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It is the desire of every person to own a shelter. At the end of long years of employment some manage to gather the required amount to buy the property while for the more fortunate it is at their desire. However, buying a property always requires a huge investment and careful selection to avoid chances of future disappointments. Careful selection, however difficult the process may be, can go a long way in ensuring value appreciation and peaceful enjoyment of the property, as it covers selection of location, right vendor, etc.,

The Bangalore Development Authority is the planning and developing agency in this area. Any layout in the metropolitan area of Bangalore must be approved by the BDA. This is mandatory as per the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961, and BDA Act 1976. So it is essential to make sure that the site you purchase is in a BDA approved layout or has been approved by any other competent authority.

There are many agricultural lands in the metropolitan area and in areas abutting it.

The Karnataka Land Reforms Act does not allow purchase of agricultural land by the non-agriculturists; unless it is converted for non-agricultural purpose. Even house building co-operative societies are covered under this restriction.

Revenue Site
Another dangerous area is a revenue site. Revenue sites are formed on agricultural lands, which are not converted.

Using such sites for residential purpose is against the law. These sites are not entitled to power, water supply and sewerage connections. Most landowners use Form No.9 & 10 to confuse and convince the purchasers and these are generally fabricated documents, which are not issued by any statutory authority and hence not genuine.

Government acquired land
The government is vested with powers to acquire lands for the purpose of development. Firstly, the Land Acquisition Officer announces a preliminary notification for acquisition of land and calls for objections from the public or the affected party. The affected party has to file objections within 30 days, stating the developments done on that property after obtaining all permissions from the statutory authority concerned and also taking into account the real value of the property. After hearing the case of the affected party, the government may delete the said survey number from the notification and announce the final notification. After the final notification, the government may pass an award, after which, such of the properties which have a mention in the final notification is considered as acquired property. Notified lands are prohibited from alienating. But many owners sell such notified/acquired lands to gullible purchasers by using Form Nos.9 and 10. One should be very careful to ascertain as to whether the property was acquired or not and has to check-up with the acquisition authorities in this regard.

Comprehensive development plan
The comprehensive development plan (CDP) is in operation in the Bangalore metropolitan area. This plan has divided the metropolitan area into different zones. Each zone is earmarked for a particular activity which are, residential: commercial: industrial which includes light and service industries, medium industries and heavy industries: public and semi-public Utilities and Services; Parks and open spaces, play grounds including public recreational area, transport and communication, agricultural land and water sheet (Water body).

Activity other than that stipulated in such zones is not permitted. One must always ensure that the site purchased is used in conformity with the zonal regulations, For example, houses for residential purpose should be constructed only in the residential zone. With regard to this, the zonal regulation map is available at the BDA office and it is essential to verify the Zonal Regulation Map before purchase of property.

Further, Village Panchayats are also entitled to issue the Khata but only in respect of the village Panchayat area and a further 200 metres from the limit of Gramathana area, which is marked as village area in the survey map issued by the Survey Department.

Legal formalities like tracing title of the property, verifying the sanction plan, electricity, water, sanitary facilities and relevant sanctions, checking up the plinth area, carpet area and the super built up area are all important aspects to be verified with the help of a qualified professional. However, before checking legal formalities, approvals and permissions, it is essential that a careful selection of location with regard to its surrounding areas, habitation, density of population, access of various facilities etc., be made to ensure that the property purchased can be lived in peacefully and that the potential for reasonable value appreciation of the property is good.

Selecting a location
Location is the most important aspect while investing in a property. It is advisable to ensure that there are no slums nearby, a place of worship attached to the property, drainage line close to the property. The purpose of buying a property often determines the location. It may be for self-occupation as a residence or for investment purposes. If the house/flat is for own occupation, a residential locality not far away from the heart of the city is preferable. If any person offers a property at a cheaper rate than the prevailing market rate, then it is advisable not to accept the offer, as it may have certain hidden problems, which are difficult to trace out. Some people may try to convince you by saying that there is a lot of demand for the property and offer you very little time to make a decision on buying the property. One should not yield or be pressured by such tactics but ensure proper verification and examination of documents with extraordinary care before committing. Always select property in approved layouts to get all the facilities within the layout. The area should have well developed roads; good drainage and the civic staff should do the garbage clearance regularly. Low-lying areas should be avoided as they get inundated during monsoons.

