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Why you should use the RERA website before buying property

LiveMint logoLiveMint 10-09-2017 Ashwini Kumar Sharma

After 31 July 2017, if an ongoing residential project or a new project that is more than 500 sq. metre or has more than eight apartments, wants to advertise or sell its units, it has to get registered with the real estate regulator of that state or union territory. But to be able to register, these developers have to give all the details related to the project, to be put up on the regulator’s website for the public to see. “This is a major step forward as it solves a lot of the information asymmetry that hitherto made informed investment decisions difficult,” said Anuj Puri, chairman, Anarock Property Consultants. If you are planning to buy a property, here are four important bits of information that you can get from the regulator’s website, which can help you make informed decisions.

Availability in the vicinity

Once you have an idea of the area or location in which you want to buy a house, the next step is to find the options available there. The Real Estate Regulator Authority’s (RERA) website can help you with this. Say, you want to buy an apartment in Pune, Maharashtra. Now, log on to the state’s RERA website (https://maharera.mahaonline.gov.in), and under the ‘Registration’ tab, click on ‘Registered Projects’. Now choose ‘Advanced Search’ and enter all the details required such as your desired developer, area, and the locality. If you want, you can search at the level of division, district, taluka or even a village of the market in which you are looking for a property. The list of registered projects in your selected area will be displayed.

Details of developers

After you have the list of projects, click the project’s name and you can find out the details of the respective project and its developer. “A prospective buyer can view the pertinent details of the project such as name of the developer along with its address, (and) track record in the market,” said Puri. Finding a reliable developer is among the most important factors for a homebuyer. Therefore, a track record of timely delivery and quality of construction matters a lot.

“Sometimes, from a resale point of view, it helps to know whether the developer has a good standing in the particular area of a larger market, which can be construed from the past track record published by it on the RERA’s website,” said Tejas Patil, head-real estate services, Sanctum Wealth Management. You can also check some of the financial details of the developer, such as who are its financers, promoters and lenders.

Details of projects

After you select an area, decide which developer’s project you want to choose from. You can now use the website to get details of that developer’s projects in the market you are interested in. This information is submitted by the developers for all their registered projects. “Knowing the exact facts—such as approved plans, exact project layout, carpet area and clear title, to name a few—will become a prerequisite for a purchase decision,” said Patil. A lot of such details were difficult to find earlier. “Homebuyers can easily find the complete set of documents relating to the project on the website, right from approvals to application for occupation certificate, along with the expected timeline projection. It is now also possible to know the details about the sale of a project, which was not easily made known,” added Patil.

If you are planning to buy an apartment in an under-construction project, it is good to know how many units have been booked and how many are left. This indicates demand and interest of buyers in the particular project. Also, a real estate agent will not be able to mislead you, stating that only a few units are left and you should book quickly. For under-construction projects, it is important to know if its construction is going as per schedule. You can find “the date that the developer has committed for the project to be completed, as well as any revisions of this date; the current stage of development, information on the support infrastructure like water, electricity and internal roads, along with the progress made on them,” added Puri.

Details of agents

Real estate agents have been known to trick homebuyers with misleading claims about projects. Earlier, the agents were not held accountable and did not have to register. In fact, the services of a real estate agent were not even a part of the formal process in most cases. Under RERA, they too have to register with the authority.

Thus, on the website you can also find out the names of real estate agents who are authorized to deal in particular projects. According to the Act, a ‘real estate agent’ is anyone who acts on behalf of one person in a transaction of plot, apartment or building and receives a remuneration as commission or otherwise. This includes property dealers, brokers and any other middlemen. They are not allowed to facilitate the sale or purchase of or act on behalf of any person to facilitate the sale or purchase of any plot, apartment or building, in a real estate project or part of it, without having a registration number.

When you apply to buy a particular unit in a project through a real estate agent, he needs to mention his registration number in the application form. You can cross-check the same on the website. Penalties can be levied in case an agent makes false promises or statements. You too can use the website to cross-check the information the agent gives.

Current situation

The real estate regulator’s website is supposed to provide a lot of information to the public. Apart from Maharashtra, there are other states as well that have launched their websites, such as Madhya Pradesh—http://rera.mp.gov.in and Rajasthan—http://www.rera-rajasthan.in. However, compared to Maharashtra’s RERA website, other websites are not so well populated with information on developers, projects and agents. A few of the states are still behind schedule in forming the regulator and making the website; as was stipulated in the Real Estate (regulation and development) Act, 2016. There are also states that haven’t yet notified the final rules under the Act, have not established a regulator or have a website in place. In such states, homebuyers have to wait longer to be able to use the regulator’s website in their home-buying process.

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