[ecis2016.org] We examine the various factors that need to be kept in mind, before buying a property through a builder’s digital platform
Digitisation is gradually gripping the entire marketplace. White goods, garments and groceries have grabbed a sizable market share through online platforms, have you ever imagined that an entire property could be sold on a digital platform one day? Some developers have started selling their units through their digital platforms. The question is, is it beneficial for you to buy a property online? Let us find out the various factors that need to be kept in mind, before buying a property through a builder’s digital platform.
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Key features of digital platforms offered by developers
“Customers can enjoy the convenience of experiencing the property from the comfort of their homes. Online sales platforms enable the entire purchase process online, by leveraging contactless transaction infrastructure, including virtual meetings, online product experience and selection of apartments and digital documentation and payments. Moreover, we have also seen customers collaborating with their families in different geographies, to experience the virtual visit,” explains Vimalendra Singh, chief sales and service officer, Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd.
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Digital platforms are based on virtual experiences. You can visit the property virtually from your home or office. The platforms allow a closer view of the property to the prospective buyers. The experience is undoubtedly better than a video. However, it may still lack the feeling of visiting a property physically. Nevertheless, a digital platform can help screen serious home buyers from the shoppers. Once the buyers make up their minds after the virtual experience, they go ahead with the deal. Digital platforms make the entire home-buying process seamless and nearly paperless. This process is new for home buyers and with huge transaction sizes, they may find it difficult to completely detach from the age-old physical transaction process.
Legal challenges when buying a home through a digital platform
Venket Rao, founder, Intygrat Law Offices LLP, points out that “Although digital platforms have made it easier for the developers to reach a larger segment of home buyers, physical interactions remain a challenge, especially for verification of land title, project approval and the stages of development. Even in courts, the documentary evidence substantially relies on physically-executed documents/agreements. Further, in spite of the fast growth of the internet, a vast segment of the Indian population is not acquainted or comfortable with digital transactions. Even the registration of builder-buyer agreement, conveyance deed, etc., need to be physically executed before the concerned sub-registrar.”
Experts believe that in most cases, buyers may find it convenient to shortlist properties online and experience its look, before visiting offline. A unified digital platform that allows instant home loan approval and filing an online application for home buying, can save time and bring transparency to the entire transaction.
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Should you rely on the builder’s digital platform to buy a property?
The answer is ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. When you buy an online property from a specific developer, you miss the chance of looking at other developers’ properties that may be up for sale offline. However, if you are brand-loyal or have already decided to buy from a particular developer through their digital platform, do not waste time and go ahead.
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There is no other product category where consumers are ready to take on a nearly lifelong debt to own something. Although digital literacy and dependency have increased over the past few years, customers must be informed of digital transactions.
Things to keep in mind when buying a home through the digital platform
Several developers are launching their digital platforms. So, you need to be careful when buying a property through such platforms. Experts suggest some important points that you should keep in mind, when buying a home through a digital platform:
- Opt for homes by reputed developers with a track record for timely delivery, customer satisfaction and transparency.
- While the platforms may give adequate information, independently search websites such as RERA, competent authority, etc. The status of the project may not be readily available for buyers online. Thus, a physical visit is a must.
- It is important to compare the buyer agreement provided by the builder with the RERA-notified standard buyer agreement. If there are any variations, insist on modifications, in sync with the standard format.
- Be aware of all costs associated with purchasing a unit in a particular project.
- While making online transactions make sure your device is secured via antivirus, your passwords are protected and avoid using public Wi-Fi as it may lead to a leak of personal data.
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When you buy a property from a particular developer’s digital platform, you need to have trust in that developer. It can be a good idea to make use of both, online and offline procedures, i.e., an online platform for shortlisting and faster processing and offline for conducting in-depth due diligence.
Do developers charge extra money if a buyer uses their digital platform for buying a property?
No, developers do not charge extra money for using their digital platform. In fact, they encourage home buyers to use their platform for faster processing and saving time.
Can a home buyer use the developer’s digital platform to choose the property but opt for an offline transaction?
Yes, it is possible to use both, offline and online modes. You can use the online mode for sorting the property, making payments, etc., and use the offline mode for verification and quality check.
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