The property market out there is an opaque jungle where buyers have to be on guard

Everything should have a limit, corruption too. But as seen in the case of Supertech’s 40-storeyed towering plans in Noida, the administrators and builders often play games that home buyers get caught up in.

In this particular case, the builder compromised the green area indicated in the plan and started construction of two 40-storeyed towers two-and-a-half years before the approval—which they were certain of obtaining—came through from the Noida administration. Originally, the plan was to build a residential tower of ground plus 11 floors, which in 2009 was revised to ground plus 24 floors and still later to its premeditated intent of scaling 40.

Imagine the plight of home buyers who thought they were getting the highest floors at 10th or 11th suddenly finding more roofs over their heads. Those who hoped to be perched atop the 24th floor must have been floored by the further revision in altitude. Dark clouds continue to hover over the fate of the towers with the Supreme Court’s stay on razing the towers, providing only a temporary reprieve.

Coincidentally, even as the fate of Supertech’s towers remains in question, the development authority in Mumbai has announced plans to make details of approved building plans available online for viewing by prospective buyers. All plans approved since June 2013 are expected to be accessible. This can spell a big leap in transparency, provided the information provided is regularly updated and complete. It can also put pressure on administration officials to tread cautiously. But alas, if the administration-builder nexus enter into agreements on future alterations, little purpose will be served with even such a measure.

From a home buyer’s perspective, the property market out there is an opaque jungle where you have to be on guard. And the safer option, when buying a home, is to let the big money investors take the early project entry risks and profits, if any, by entering into home purchase agreements only after the final plans are under execution. This may lead to some loss of value creation, but imagine what can happen if the project gets mired in the legal quagmire or worse still gets scrapped.

Better a home than sorry!