A Pimp and A Builder:
|Kolte-Patil Western Avenue Wakad Site Sales Office|
Last weekend something terrible happened in Pune real estate market.
Kolte Patil Developers Ltd. (KPDL) launched their much awaited project - Western Avenue. Yes, on the same 34 acre land parcel at Wakad, they had acquired in 2014 for Rs. 350 Crores. Without funding from ICICI Venture, Portman Holdings, Yatra Capital or Corolla Realty. Largely through internal accruals. Certainly, a big achievement for a local listed builder.
25 year old developer, Kolte Patil, who has developed 42 projects - 30 residential + 8 commercial + 4 IT Parks - and of course, under construction 400 acre Life Republic at Marunji near Hinjewadi, appointed 'property pimps' to sell the flats in Western Avenue Wakad.
These 'property pimps' uploaded 'unofficial' websites of Western Avenue.
In their sales talk, they told the inquiring flat buyers that - they have 'sole selling rights' of Western Avenue.
Of course, Mr. Mahesh Saluja, V P Sales, KPDL, denied the sole selling rights but accepted that these 'property pimps' are their major channel partners.
You know? At the launch, these property pimps were 'managing' the site office of Western Avenue. Without disclosing their true identity. Pretending that they were employees of Kolte-Patil.
Of course, according to KPDL, the back office was managed by KPDL employees & the 'property pimps' were operating only in the front office of Western Avenue! Whatever!! The fact is Kolte-Patil didn't publicly disclose that everyone in the site office was not their employee. This is not ethical.
Result is - most of the 'walk in inquiries' assumed that they were talking with the employee of Kolte Patil Developers. But fact was they were talking with the imposters.
Not only that! Some people actually believed these imposters, trusted whatever was printed in the brochure of Western Avenue and gave away their hard earned money as a booking amount!
Without bothering to confirm genuinity of the person who attended them.
Without bothering about - land title, N A Order, environmental clearance, sanctioned plans, commencement letter etc.
Without bothering to check the draft agreement.
Without knowing the terms of transaction between the builder & the flat buyers.
Who does this?
Brochure Dekh Ke Kaun Flat Book Karta Hai?
Only ignorant flat buyers who are stupid enough to make the decision based on location & property prices!!
These 'property pimps' are experts in catching these ignorant flat buyers spread all over the world.
Who are not aware about their rights & responsibilities.
Who don't understand that they are the co-owners - stakeholder - partners - in the real estate venture promoted by a builder.
Who don't know that every real estate project is not only a group housing scheme - it is also a collective investment scheme.
Kolte Patil may have invested 350 crores in the land + a few crores to plan the project + a few crores to get sanctions & approvals. But the collective investment of all flat buyers would be much much more.
If 60 per cent of these co-owners agree that - the chief executive of the venture - the builder - is performing poorly - they can strip his executive powers - tell him to sit on the bench.
Obviously, the flat buyers should be treated as co-owners.
At least, as human beings.
Absolutely not like 'Bhed Bakri'.
Yes! You become "Bhed Bakri' when 'property pimps' catch you.
Because property pimps are not responsible for possession - for construction quality - for conveyance - for anything.
For these property pimps, home buyers are only easy prey & flats are inventory. Maal.
Their only job is to hunt & hand over the catch to the builder.
No wonder by the time of possession every residential project in Pune becomes a slaughterhouse.
Isn't it terrible to see the young - intelligent - educated - salaried - people voluntarily becoming 'Bhed Bakri'?
Someday, I am worried, the cries of these lambs would be louder than the noise of traffic on Mumbai Bengaluru Highway!
An Assertive Flat Buyer and An Affirmative Builder:
|Assertive Flat Buyers|
Guess why did Kolte-Patil take the help of property pimps?
Because these pimps have wider reach.
Why does wider reach matter?
Because there is a shortage of ignorant stupid flat buyers in Pune!
(In fact, there is a shortage of ignorant stupid flat buyers in entire India! Yes! Even property buyers in Delhi & NCR are also awakened!! No wonder, all politicians voted for real estate regulatory bill!!!)
