‘Discounts on apartment prices are available all the year round’
Moneylife Digital Team 24 May 2011

Sachin Chaudhury, business head of Indiabulls Housing Finance, underlines the importance for home buyers not to be misguided by aggressive pricing by developers or be lured by freebies, but to undertake a proper check of the property and location, before making a purchase

"Negotiate with the developer, and you may come up with great discounts. Unlike our belief, discounts are available round the year," says Sachin Chaudhury, business head of Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd. Mr Chaudhury feels that a patient customer, who does his research well, has chances of making a better purchase and driving a hard bargain.

"Aggressive pricing often misguides customers. Generally, the price quoted in the advertisement is the raw cost of the least preferred flat. There are hidden prices for parking, maintenance, service and stamp charges, so don't get a shock later," he says.

Mr Chaudhury addressed a seminar, hosted by Moneylife Foundation in New Delhi, recently, and provided several tips for home buyers.

Many customers fall for the lure of freebies. But every 'free' item/facility has an add-on cost that builders may not mention earlier. At a time when developers are reeling under high debt, it is naive to assume that they will give away anything for free. However, the crisis for builders may emerge as a boon for customers, Mr Chaudhury suggests. It is mainly because builders are more desperate to sell now, with the off-take having reduced dramatically in the last two quarters and the severe loan and liquidity crisis.

Better deals are also available at the time of group bookings, since that also saves the builders a lot of hassle. Moreover, a good bargainer can gain customised fittings, flooring, and so on, and can design a convenient payment plan too. "Even brokers and underwriters (who buy properties en masse and sell to the public) can offer you good discounts," he says.

What many people forget is that the price of the property also depends on the locality where it is situated. So instead of blindly going for fancy 'countryside', 'riverside' or 'eco-surroundings' projects, located far off, it is better to check out first. "If you want a home in a place you don't know yet, go there and check it out for yourself. Do not limit yourself to inspecting the builders' project. How much is that area liveable?" Mr Chaudhury asks.

Mohammed Aslam, joint city head - Pune, Jones Lang LaSalle India, supports these views. "Property rates are not decided on the basis of land value alone-the surrounding infrastructure adds to the value of a location. If you have chosen your location well and are in a progressive and developing neighbourhood, your home will appreciate in value over the years, only because of the overall conveniences it will provide to future buyers," he says.

Mr Chaudhury underlines that it is always important to know when to buy. "If transactions are very low and prices are decreasing in a high-rate scenario, postpone buying. Buy a property where buyers are available with less effort and they are ready to buy with a shorter wait. This indicates that the situation is stable. And remember, if the price of the property is more than 25 times the annual rent that you are paying, stick with rentals," he says.

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