Things to Check Before Buying a Flat in Kerala

February 28th, 2023


Located on the western coast of India, Kerala is blessed with abundant natural beauty. Pristine beaches, blue seashores, and lush green mountains make God’s own country a popular destination for domestic and international tourists and adventure seekers. In fact, the tourism industry is a major contributor to the state’s economy.

Apart from this, Kerala has a diverse economy with significant contribution from agriculture and remittances from abroad. A high human development index and a high literacy rate have led to a strong service sector. Since centuries, different religions and cultures have co-existed here, birthing a unique culture. This is reflected in the art, architecture, festivals, and cuisine of Kerala, making it a vibrant place with a rich legacy.

Owing to these multiple factors, Kerala has become a hotspot for real estate investment. Buying a luxury apartment in the state’s metros is a dream come true for many people. Various people from India as well as abroad either want to settle down in Kerala or see it as a great option for real estate investment.

Many financial institutions provide housing loans to facilitate purchase of an apartment. Some of the country’s leading real es tate developers have begun offering luxury apartments in various parts of Kerala. Before buying a flat, consider the neighborhood, accessibility to transportation, and proximity to essentials. Also, look for project amenities such as fitness centre, swimming pool, kids play area, etc.

Before going ahead with the purchase, it is important to check property-related documents for critical information about the property, its ownership, and any legal restrictions or liabilities associated with it. A thorough review can help you ensure that the property is legally transferable, free from any disputes or encumbrances, and that the buyer is aware of any limitations or obligations associated with the property. This can prevent or mitigate legal or financial issues in the future, such as zoning regulations or boundary-related disputes with neighbours or the government.

Points to Remember before Buying a Flat in Kerala

If you’ve been considering investing your hard-earned money in any real estate property in Kerala, now is the perfect time. However, do go through the points listed below before going ahead.

1. The Right Location:

Buying an apartment anywhere in Kerala is a great idea, but it’s better to choose metros / large cities like Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode, Varkala, and Munnar – as these offer multiple avenues for personal and professional development.

Choose a location that makes life easier for you and your family. Ideally, educational institutions, hospitals, business areas, office parks, and shopping areas should be easily accessible from your house.

2. Brand Value & Goodwill of the Builder:

For complete peace of mind, it’s recommended to prefer a builder with a national footprint, strong focus on quality, and complete transparency in operations.

3. Facilities & Amenities:

Make a checklist of must-have and nice-to-have amenities before buying an apartment, villa, or row house. Ensure you have everything in your apartment complex that you’ve been looking for – after all a house is a long-term investment and an asset for life and generations.

4. Check Floor Plans:

One of the most important aspects of the home-buying process is the floor plan. The things that you need to understand while checking the floor plans are the locations of doors, bathrooms, and windows, the direction of balcony & main door, the actual carpet area, and utility areas.

5. Check the Land Use:

Ensure the land on which your apartment complex is being built has been zoned appropriately. Land use refers to the purpose for which the land is designated and used, such as residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, or mixed-use. This information can be obtained from the local planning authority or from the seller’s property disclosure statement. Knowing the land use can help you understand the surrounding area and potential future developments and ensure that the flat is suitable for your needs and desired lifestyle.

6. Size of Flat:

It is important to check and confirm the dimensions of the flat. Measure each room—the living room, bathroom, balcony, kitchen, and corridor. Also, ask the builder about the carpet area, built-up area, and super built-up area. In other words, check how much of the common area, like the lobby, garden, lift, is added to the actual carpet area of each house.

In terms of configuration, nuclear families have been opting for 2 BHK homes. However, buying a 3 BHK or a 4 BHK is increasingly becoming the norm – owing to reasons such as growing family, occasional stays by ageing parents or close relatives, weekend visits by friends, and more.

7. Connectivity:

Your future home must have good connectivity with the city and other important needs of daily living. For example, your work area or your kid’s school should not be too far from your home. Also, the project should be close to good schools, colleges, shopping areas, hospitals, & entertainment zones.

8. Physical Visit of the Location:

Visit the site with enough time in hand, and explore the neighbourhood. Talk to neighbours and enquire about the safety and security of that area.

9. Construction Quality:

The project must be constructed with high quality material, attention to detail, and expert craftmanship.

10. Check all Legal Documents:

It is critical to check all legal documents when purchasing a home. Start by checking if the builder is the owner of the property.

  • Check if the land agreement between the landowner and the builder is legal and valid.
  • Two important documents that you must check are the project starting / commencement certificate and the completion certificate.
  • Apart from these, you can look for tax receipt, possession certificate, mutation documents, a power of attorney, and non-agricultural land permission.

11. Take Professional Help or Services:

If you are new to the real estate market, you can seek assistance from paid professionals. They can give you detailed information and honest reviews about quality of the property, and strength of the building.

12. Car Parking:

The last thing you want to do after a long, hectic day is hunt for a parking spot far from your house. It is pointless to select an apartment that does not provide enough parking space for its residents. Generally parking spaces are limited everywhere, but a good builder ensures enough parking space while planning a building.

13. Electricity System:

Make sure that the electrical system has been installed properly and inspected thoroughly, and that all plug points are working smoothly.

14. Security and Maintenance:

While buying a flat in Kerala, always choose a gated community, so that you don’t have to worry about your family’s safety and security. Ensure that the building has a functioning fire alarm system. Apart from that, a buyer should consider the following security & maintenance factors:

  • Location:
    Check the crime rate of the neighbourhood, presence of security personnel, and proximity to emergency services.
  • Building Security:
    Check if the building has security features such as surveillance cameras, secure entrance, and fire safety measures.
  • Maintenance Fees:
    Find out about the monthly maintenance fees and the services covered under it.
  • Age of the Building:
    Determine the age and assess the need for future repairs and maintenance.However, it is advisable to buy a new property to avoid any repairs and maintenance.
  • Homeowner’s Association (HOA):
    Research the HOA rules and regulations, and budget for the yearly HOA fees.
  • Natural Disasters:
    Research the area’s susceptibility to natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes.