The proximity and accessibility to work place, schools, market place, hospitals, railways, bus station and recreational centers is important. The locality should have adequate banking facility, frequency of public conveyance, other modes of transport, availability of public telephone booths etc. A location which is not far away from the modern facilities and infrastructure but far enough to avoid pollution, is preferable.

Prefer an area inhabited by decent, educated and cultured people of cosmopolitan outlook. Ensure that the area is not home for anti-social elements. There should not be factories or workshop especially the ones which work during night, in the immediate neighborhood, to avoid noise pollution and sleepless nights apart from affecting the quality of power supply. Property attached or close to highways or heavy traffic areas are better avoided as they result in noise pollution. Further, the area should have regular supply of water, power and good ground water table for bore well.

Facilities like public park/garden for walks are worth considering. The location of a temple, mosque or church and religious institutions which arrange regular discourses in this age of stress and strain is a welcome factor. Apart from the above, the size of the plot to suit your budget and the permitted FAR (Floor Area Ratio) are important factors to be considered.

Vaastu Aspect
Vaastu is of individual preference, however people are increasingly adopting Vaastu principles for their property and it will be worthwhile, keeping in mind the value appreciation and future sale, to ensure that the property is as per the Vaastu guidelines.

If the purchase is for investment purpose, the chance of resale is an important factor to be kept in mind. A developing area is preferable to a developed area. The investment in a developing area is comparatively low and value appreciation will be more.

Non-availability of parking space and traffic restrictions have an adverse effect on the value of the property. Accessibility to the railway/bus stations, airport, star hotels and availability of infrastructure facilities play an important role.

Selecting a vendor
While selecting the vendor/promoter, you need to look into his track records. This can be done by paying a visit to the earlier projects of the vendor or in case he is an individual, enquiries could be made with people who had transactions with that individual or with the people living in a close proximity to the property. Similarly, you have to select a reliable real estate dealer to select a suitable property.

Before investing your money in flats or in any property, choose a well known builder/developer/promoter: Do not get carried away by attractive colourful brochures.

Many builders have abandoned their projects in a semi-finished stage exposing the purchaser to financial loss and mental agony. In vesting in a flat which is under construction by unknown new builder is risky. Check the credentials of the builder before investing your hard earned money. Verify the track record of the builder for prompt delivery, construction standards, adhering to the agreed cost without escalation, providing amenities, before booking a flat. Ensure that there are no deviations from the development rules and also check the post sales service. It is preferable to opt for a ready-to-occupy flat. By doing so, the attendant risk of investing in a property to be developed can be avoided.

Do not be tempted by colourful advertisements and attractive offers, which mention that the said property is bank approved or BDA approved. Legal opinions from bank or from the promoter should not be relied upon. It is always advisable to obtain a proper legal opinion from a well-qualified lawyer before purchasing a property. Further, claims of having obtained BDAs no objection certificate or approval from BDA or CMC should not be taken as true in the absence of personal verification by self or through a lawyer, from the concerned department.

The property scene is similar to the speculation industry; prices can either appreciate or depreciate, though the latter is rare. In fact, it is the difference in the amount of gain in value and the time taken to achieve such appreciation in value which is important. Slow and poor appreciation in value would be almost equal to depreciation while fast and large appreciation can give benefits like any other investment and that too without any effort on the part of the investor. A thorough study of title, location, developments already in the area, the expected development in the area, other facilities already in place and surrounding places and a careful analysis of these factors before purchase can ensure great benefits and greater peace and prosperity to the purchaser/investor.