Recently, at one of Pune property exhibitions, I was talking with a group of real estate salespersons.
You know what? Enquiries is not a problem. Conversion is the problem! One real estate salesperson said.
Why is conversion a problem? I asked.
Because today majority of flat buyers have become 'Shaane' - smart. He said.
Smart? Means what? I asked.
Informed. Assertive. He said.
Is it difficult to convince informed & assertive flat buyers? I asked.
Yes! They give lot of 'Shanpatti' - argue on every point - rate - carpet area - parking - environmental clearance - compensation for delayed possession - and what not! He said.
The current slowdown is basically because of that. Otherwise, demand is there. A senior real estate salesperson said.
I tell them - if you want to buy a flat - you have to submit yourself for exploitation - you can't prevent builders from exploiting flat buyers - accept the dominant position of a builder or live in a rented flat forever. One salesman said.
Ravi, do you have any idea - in which projects these smart guys book? Is there any builder in Pune who is so fair & friendly? Senior real estate salesman asked.
Yes! I know one project where some informed & assertive flat buyers have booked!! I announced.
Must be some small single stand alone building project of a new builder. Senior salesperson said sarcastically.
No. It's a 9 + acre project of some 500 + flats and the builder is not new. I don't know whether the flat buyers consider him friendly. But, for sure, they consider him fair. I declared.
I find it difficult to believe that any builder can convince & convert today's notorious buyers. One salesman said.
Yes! Most of them are from the most notorious place - Indian Real Estate Forum. I said.
Shocking! Whoever visits that forum cancels his booking - I haven't heard anyone from that forum booking anywhere. Senior salesperson said.
They didn't have to go anywhere to book - because this builder himself is on the forum. He discussed with all of them on the forum itself. I said.
They must have made lot of allegations & must have insulted him by asking all sorts of questions. One salesperson said.
Is asking questions insulting? I asked.
At least my boss thinks so. One salesperson said.
This builder doesn't think so. He has published his terms of transactions & policies on his website. So, there is less ambiguity. Less doubts. Complete transparency - clarity. I said.
For example? One salesperson asked.
You ask. I will answer. Though I am not his salesman or a flat buyer - I am sure - I can answer most of your questions. You know why? Because most of this info is there in the public domain - on his website, on his facebook page or on Indian Real Estate Forum. I challenged them.
For the next few minutes we had an interesting Q & A session. Here is a brief summary -
Q. - People are enquiring but not booking. They are waiting for property prices to go down. How does this builder convince the buyers to book?
A. - By offering "Rate Protection Policy"! On his website, in the download section, he has published that - 'If we reduce the prices or come up with some offer then discount in lieu of reduction in prices / offer will be passed to previous bookings whose rates were higher in comparison to effective rates after discounting.'!
"That's great! It means that you can book the flat of your choice without bothering about property price correction!!," senior salesperson said.
"Yes. it sounds attractive but the implementation of this type of offers is complicated," one salesperson said.
"Not really! 'Credit note will be issued to such purchasers whose remittance shall be done at the time of possession after receipt of entire dues' - the Rate Protection Policy says!," I said.
Q. - What are the infrastructure charges?
A. - No infrastructure charges. No MSEB charges. No society formation charges. No legal charges. His property price list has 12 headings - 1) Flat No. 2) Carpet Area 3) Saleable Area 4) Rate 5) Premium 6) Floor Rise 7) Agreement Cost 8) Stamp Duty 9) Registration Charges 10) VAT 11) Service Tax 12) Maintenance Deposit 12) Grand Total
"Really? I didn't know that there is any builder in Pune who doesn't sell car parking under the heading of infrastructure charges! You know? Nowadays, every flat buyer argues about infrastructure charges!" - one salesman said.
Q. - What is the percentage of loading?
A. - Saleable area is just for the sake of calculations. Flat is sold on carpet area. His carpet area is pure carpet area. Terrace area is mentioned separately. So, saleable area is equal to = 1.3 x Carpet + Terrace. Means 1.3 x 801 + 105 = 1147 round figure.
"Our saleable area = (Carpet + Terrace) x 1.3 - (801 + 105) x 1.3 = 1178!," one salesman said.
