Ultimate Guide For Buying Apartment in Kerala: Documents To Check, Questions To Ask, & Checklists

Apartment Buying Guide: Documents, Checklist, Questions To Ask

Buying or building a home of your own is a dream cherished by every human being. Shelter being one of the basic needs of mankind has become a real luxury in today’s age & time. Kerala is lovingly called ‘God’s Own Country,” is being overpopulated making it very hard to find plots to construct independent homes, especially in cities such as Kochi. The situation has come to a point where you need to either rent a property or buy a flat in the cities where you work. High rents have driven many to buy flats near to their workspaces like InfoPark in Kochi.

Investing in a flat is a huge financial commitment. Many never have the full amount in hand to buy the flat. So they depend on housing loans with high-interest rates for almost 20-25 years to buy their dream homes. Now comes the key issue of credibility of the builders from whom the buyers invest their hard-earned money to buy a home. 

Having said that, do we Keralites have an alternative other than flats in the ever-increasing land rates & property demands? The sad answer to this is a big “NO.” So what are the precautions we need to take before making a purchase?

Here we are offering some tips on “what to look for when buying an apartment? ” before you invest your life’s savings.

Things to Check Before Buying A Flat

Check Land Use

Acquire information related to the land use zone defined in the government records. This can be easily found at the local development office.

Information about Bank Approval for the Project

Normally no project is fully funded by the builders with their own money. They take loans from the banks for the project. It’s better to find out if any of the top banks in the country have approved the project. If big banks have approved, then it’s a good sign.

Check for the Final Amount

No broker or real estate agent will tell you the entire amount of purchasing a flat at the beginning. Sometimes they may only inform you about the initial cost that excludes other costs like:

  1. External & internal development charges
  2. Parking fees
  3. Service Taxes
  4. Location Charges

Enquire About the Builder

Conduct a detailed verification of the builder from whom you purchase the flat. They may be under any legal disputes with the government. Ask on the online forums about the builder. Be careful with whom you do business.

The Size of Property

Sometimes, apartment builders advertise their property to be a super built-up area. This may include common areas, staircase area, etc. Always find about the real core area you are buying. Never pay for the extra unusable space. Explore and visit properties before you make the buy. 

Go for a physical visit of the location

The brochure of the apartments never depicts the real surroundings’ of the apartment complex. Visit the location, explore the site & talk to neighborhood residents about the surroundings. Find out about the safety of the area you are to live in.

Take Professional Services

If you do not have experience related to real estate, take up professional help. Let the professionals give you a detailed review of the construction about the quality, strength, and repair requirements of the buildings.

A Short Checklist You Can Go Through Before Buying a Flat

  • Verification of Title Deed
  • Verify the identity of builder/seller
  • Land use permissions
  • Construction approvals
  • Certificate of occupancy
  • Verify the status of tax payments
  • Encumbrance Certificate
  • Physical access & survey to the property
  • Compliance under Regulation and Development Act, 2016 (RERA)

Questions to ask the property developer

The questions to ask when buying an apartment from a property developer is a big confusion for everyone. Here is the checklist you may find useful.

What background does the developer have?

The first thing to do is to choose a real estate developer. Conduct a background check about the developer. Find about the projects, delivery rate, and track record of the developer. Check if they have reputed projects completed. You can talk to the previous clients, check their online reviews, go to the websites, have a look at the portfolio, have a visit to the ongoing construction sites, etc. Try to check the quality of materials they use, work ethics, etc.

Do they have enough financial support?

Check if the developer has a sound financial partner to take the project to the completion state. Many cases are there where you give in the down payment and the developers are never able to complete the project within the deadline due to financial limitations. 

Do they have all the necessary legal documents?

Make sure to ask the builder if they have all necessary legal documents like title deed, local government body approval, building plan approval, etc. You may take up the help of a legal advisor to help you review all the legal documents. 

What is the final price of the apartment?

Never get carried forward by attractive low prices offered by the developer. Chances are that they are either going to include hidden charges. 

What are the facilities they offer?

You must make sure the property you live in is habitable and meets your needs. Ask if they offer primary infrastructure like electricity, perimeter fencing, water treatment plants, drainage, integrated security system, sewage system, parking space, etc. 

Expected time of project delivery and conditions?

If you are buying a flat from a reputed builder, you can be at peace. But there are many cases where builders never deliver the flat on the stated completion date. So make sure you draw out an agreement with the proper legal terms for the completion date and what legal actions can be taken if they do not meet the agreements. Some builders offer interest to the original payment amount or reduction in total payment amount if the delivery is delayed

What are the payment schemes available?

Always opt for payment schemes that are pocket-friendly for you. If you are going for a loan, choose it according to your income. 

What are the current and planned property developments happening in and around the area?

Asking this question will help you in understanding if you are buying a property that has a prospect of growing shortly. 

How good is their after-sales support?

The property developer needs to offer you after-sales support like property management and marketing of the property in case you decide to resell the property. Make sure you are comfortable with all the answers you get from the property developer before you finalize the deal.

Documents to be verified before buying a flat

You need to ensure you know about documents to be checked before buying a flat from a builder. Make sure you never make a flat purchase before you have the checklist of documents verified to avoid getting cheated and lose your money.

Purchase Agreement

Always review the purchase agreement to make sure that the builder keeps the promises they make before the purchase. This is the only document you can use legally in-case they do not deliver the promise. 

The purchase contract should include project specifications, payment conditions, completion deadlines, legal actions that need to be taken against the fraudulent party, etc. 

The agreement needs to include the provision for the transfer of common space. 

Note that the purchase agreement should include the deadline for completion of the project especially if you are making a down payment for an unfinished flat. 

The purchase agreement is one of the important documents to check before buying a flat under construction.

Licenses & Approval

The following documents have to be thoroughly checked.

  • Commencement certificate
  • Approval certificate of the building
  • Environmental clearance

Make sure that the project has the approval of the Development Corporation & local body.

Title Deed 

Verify the title act of the property to ensure that the builder fully owns the land. Approach a legal advisor to understand the details of the title deed like if the builder owns the land if they have the rights for building apartments & even the status of the land. 

Encumbrance Certificate & Release Certificate

If you are planning to buy a second-hand flat, ensure you make a detailed inquiry into its release & encumbrance certificate. Enquire if the flat has any bank loans & has it been repaid. 

Release Certificate from Multiple Holders

Some flats are possibly owned by many people. You need to get a separate certificate of release from each & every owner before you buy the flat. This ensures you do not get into any legal trouble. 

Final Thoughts

Though we have mentioned maximum possible precautions and tips for you before you buy a flat in Kerala, still real estate is a massive business network. There are chances of unexpected fraudulent activities that may happen due to bad luck. The best advice would be, always be very conscious of where you invest your hard-earned money.

Posted in Apartments
ClaySys Team ClaySys Lifestyle editorial team.

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