Tuesday, August 31, 2010

If you have to buy, buy from an investor

We've seen some excellent articles posted by fellow bloggers in the comments section along with some great arguments for the rise/fall in prices. I wish to thank everyone for that.

Here is my anecdotal evidence based on my interactions with brokers in Mumbai and other parts of the country.

Market has gone up rapidly in the past 7 months. They do not expect prices to rise much more beyond this. Investors are selling their properties however they are asking for almost 50% black. Some investors cannot exit with a high white component. Such properties are 20% lower the other all white deals sold by the builders. Like they say cash is king. In this case if you have cash you can negotiate any price. One of my friends put his house on the market. An offer was made within a day for 10% lower then the quoted price. For sellers the best thing is to decide the lowest price you are willing to take and then mark it up by 20%. People always like discounts so a 10% discount on a 120% marked price is better then a 5% on the 100% price. For buyers it makes sense to cut prices by atleast 20%. Give reasons like loan is not available for that amount. Funds are available but deployed elsewhere. This gives a sense of relief to the seller that even though you may not buy the flat, atleast you are capable of making funds available at some point in time and he is not dealing with a someone with an empty wallet.

Another person I met put his house on the market and got a quote right away, again at 10% below. This made me smart and I tried to do the same. I put my parents house and priced it 25% up and told this to the broker. The broker is like 'bahut jyaada quote kar rahe ho'. I know then that the rate I've quoted is what I should not be paying to buy the apartment from the broker.

In today's market in Mumbai it makes no sense to buy directly from the builder. The builder has already sold many properties to investors who keep rolling their money with him so the price is already higher then when the first flat got sold. In fact by buying the property you are decreasing the already reduced inventory and causing the price rise for the next buyer.
Secondly there are a plethora of taxes imposed by the government, BMC and other departments. This is true for all cities where I've looked. Pune, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai are all the same when it comes to government fees, all these fees are up some even by 40-50%.

There is Service tax due which can be almost be 3% of the total agreement value. There is VAT, impact fee, premium housing fee all which add to the underlying house price. The government sees this as a quick way to make money since they expect most of these prices to get passed down to the housing loans of the buyers

Its best for somebody else like the investor to pick up the taxes and you get what you pay for. The investor is happy to exit at the agreeable price so even though he makes money, he saves you money since the newer fees from the builders are much higher. Investors are also happy to negotiate a discount to the builder so your final price is also lower then what a builder will charge you.

In Chennai the first sale is registered at the UDS (undivided share of land) value, a fraction close to 10-15% of the full apartment value. If you buy an apartment from an investor before registration you can easily save the 9% registration cost of the full price plus you get an almost ready apartment if you buy an apartment nearing construction

Everywhere I've seen investor flats seem to be the best bet for any underlying house purchase.