"My brochure & price list has only saleable areas. No carpet area. To avoid flat buyers' abuse I write approx carpet area by my pen!," the other salesman said.
Q. - What is maintenance deposit? No maintenance charges at the time of possession?
A. - No per sq. ft. maintenance charges at the time of possession. Only maintenance deposit. The builder will only collect the maintenance deposit. He will never touch it. He will not spend a single rupee from it. He will handover it to the society as corpus fund.
"Then how will he manage maintenance? You can't give possession of a 9 acre project at one go? When you develop it in 2 phases - you have to maintain the first phase at least for 2 to 3 years. Right?," someone said.
"Yes, of course! The project will be developed in the phases. Till the society is formed & starts maintaining the project - the builder will maintain it. He will keep Maintenance Deposit safe in the bank. He will only use the interest earned on that deposit to maintain the first phase. In case, if any additional funds are required for the maintenance - the builder will spend from his own pocket. Whatever additional funds he will spend from his own pocket are his marketing expenses. If the flat buyers in the first phase are happy - you know - they will give referral bookings to the builder. If the first phase is maintained properly - the builder can sell second phase at a higher rate. Right?," I explained.
"Can he afford to buy tankers and supply free water?," one salesman asked.
"We are talking about a good builder. A good builder doesn't develop a project in a fringe village. Only tapori builder does that. Good builder develops project only in municipal limits - where basic infrastructure is available. This project is in PCMC!," I said.
"Do you mean to say that Godrej & Puravankara who have launched projects in Undri & Keshav Nagar are not good builders?," one asked.
"According to my definition - certainly, not. Of course, if they supply free water - I may change my definition," I said.
Q. - What about possession date & compensation for delayed possession?
A. - Possession date is mentioned on the property price list & of course, in the Agreement to Sale. Not only that! The compensation for delayed possession is also mentioned in the Agreement to Sale.
"Specific date or just 2 years from the date of agreement?," someone asked.
"Specific date of possession of the particular building - the same date in the agreements of all flats in that particular building," I said.
"No oral commitment of possession in December 2016 but in the agreement June 2017?," one salesman asked.
"No!," I said.
"At this builder there is no scope for salesmanship!," someone said.
"When one flat buyer saw different date in the agreement - he simply refused to sign the agreement - got into his car - left the Sub-Registrar's office at Hinjewadi. I chased him on my bike up to Wakad flyover and convinced him that possession date in the agreement doesn't matter much - we never give possession on the date mentioned in the agreement - we give it at the orally committed date!," senior salesperson said.
"Did he sign the agreement?," someone asked.
"Yes! Of course!!," the senior salesperson said.
"Did I tell you that this builder doesn't take legal charges - incidental charges - xerox charges - in cash - for the registration of agreement?," I asked.
"Does he take by cheque?," one salesman asked.
"No cash - no cheque - no legal charges," I said.
"Still his agreements are registered!," someone said.
"Yes! Not one or two - 100 agreements are already registered and the home loans are disbursed," I said.
Q. - Does the flat buyer get the draft of agreement to read before signing?
A. - Yes! The flat buyer gets the draft agreement and enough time to consult his lawyer. The annexure of the agreement has a list of specifications & amenities. Franking is done only after the flat buyer gives a written acceptance letter.
"I tell my flat buyers - what is the point in reading the agreement? Anyways, we will not change a single word!," one salesman said.
Q. - How many story building & how many slabs?
A. - The building is 2 level car parking + 14 Stories. And slabs are 16. Tentative schedule - dates - of slabs is mentioned in the price list. So that in advance, people get an idea about - in which month - how much payment is due.
"My building also has 2 level car park + 14 stories - but, you know? The flooring of the basement parking is our plinth!," one salesman said.
"How can it be a plinth? Flooring of the residential floor is the plinth!," the senior salesman said.
"Redefine the construction industry - is the mission of my boss," one salesperson said.
Q. - What more info is available on the website?
A. - A flat buyer in USA can visit the website and book a flat online!
1) He can study the floor plan.
2) See which flats are available for booking.
