Accommodation Times News Services
By Manikkam Subramaniam, Vice President- Operations, Heritage Group
The housing market has been going through a tough period , but many still venture out to evaluate in buying a new home. It could be a second home or a new house or for investment , but investing in a property is always a decision which should be done with great thought., not only in terms of the money involved, but how you decide on the strategic location of the property. A proper analysis in terms of the area, location, and the utility aspect will determine the purchase of the flat. Hence a proper decision needs to be taken without falling prey to various offers or propositions advertised by builders which do not relate to our requirement.
The Amenities – The Do’s and Don’ts
Some Developers lure customers displaying and offering amenities like Swimming pool, gymnasium, jogging track, club house, steam & sauna, spa, games room, Meditation room, Recreation zone conference hall and even a golf . Any new project advertise some new amenities, it is almost like buying a Television set , after you buy one you notice a new one has come out that offers more features at just a slightly higher price. No one knows exactly how much these amenities help towards buying the product but invariably these offers are showcased so well that the general public gets attracted to buying these products when put for sale.
With this concept of attracting the customers with additional amenities, the client has lost touch of the fact what a good home is for living. A home should provide comfort, health & well-being, convenience, resilience, safety, durability, environmental sustainability and most importantly it should be easy on the pockets when it comes to maintenance, energy bills and costs/hassles associated with water.
It is baseless to get excited about the amenities mentioned above as most of them are technically useless if not maintained or not used to the best of standards. Generally in many of the recently developed society the house owners soon begin to realise the huge cost burden for these unused amenities with escalation of cost every year towards maintaining them every year. Further for maintaining these amenities you require well trained personnel to ensure safe use. The % of people using these so called amenities is very less in any colony , but then irrespective of being used or unused, there is the maintenance cost which has to be paid by all .Hence it would logical and cost effective if one becomes a member of the local club for use of the above amenities..
Matters to be considered before you buy a flat.
It is only during the initial stage of a home purchase, this would be very attractive, but then at a latter period, the resident hardly gets time to visit the Gymnasium. These amenities are just Gimmicks used by Developers to attract clients , which will have a visual impact.. But the real good qualities of any residential development lie in the actual utility which is inside the house and the location and environment. A home buyer should basically focus on the primary factors when buying a house like does it have natural lighting, the kind of fittings used , is it eco friendly, the construction quality , the surroundings etc.
One should avoid flats which are not fully day-lit or have too much direct heat of sunlight coming into the home. The flat should have cross ventilation in all the rooms, with appropriate shading, cool roofs, high performance glazing, efficient lighting, controls etc.
It is necessary to analyse the equipment offered lifts, pumps, motors, sewage treatment and RO plants are aspects which needs to be checked for its maintainability .It would be better to engage a consultant who could guide on various aspect of energy saving before the investment is made.
To consider water conservation
IN context of the water crisis it is very essential to conserve water through rain water harvesting. Hence, it is always wise to invest in a project that has a proper water management plan and be prepared for any future drought situations. It is always essential to Check if the project is harvesting the maximum rainwater possible and is treating all its waste water on-site. Stored rainwater and treated waste water can easily be reused for landscaping, flushing and external uses. The project must have installed water efficient low flow fixtures in bathrooms and kitchen. Water and energy are both linked to each other enabling saving water along with saves energy simultaneously. These measures can take care of the major requirement of the water and energy needs and providing for eventuality of shortage at a later stage.
How will the environment effects the home.
A family spends more than 75% of their time within close doors and hence the quality of the flat has to environmental friendly effecting the family’s health, well-being and productivity. Avoid home which does not provide proper cross ventilation. The windows of the flat should be fully open able it is necessary to understand check if the window area is at least 13%-15% of the floor area. An exhaust systems in bathrooms and kitchen is very essential it is all necessary to ensure that finishing materials like paints, varnishes and adhesives are eco-friendly and non toxic substance. Sometimes chemicals used may be toxic and during a long period of stay coupled with poor ventilation, causes the sick building syndrome. One should never compromise with the environment or eco friendly material.
How location places a vital factor for your house purchase.
Mumbai-zaites have the some of the lowest ecological footprints in India, and it’s not because they are all amazingly eco-conscientious. Rather, it’s because they tend to live close to shops, entertainment, and places of work. If they don’t live close to all those things, they live close to a local train station or a bus line that will take them to these locations. It is very essential to choose the location. Even if it in suburbs, it’s worth thinking about commuting distances, proximity of local facilities, and how you are going to get around. With the rising fuel costs, it is always worth paying a little extra to live in a location that allows you to walk to at least a grocery store and some of the other basic amenities.
Is managing solid waste important.
In view of the increase in consumption of Indians it would be essential to manage the waste, Hence residential development must have provision to segregate their waste and turn it into a resource. It is essential for projects that have separate storage area with different bins for recyclables and a separate facility for composting organic waste to create manure or biogas. While waste management may not be very essential for many but this can go a long way in improving the quality of the surrounding environment.
How can the project landscape improve the quality of living.
A project having a good landscape plan that is natural to the surroundings, is maintainable, improves bio-diversity and cuts down on the non functional bits. Plants are good for a lot more than just aesthetics, Big deciduous trees are great natural climate controllers; in the summer, their leafy branches protects from the direct sun rays and can help keep your house cooler.
How big should the flat be.
It is truly believed that the smaller your living space, the less energy is needed to cool and light it, and the less you have to spend on utilities too. With some thoughtful, careful interior design, you can create beautiful living environments out of some surprisingly small spaces. Smaller homes are likely to be better maintained and hence command a higher resale value per square foot compared to large homes.
Operating manual for a flat OWNER.
It never ceases to amaze me that a new house doesn’t come with an operating manual. Which should provide details of how to operate and maintain heating and cooling equipment, the importance of cleaning out gutters, what homeowner’s need to know about the various comfort features of a home, the names of products and materials used in constructing the house, and how to inspect for termites or other problems. A homeowner’s manual is also a great place to aggregate all the information that comes with appliances, cooling equipment, and any other systems in the house.