Holiday Home Times

Property brochures and ads – be a vigilant home buyer

Property investmentThough most property advertisements will promise the buyer a piece of Paradise, invariably paradise is not what one bargains for. From clear land titles and blue-prints to the quality of materials used, to differences between carpet and super built-up area, there could be discrepancies in what is advertised and what is ultimately delivered.

It is reported that for every project launched by developers, about 5 to 10 cases of consumer disputes are registered against them, highlighting the flipside of the real estate boom.

Since most developers do not offer warranty for the property they construct and deliver, consumers are left with no other option but to take the legal course when they find that what was advertised in brochures turns out to be completely different from the final product.

Here the buyer should understand that even under any stringent law, proving a case against a builder just on the basis of a promotional brochure would be very difficult. Legal experts will tell you that brochures, advertisements and pamphlets are just pitches. Promises made in advertisements or promotional brochures do not have any legal validity. A property developer can say anything in an advertisement. A buyer should not take such promises at face value. Unless it is part of a written contract, it might not be admissible in a court of law.

The argument may go on for ever. Some say that the onus is totally on the developer. Developers must make it known to buyers about their rights when they buy their immovable property. They should create a manual for the buyers, so that they know exactly what they are getting into.

Although the real estate sector across the region has become more regulated than before, it is still not organised enough to ward off differences between the buyer and the developer.

So for one’s own good, as a buyer it should totally be your responsibility to ascertain whether the seller has absolute right, title and interest to the property by conducting a legal due diligence on title to the property. Buyers should have a rudimentary knowledge of law. They should verify the credentials of property developers. Also, they should check whether there is any dispute regarding the property they are planning to purchase.

It is a good idea for a buyer to go for a physical verification of the area where the property is going to be built. Also get all the papers duly verified by a lawyer. A due diligence on the legal search report, whereby the title of the property is checked, should always be done before making payments. Buyers must also enquire about the status of the land where the residential building is being built. The lease documents or the ownership should be with the builder before he starts any construction activities.

One must remember that the onus of verifying terms and conditions of any property lies on the buyer and he cannot seek clemency from the courts on grounds of ignorance. So it’s better to vigilant rather than be sorry later!