Building Rules (KMBR)‚ the total built up area permitted (FAR) for project is a proportion of the total land area. This proportion depends on the width of road‚ locality and so on. Any project crossing this permitted area will be liable for regularisation or Demolition. And buildings should adhere to Standard Building Codes / Construction Practices and prevailing building rules.

Completion certificate / occupancy certificate

Getting the Completion certificate / occupancy certificate makes sure that the developer has followed the approved plan to construct the building. Electricity‚ water connection and occupancy are conditional on whether the building is certified as being constructed in compliance of planning permit‚ building permit and other applicable laws.

Non encumbrance certificate

It is important to confirm that the property does not have any legal dues at the time of buying an apartment‚ land or house. One must ensure that the property he intends to buy has clear and marketable title. The non encumbrance certificate certifies that the property is not mortgaged and has no legal dues.

Soil & water test

Soil and water test must be conducted before the design and construction. A soil test analyses the nature of the soil and based on this report the structural design of the foundation / structure should be designed by the structural engineer. A water test certifies the quality of water its suitability for construction and domestic usage. Poor quality water used for construction would have consequences on the life of the structure.

Pursue the original title deed

We strongly recommend that the person purchasing should pursue the original title deed of the property along with the related parent documents to verify the legal right of the Builder to sell the property. Also verify the power of attorney executed in the favour of the Builder to develop and sell the property.

Legal opinion to build

The draft copy of the 'agreement to build' is the most important document that any home buyer needs to study. Usually the fine print on the ownership of the clubhouse‚ internal roads‚ terraces and open spaces and formation of the society is always a bit nebulous. It might help to take professional advice as home buying is a lifetime decision.

Payment receipts

Property taxes which are due to the government or municipality have a first charge on the property and therefore‚ ensure that all taxes have been paid up to date. The Builder should also possess the latest tax paid receipts‚ which you may inspect and obtain a copy. The Purchaser should also confirm that the Builder has cleared all statutory dues like electricity bill / property tax/land tax etc. and receipts have been obtained.

Agreement clauses on successive buyers & occupiers

Occupants of an apartment irrespective of being a purchaser‚ tenant or a nominee are bound by the clauses for Agreement to build between the Builder and the first Purchaser. The Agreement to Build including the clauses pertaining to maintenance and association‚ holds good for successive purchasers and their nominees. An owner of the apartment has the onus to ensure that his nominees / tenants comply with the clauses and bye laws of the Association and there should be a clause in the Agreement to Build to this effect.

Common areas

The co–owners of the property have the right to the common area as also the proportionate share of common area inbuilt in the super built up area for which they have paid. But then‚ the usage should not be in a way that is exclusive or advantageous to one person. Common areas are there for common and equal enjoyment.

Friendly environment

The energy requirements of certain type of buildings act as a burden on the environment. And in the long run end up burning huge holes in your energy bills. Sustainable buildings however don’t fall under this bracket. They are buildings conceived with eco–friendly material and energy conserving processes. Green buildings are by definition sustainable. It helps to raise questions about the sustainability as it might affect your electricity bills and carbon footprint in the years to come.

Apartment maintenance cost

The total common maintenance expenses of a project should be shared among the occupants‚ in proportion to their apartment area. Therefore make sure the maintenance charges have been calculated according to the total area you own and the same is mentioned in the agreement. The Builder Agreement should also stipulate that every purchaser agrees to be a part of the association and that in case the purchaser rents out his space the rules of the association shall be binding on the tenant.

Insured Homes

Insurance from natural disasters protects the structure from calamities like cyclone‚ earthquake‚ floods etc. Insurance from man made disasters guards you against thefts‚ fire‚ electrical failure and terrorism. It always helps to buy homes from a builder who bundles home insurance. Even when the insurance is bundled‚ it makes sense to study as to what the coverage entails.

Payment schedule to match with work–in–progress

There is a growing tendency among purchaser to pay the full amount at the outset to enjoy the benefit of better price. However a small gain now may turn detrimental in future. Paying upfront is putting oneself at the mercy of the Builder. There are two methods of payment schedule‚ Payment linked to specified dates and Payment linked to work in progress. It is always in the interest of the Purchaser if the payment schedule is in accordance with work in progress because he can see the progress of work and then commit his payment.

Association membership clause

When the project is completed/handed over, and when all occupants start living in it, the various aspects related to the maintenance has to be undertaken and addressed by the Residents’ Association. The Builder should initiate the association formation process and help in electing the office bearers and take care of its functions till the elected body takes charge hence the need for incorporating the association membership clause an integral part of the agreement.

Pre–EMI payments

Delay in completion of the project burdens you with paying EMI for the property you have not yet taken possession of‚ along with the rental for your rental premises if you are staying in a rental accommodation. Phased disbursement linked to work progress makes it obligatory for the builder to stick to time schedules and enables you to exercise control on the builder for performance.

Home loan

Home Loan is a loan taken by the borrower from the bank‚ issued against the property intended to be bought by the borrower‚ giving the banker a conditional ownership over the property. Borrowers are required to pay at least 20% of the value of property at the time of availing home loan. Interests on Home Loans are of two types: Fixed Interest Loans and Floating Interest Loans. It is advisable to insure both your Home and Home Loan to safeguard your interest. The normal tenure of the home loan is 20 years and depends on the current age of the borrower. Home Loan principal & interest repayments are eligible for income tax rebates.

Visit completed projects of Builder before you buy a home

When you are making a lifetime investment like buying a home just check out the property you intend to buy may not be enough. If you are buying an apartment‚ check out the credentials and track record of the Builder. Get hold of a list of other projects undertaken by the Builder and inspect these projects to see how they have braved the vagaries of weather‚ usage and time. It will also enable you to assess the quality of construction‚ the materials used and the standards observed. Also meet existing customers of the Builder and understand the quality of after sales service and customer satisfaction levels.

Open Space/Landscape in high-rise buildings

Multi storied buildings mean buildings exceeding 16 meters in height. The advantages of high-rise buildings are that it provides for more plot area as open space that can be utilized effectively by creating play areas and other such amenities. Make sure that each member of your family has something for them too. Your children need space to play‚ and the family as a whole needs a beautiful garden to spend those evenings‚ etc. A lack of all these would make them feel boxed in. Moreover a beautiful landscape in itself is soothing to the mind and soul. A perfect home is vital for a perfect living and ever–lasting happiness. So decide on a home that has everything for everyone.

Probate of Will

Probate is a legal process that takes place after someone’s death. It usually involves proving that the Will of the deceased is valid, having it appraised and finally distributing the property as per Will or State law. Probate means copy of the Will certified under the seal of a court of a competent jurisdiction. It is conclusive evidence of the validity and due execution of the Will and of the testamentary capacity of the testator. Probate of Will is compulsory where either the property covered in the Will or the permanent address of the Testator‚ falls within the original city limits.

NRIs and RBI Norms

An NRI (Non Resident Indian) may acquire any immovable property in India other than agricultural / plantation / farm house. He is also permitted to transfer any immovable property in India to a person resident in India. The purchase shall be made out of funds received in India by way of inward remittance from any place outside India or funds held in any Non Resident (NRE/NRO) account maintained in accordance with FEMA and regulations of Reserve Bank of India. NRI can avail housing loans from Housing Finance Institution in India for purchase of residential accommodation. Such a Loan shall be repaid by way of inward remittance through normal banking channel‚ by debit to NRE /NRO account or out of rental income from such property.