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Signing agreement with builder? 5-point checklist!

Last updated on: June 19, 2009 16:52 IST
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So you have identified the house that you want to buy, got the home loan approved and now are ready to own your house. Think its smooth sailing from here onwards? Think again.

Once you have completed these formalities, the next part is ensuring that the builder does not entangle you in any legal traps. There are some very important points to consider when you are about to enter into an agreement with the developer.

Let's take a look at 5 such points you need to remember and the measures you can take against them.

Point 1: Actual price of the house

The agreement you enter into with the builder details the various costs that you will need to bear for buying the house. This would include the cost for utilities like electricity and water, parking space, various taxes and in some cases even the registration charges.

However, the builder may then levy some extra charges for any of these.

Measures to take

  • Check the agreement very carefully for all the charges applicable.
  • If possible, get the agreement checked by a lawyer for any missing or hidden charges and get the anomalies (if any) rectified by the builder.
  • If the extra charges are for alterations made to the original plan, ask the builder for the sanction letter provided by government authorities for such alterations.

Point 2: Actual size of the house

The agreement would clearly mention the size of the house you are purchasing. However, there is a clause which states '. . . the plans, designs, and specifications are tentative and the developer reserves the right to make variations and modifications. . .'

Therefore, you may agree for a certain size, but the builder can give a different size.

Measures to take

  • Before freezing on your choice of a builder, do some research about the builder's past projects.
  • If possible, talk with other buyers who already have got possession about problems faced by them
  • Try and include a clause in the agreement stating the minimum and maximum size beyond which the builder cannot increase or decrease.

Point 3: Carpet area

The area of an apartment or building, not inclusive of the area of the walls is known as carpet area. This is the area in which literally a 'carpet' can be laid.

When the area of the walls including the balcony is calculated along with the carpet area, it is known as built-up area. The built-up area along with the area under common spaces like lobby, lifts, stairs, garden and swimming pool is called super built-up area.

The carpet area can be 15-30 per cent less than the super built-up area. However, you will not come to know the exact size until the flat'ss construction has been completed.

Measures to take

  • Purchase the property based on the carpet area of the flat.
  • Ensure that this area is mentioned in the agreement.
  • Try to get a clause included which will ensure that the contract can be terminated if the builder provides a house with the carpet area less than what is mentioned in the contract.

Point 4: Date of possession

The agreement normally mentions a tentative date of possession. However, there have been instances where builders have delayed possession by more than a year.

Measure to take

  • Check the progress of the construction personally.
  • If the progress is slow and would not meet the date of possession in a timely manner, build pressure on the builder.
  • Forming a society with other buyers sometimes helps a lot in getting things to speed up at the builders end.

Point 5: Completion certificate

On handing over the house to you, the builder needs to also give a Completion certificate. a completion certificate is issued by municipal authorities which establishes that the building complies with the approved plan.

You would need this certificate for registration of your house and other government formalities.

Measures to take

  • If the agreement does not mention the certificate, ensure that the agreement has a clause which states that the builder will provide the certificate while handling over the house to you.
  • If the builder delays a lot, forming a society with other buyers sometimes helps a lot.

Other than these five points there more points such as the quality of the construction, management of the society, et cetera.

For this you can try to add clauses to the agreement or form a society to get the builder to meet your demands. Since there is no industry regulator you can turn to for the redressal of issues, it is important that you are aware of what you want and what you are getting.

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