Eleven common regrets of new home owners

How satisfied are you with the property you’ve bought? There are both satisfied and unsatisfied home owners at large.  Sometimes a purchase is made without proper planning and thought – the result is regret.

If we poll any given group of unhappy property buyers, a remarkably consistent list of complaints emerges.  After eliminating repetitions, it appears that buyers often wish they had known that:

* The flat was too costly

Often, a residence’s cost-price makes more sense before the purchase than after. The problem with impulse buying (or giving in to a broker’s seductive pitch) is that we only see what we want to see.  It is easy to overlook some obvious facts while giving in to impulse temptation– the flat may not be large enough, may not have proper ventilation, may be in an unsuitable neighbourhood, etc. These faults can sometimes come to light only when we have time to think about it, and when it is too late.

You may also discover that, even though your flat is adequate, it is overpriced in comparison to other flats available in the neighbourhood. In retrospect, it is not uncommon to decide that one has paid too much for the property.

* The construction is of poor quality

This is a fact that can only be discovered in slow degrees. On closer inspection, one may find that the floor is warped, that the rooms have uneven surfaces and asymmetric angles, that the walls do not retain nails and screws without crumbling, that the flat makes strange noises at night, that the roof leaks and that the septic system is makeshift.  These are, of course, facts that you will not find mentioned in the property prospectus.

* The builder has a bad reputation

If this is true in your case, you have much to worry about. The common mistake of not checking a builder’s standing on the real estate market can result in future litigation, poor or totally absent maintenance and breach of purchase contract. This is not a pleasant truth to discover after you have sunk everything you have into buying a flat.

* There are hidden costs

Sure, the swimming pool and clubhouse were deciding factors in buying the flat – but apparently nobody told you that you will have to contribute to their maintenance.  Or that this property’s society charges outrageous membership fees.  Or any other way you have inherited somebody else’s problems.

* The flat is not ‘Vaastu’ compliant

If you are a believer in India’s version of Feng Shui – Vaastu Shastra – then finding out that your new flat breaks all the rules of an auspicious home will definitely upset you.  Even if you don’t subscribe to this belief system, you may have friends and acquaintances that do – and who will be happy to point out that your home is as good as haunted.

* The project is in legal trouble

This can mean a lot of things – you may end up without the promised parking space, the advertised lift may never be installed, you may have to pay taxes or litigation charges accumulated by the previous owner, or may be forced to vacate the property because the whole project is eventually declared illegal.

* The area is short of water

It did not seem like you would have a problem with water – after all, the project features a bore well.  What many of us do not anticipate is the natural reservoir it feeds from can run dry.  If you haven’t established the availability of municipal water supply, you will definitely be in trouble – especially when you try to resell the property.

* You have turned into Robinson Cruose (no public transportation)

Do you remember the famous story of the man who was stranded on an island?  That’s what it feels like when you find out that your beautiful new home is cut off from the rest of the world.  It is not enough to own a private vehicle – these can break down, and may not cover your entire family’s transportation needs.  No matter what your financial or social status is, you will require public transport facilities.  If nothing else, you may otherwise discover that nobody can visit you at your new home simply because it has no nearby bus stops.

* The lift is a death-trap

The most unfortunate time to discover that the project’s lift does not have generator back-up is during a power cut – while you are in it.  The worst time to find out that the lift is of spurious make is when its cable breaks – while you’re in it.

* You are situated on the banks of a garbage canal

Don’t expect to smell an open ‘nalla’ at the time of inspection or purchase of the flat – the aroma will only be evident at certain hours of the day.  You might then discover that there is a chronic fly-infestation in your new home – too late.

* Your new home has an ongoing fire hazard

Too late, you notice that there are no fire extinguishers to be seen anywhere on the property.  If there are, you haven’t bothered to read their manufacturer’s labels, or haven’t noticed that the extinguishers are out of date and not being maintained.  Most of us never have to find out the hard way how essential fire extinguishers are – but the best time is before purchase of a flat, not after.

The writer is is managing director of The Pride Group, which has built and delivered over 10 million sq.ft. of constructed area in Pune, Mumbai and Bengaluru.