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Buying a home? Don't get cheated

by Sreekumar B.A on 1/28/2005 | Comments | Viewed 2295 time(s) | Full Page View

Shopping around for a home?

One seller tells you his home is going for Rs 15 lakh and it is 1,000 sq ft. The other is willing to sell his house for the same amount but claims a bigger area of 1,200 sq ft.

The bigger home is the better deal, right?

Don't jump to conclusions so fast.

The 'area' concept is one of the vaguest terms in the housing industry. And some unscrupulous builders (and sellers) exploit this ambiguity to the hilt.

Let's set the record straight.

There are areas, and areas, and areas

Carpet area

No hidden agenda here. It will tell you exactly how much space you will have in your home.

It is literally defined as the exact area within the walls of your home.

To make it downright simple: If you had to lay out a wall-to-wall carpet in your entire house, how much area would it cover? That's your carpet area.

Built-up area

This one goes one step ahead.

It includes not just the carpet area but also the area being occupied by the walls of your home.

Super built-up area

This is what builders often talk about. It is a very inclusive term. It takes into account carpet and built-up area. And then some.

Super built-up area also takes into account all the area under the common spaces -- the apartment's proportionate share of the lobby, staircase, elevator and the corridor outside the apartment.

The confusion arises over the fact that what is exactly included under this definition is left to the discretion of the builders. Some may even include the terrace, security room, electrical room and/or pump room.

The total area of these 'extras' is taken into account and divided by the number of apartments in proportion to their size.

So, if you are given a quote for 1,000 sq ft flat and the area referred to is the carpet area, then you have a huge living space.

If it is built-up area, then you have lesser space.

If it is super-built up area, then you compromise heavily on the living area. In fact, the actual carpet area may just be around 600 sq ft in comparison to the total flat area of 1,000 sq ft.

What you must be aware of

  • You may get a better deal for an apartment in an older building. They generally have a higher percentage of carpet area (around 80 percent) of the total area.

    So, if the quote of 1,000 sq ft is for the super built-up area, then the carpet area could be around 800 sq ft.

    In new constructions, the percentage could be as low as 65 to 70 percent. So you may get just 650 sq ft to 700 sq ft as the carpet area.
  • When comparing quotes, compare carpet area to carpet area, not carpet area to super built-up area.

    If you get a quote for 1,000 sq ft, ask immediately whether it is the carpet area or super built-up area.

    If you get another quote for 1,200 sq ft super built-up area, ask what the carpet area is.

    Then compare the two carpet areas.
  • Speak the same language as your builder.

    There is no fixed ratio of super built-up to built-up or carpet area.

    The market practice is that the ratios are on the super built-up area and are marked down. That means, if the super built-up area is 1,000 sq ft and the carpet area is 800 sq ft, then the latter is 80 percent of the super built-up area.

    Generally, the ratios in the market are 70:30 (super built-up to carpet).

    But unscrupulous builders have been known to go as low as 60 percent. So a quote on a 3,000 sq ft apartment could mean a carpet area of anywhere from 1,800 sq ft to 2,400 sq ft.
  • Always ask the seller exactly how much the super built-up area and the carpet area amount to. Ensure that this break-up appears in the Agreement of Sale.