15. Before Buying a Flat, Do go Through this Short Checklist:

  1. Land Use Permissions
  2. Verification of the Title Deed
  3. Construction Approvals
  4. Occupancy Certificate
  5. Encumbrance Certificate
  6. Verification of the Identity of the seller(s)
  7. Compliance Under Regulation and Development
  8. Physical Access and Surveying of the Property
  9. RERA Registration

16. Questions to Ask the Developer or the Sales Professional:

It is a good idea to clarify the following with the developer or sales associate or broker:

  1. Do they have enough financial support?
  2. What background does the developer have?
  3. What is the final price of the apartment?
  4. Do they have all the necessary legal documents?
  5. Expected time for project delivery
  6. What are the payment schemes?
  7. What are the facilities they provide?
  8. What could be the resale value of the apartment?
  9. What are the property development plans happening in and around the area?

Do a thorough background check of the developer, and find out their delivery rate, projects, and track record. Check if they have any reputed completed projects. Talk to their previous clients and read their reviews, and don’t forget to visit the construction sites.

Check if the developer has strong financial backup to complete the project. In many cases, people continue to pay the developer, while they are never able to deliver the project by the committed date.

17. Final Price of Apartment:

No real estate agent will ever disclose the entire price of a flat at the beginning of the deal. They might just mention the initial cost, which excludes other charges such as floor rise charges, water connection charges if any, cost of parking slots, taxes, internal and external development charges, location charges, etc.

18. Expected Time of Delivery of the Project and Its Condition:

If you are buying an apartment from a well-known builder, you need not worry about the handover date. However, in many cases, builders do not deliver the project on time.

According to Section 18 (1) of the RERA Act, the buyer is entitled to a refund of the entire amount invested in the project, along with interest and compensation, if the Promoter:

  • Fails to deliver possession as per terms and conditions laid down in the Sale Agreement.
  • Is unable to deliver possession on account of discontinuance of his business, revocation of his project under any act, or for any other reason.
  • Fails to complete the project in promised time duration.

19. What are the Payment Schemes for Apartments?

Always opt for loans only when you have a stable source of income in Kerala, there are several payment schemes that you can use to buy an apartment, including:

  • Down Payment:
    A lump sum payment made at the time of booking the apartment.
  • Instalment Plan:
    An agreement where you make regular payments over a set period until the full amount is paid.
  • Loan / Mortgage:
    You can take a loan from a bank or financial institution to pay for the apartment, and then make regular repayments over a set period. Choose this option if you have a stable source of income.
  • Deferred Payment Plan:
    The builder or the bank may allow you to start paying at a later date than usual. However, it is prudent to check if you are being charged interest for the period when payments are not happening.
  • Flexi-Payment Plan:
    Payments are linked to the status of construction or possession. This scheme also has a provision for paying a large chunk of the apartment price as down payment, thus bringing down your total cost over time. The structure of this scheme depends on many factors, such as supply & demand, financial strength of the builder, your negotiation abilities, policies of banks, and more.

20. Financing:

Financing a flat purchase through banking typically involves taking out a mortgage loan. This type of loan is secured against the property being purchased and is usually offered by banks and other lending institutions.

To obtain a mortgage loan, the borrower typically needs to meet certain eligibility criteria, such as a minimum income level, good credit score, and down payment of a certain percentage of the purchase price. The terms of the mortgage loan, such as interest rate and repayment period, will vary depending on the lender and the borrower’s financial circumstances.

21. Documents to be Verified Before Buying a Flat:

  • Purchase Agreement:
    Always review the purchase agreement as this is the only document you can use legally, in case the builder does not deliver in time. The purchase contract should also include the payment conditions, project specifications, and legal actions that need to be taken against the other party.Also, the agreement needs to include the rule about transferring common space. Ensure that the purchase agreement includes the completion date of the project, especially when you are making a down payment.
  • Licenses and Approval:
    Commencement Certificate, Environmental Clearance, and Approval Certificate of Building need to be approved by the Development Corporation and local authorities.
  • Release Certificate and Encumbrance Certificate:
    If you are purchasing a pre-owned apartment, research the release and encumbrance certificates thoroughly.
  • Title Deed:
    Verify the title deed of the property to ensure that the builder owns the land. Ideally you should approach a legal advisor to understand the title deed. The purpose of this document is to check the status of the land and verify if the builder has rights to construct the apartment.
  • Release Certificate from Multiple Holders:
    You’ll need to get a separate certificate of release from every owner. It is important in cases where the flat is owned by many people, as it will prevent you from getting into any legal trouble.

Final Thoughts

Buying a flat in Kerala is definitely a great idea, but it requires careful consideration of various factors to ensure a smooth and informed purchase. It is important to check the location, legal approvals, builder’s reputation, quality of construction, amenities, maintenance costs, paperwork, and resale value.

By being mindful of these factors, you can make a well-informed decision and avoid any potential problems. Before deciding to proceed with the purchase, take your time to thoroughly research and understand all aspects of the property, to ensure it is the right fit for you.

Buy Apartments in Kerala

Flats for Sale in Thrissur:

Flats for Sale in Kochi:

Flats for Sale in Kozhikode:

Flats for Sale in Trivandrum:

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