When buying an apartment, factor in any interior reconstruction, painting, plumbing and fixtures costs that may be needed before moving in, says Sonal Sachdev

Every 2,000 sq. ft apartment isn’t the same. Not even if it is in the same locality, has the same view, is housed in a complex with similar amenities and is aged the same as another. And that’s why you may pay more for one than the other and still save.

You got it right. What’s inside is as important, if not more so, than what’s outside. Some builders design homes intelligently to offer convenience and a feeling of space. How the windows are positioned and designed can decide how much healthy sunlight and air finds its way into your home. While this might sound like a note on architecture, it isn’t. We are talking hard cold cash that you may need to spend to turn a bare house into your home. And you’ll realise this cost isn’t pocket change.

A well-ventilated home means you’ll turn your air-conditioner on only when the temperature really gets into summer zone. Your lights won’t come on in the afternoon. And you won’t spend money on a drier if your clothes can be easily dried in a well-tucked-away sun-facing balcony. But those are running costs that we aren’t even bringing into the equation. For now let’s focus on entry cost—time and money.

When you look to buy an apartment, you must factor in any interior reconstruction, painting, plumbing, electrical and fixtures costs that you might need to incur before you can move in. Many apartments today come with good quality flooring, kitchen and washroom tiling and fixtures. Doors and windows too must be checked. Only after you have assessed the interior work required to be done on the prospective homes you are considering, can you arrive at a true total cost of moving in. And don’t be surprised if such cost runs into tens of lakhs. Interiors don’t come cheap.

What’s more, the more time it takes to do up your place, the more expense you are likely to incur (on rent etc) if you are presently living in a leased accommodation.

I’ve known people who’ve spent very hefty sums on interiors, which makes one wonder if the homebuyers would not have been better off up-scaling their home buying budget to settle for a premium home with in-built frills. Make sure you don’t buy first and look inside later.

Formerly Editor, Outlook Business and Executive Editor, NDTV-Profit, the writer is now an entrepreneur and takes keen interest in personal finance. Contact him at hinduhabitat@gmail.com.