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Homebuyers must know budget & needs

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Bottom Line: If a homebuyer is conscious of budget and knows the needs, one would never fall into the trap of builder’s marketing gimmicks.

Homebuyers, Happy Homebuyers, Buyers as brand ambassadors, Happy home owners, NRIs, Family in new house, India real estate news, Indian property market, Best news magazine on real estateThe builder offered her everything, right from swimming pool to club and gym to free Wi-Fi; amenities that could have been dream for a school teacher like Anuradha Sengupta. The sales guys then persuaded her to stretch the budget far more to get the quality of life that only a few privileged ones can afford. And she landed up in the fancy trap that was so beautifully laid out. One year down the line she feels in the absence of any homebuyer education in India, even a school teacher fell prey to temptations.

“I am like paying for a fancy trap. To meet the expenses of EMIs is unbearable and don’t know when the apartment will be ready. I made the mistake of not differentiating between wants & needs. Paying so high EMI for the kind of facilities that I will hardly get time to avail makes no sense. But while making the deal with the builder the audio-visual presentation was too tempting to resist,” says Anuradha.

Analysts therefore recommend that the average homebuyers must know their budget and needs to avoid the builders’ fancy traps. What you may want does not necessarily fit into your budget segment and the quest to have something more is endless. The smart builders do understand this temptation of gullible homebuyers and in the absence of homebuyers’ education in this part of the world their temptation is what sells the fancy marketing offerings of the developers.

With the reasonable expectation of a roof over the head not very long ago, the real estate boom in this part of the world has scaled up the liberty of choice for the average homebuyers. While the aspirations of even the middle and lower middle income with moderate budget have gone up, there are very many residential projects launched in recent times that seem to fill the gap with the promise of hi-tech amenities, luxurious lifestyle, lush green surroundings within the range of Rs. 30-70 lakhs.

However, amidst this problem of plenty one also goes through all those anxiety pangs that normally come while mulling over the decision of buying a home. In the euphoria of buying a house most of the first-time buyers overlook their wants and needs and make mistakes. This is where a house hunting checklist comes into the picture. If you create a checklist of the things you need in a home as well as other things worth looking at along the way, you will have a much easier time with the house hunting process. The first step, however, is to keep in mind the budget and then look for what best is available in the given budget.

Legal experts point out that the legal and practical checklist remains the same whether one is opting for a house worth Rs. 30 lakhs, 50 lakhs or 70 lakhs. However, the value addition that is on offer goes up with more budget in hand. Location, size, construction, amenities and outdoors are some of the parameters to consider when the buyer shells out 50 lakhs or 70 lakhs for the house.

Developers nevertheless have their own version of defining the demand. Nikhil Hawelia, Managing Director of Hawelia Group says there is nothing wrong for a low-ticket buyer to expect the quality experience. According to him, instead of compromising on the quality of amenities that the modern homebuyers want (and often also need) the budget segment should be determined by the distance from the main city and the work place. If one is ready to travel an hour or so for getting a luxurious feel at home, the market should be ready to respond to this set of buyers as well.

“I believe in today’s market place where most of the young buyers are aspirational, even when they have budget constraints, their budget should be a criterion only for location and the size of the apartment. They should not be devoid of modern amenities and that is how a new emerging segment of affordable luxury can meet the market expectations as well during the slowdown. This is how urbanization has evolved the across the world,” says Hawelia.

The final choice nevertheless rests with the homebuyers that what are their expectations within the budget that they have. More importantly, they should know the difference between the wants and needs. They should also be conscious of the fact that whether they want to go for a modern living on the periphery of the city or would prefer to live close to the city with less fancy offerings. Whatever be the choice, they must get their checklist in place before house hunt begins.

The catchword here is not to get lured by fancy international picture and remain realistic with the expectations. Expecting luxuries like the golf course is fraught with danger keeping in mind the ground realities where affordable housing project is always a challenge for the developer too. Developers should also be conscious of their offerings. There is no point offering free Wi-Fi zone with a Rs. 30 lakh apartment, as majority of the homebuyers may not be having a laptop at home.

If the budget is Rs 30 lakhs and one is moving from a rented flat to his own, one should look at the location and distance from the work place. Since most of such projects are on the periphery of the city, one must also look for the infrastructure within the project. A buyer can be a bit fancy if he has a budget of Rs. 50 lakhs expecting the size of the bedroom & drawing room to be a bit bigger and facilities like car parking being provided. A difference of 10-15 per cent can be expected if the buyer is looking for a project nearer to the city. With the budget of Rs. 70 lakhs, however, one can expect to elevate the level of living with far better architecture and amenities, like garden & play area, swimming pools, club, modular kitchen and full power back-up.

Liberty of choice might be scaling up across the budget segment of housing today due to cut-throat competition in the housing, but the unrealistic expectations might land up the homebuyer into financial trap as well. Homebuyers should be conscious of the budget and the wish list to evaluate what they want and what they need.

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