3) What is the exact price of the flat & tentative slab wise payment schedule with amounts & months.
4) What are the current discount offers
- discount for the stagewise advance payment
- discount for group bookings
5) Which banks have approved the project.
6) Brands of sanitary wares, tiles, sink, electric switches, video door phone.
7) The website will also tell him
- when can he visit his under construction flat
- when can he start interior & furniture work
- he can not demand internal changes in the flat
- when can he get working, electrical & plumbing drawings of his flat
- when he should pay all dues
- what will happen if the flat buyer can not take possession of the flat
- can a flat buyer hold a part of the flat price because a few amenities are not yet ready
8) If he has made up his mind - on the website itself - he will get the account details - for transferring the booking amount.
9) He doesn't have to worry - what will happen if he changes his mind & decides to cancel his booking - before the registration of agreement and after the registration of agreement - because cancellation policy and cancellation charges are published on the website
10) Before registration of agreement - if the flat buyer feels like changing his chosen flat and opt for some other - the website will tell him the procedure
In short, a flat buyer in USA can get complete information about offers and he can select, book, pay, exchange or even cancel his flat!
Q. - Any special treatment for the NRIs?
Yes! Besides remote investing in Pune property, in this project maintain long distance relations is very much possible! Because, every flat buyer can login in his account where he can get all details about his flat - agreement, payments, schedules, receipts, loan documents, everything. As per the payment schedule he will get alerts by sms, emails, postal mail and he can make stage wise payments by cheque - draft - wire transfer.
An NRI flat buyer can see the photos of fortnightly construction progress on the website & Facebook Page.
"Is this builder really uploads photos every 15 days?," one salesperson asked.
"Yes! That's why I recommend him to all my overseas readers," I said.
"If all builders started making self explanatory websites - we will become jobless!," one salesperson said.
"Keep this in mind when you attend your next enquiry," senior salesperson said.
Q. - What about possession?
A. - First Inspection - builder's quality team inspects the flat. Second Inspection - Flat buyer, engineer, and salesperson do the joint inspection. 3) Before handover every point is checked. At the time of handing over the flat - Possession Kit is given to the flat buyer, The possession kit has a CD of an agreement, working - electrical - plumbing drawings - useful for interior work, emergency medical kit, tool box, and telephone diary of essential numbers - of course, the final possession is given only after completion & occupancy certificate.
"At my last site possession was the most stressful experience - for both - for the buyer and me," one salesperson said.
"Same here," said the other salesperson.
"Is this only a plan or has this builder followed this possession process before?," senior sales person asked.
"He has followed this process while giving possession of some 1000 flats in his last project. Of course, it has evolved with time," I said.
Q. - Is this a fantasy or a true story?
It sounds like a fantasy. But it is not. You can visit this project on Mumbai Bengaluru Highway at Punawale. If you wish - you can meet the builder in person. He is always accessible for the flat buyers. Most important - whatever claims he has made on his website - he is personally accountable for it. I don't know whether you will like him or not. But if you buy a flat in his project - you will start respecting yourself. You will feel proud about yourself. You will congratulate yourself for making the right decision.
Q. That's fine! But what about environmental clearance?
OMG! Now, not only the property buyers but salespersons in Pune real estate market are also aware about EC!! The builder started the construction of the project only after obtaining environmental clearance! So, EC, NA, full potential PCMC sanction everything is obtained.
What is the name of the project? And who is the builder?
I will tell you the name only if you promise that you will tell your builder to set transparent terms of transactions in your project. After all real estate development is a service industry. Today, one of the reasons why property buyers are not booking is - a huge deficiency in service builders offer. If you succeed in convincing your builder - you don't have to worry about losing your job. Otherwise, you know, your builder will call 'property pimps' to launch his next project!
"Yes! Unless we don't improve the quality of our service - we won't survive. I want to visit this site to learn more. What is the url? ," senior salesperson said.
"I will WhatsApp it to you," I said and sent it to him immediately.
If you are curious to know which is this project & who is this builder you can click here!
In 2016 - where to book a flat in Pune real estate market? (Part 1)
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