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Updated: November 29, 2013 15:56 IST
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Beware the bargain

sonal sachdev
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Ensure the documents relating to the property are in order and for this, seek legal help.
PTI Ensure the documents relating to the property are in order and for this, seek legal help.

While buying a home remember that the first sign of something being amiss is a discount to market rate, says Sonal Sachdev

A brand that once rubbed shoulders with the taste of thunder, Thums Up, is now made infamous by a housing scam. The tale of home owners in the Campa Cola Housing Society in Mumbai’s tony Worli is driving caution in realty deals. And more instances of developer’s half-truths are coming to light.

The first sign of something being amiss is a discount to market rate. Someone quite close to me was recently exploring options to buy a home in an affluent locality of Mumbai. They were pleasantly surprised at managing to zero in on a house that was being sold at a rate 20% lower than the asking price for other apartments in the area. It was a ready-to-move-in apartment, built by a developer of some repute. The apartment complex was well laid out. It was plush. The apartment too was well designed and fitted. A steal you’d say?

Banks didn’t point to anything being amiss. The developer “of repute” had his projects on the approved list of banks. A loan was available. As the day of token payment to close the deal neared, a nagging sense of something being not quite kosher prodded the new home buyers to reach out to a friend with “connections” in the municipal corporation. Lo and behold, there was a rat. The entire residential complex has been built on land earmarked for a school playground. How the developer gained access to the land, wrested control and managed to develop the area without anyone creating a hue and cry is a mystery.

The fact, however, is that hapless home buyers who might have unknowingly invested their life savings in these apartments might suffer a similar fate as residents of Campa Cola Housing Society.

The only solution to guard against such instances is to ensure the documents relating to the property—sanctioned layout plan, building plan, occupation certificate, ownership deed etc—are in order. Given the tedious task of securing and ascertaining the authenticity of such documents, it is advisable to seek legal help. A lawyer’s pay will keep the demolition squad away. Be safe in your new home.

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