Currently real estate prices have escalated to a price range well beyond the reach of common man.
The real estate industry has now become a predominantly high price to the customer and high-margin development for the builder.
Most of the time buyers do not get their value's worth in terms of quality and design of the building.
With the festive season on us most have one more reason to buy or book an under construction home for the family.
Advertisements with glossy pictures of aesthetically beautiful buildings and lush green gardens are printed in newspapers to lure the buyer.
What the builders don't tell you are the type of materials being used in construction, the codes adopted for building design, the strength of concrete or type of concrete.
Much of northern India and western regions fall under medium to high probability earthquake zone but there are very few builders who design buildings taking into account the effects of an earthquake.
Continuous usage of building will require maintenance but given high initial costs we as consumers want our property to function without much maintenance.
Unfortunately builders get away from providing a guarantee that such damages will not occur because municipal bye-laws do not require them to do so.
The real estate industry is largely unregulated despite being the largest contributor to national growth. The government requirements for authorising a residential or commercial building are very minimal and poor at best.
How long a building will function safely with bare minimum maintenance schedules is dependent on quality of materials used, quality control and quality assurance adopted at site.
Superior quality finishes and aesthetically pleasing structure does not always result in good quality construction.
Quality assurance from builder can be relied upon either based on past 20+ years of performance of his buildings or by assessing a paper trail maintained during construction site.
Most builders are fly-by-night operators. In the absence of any real estate regulatory authority it's essential that the buyer is well-informed.
As an informed buyer it is necessary to ask for information about materials, techniques and time span from the builder.
While buying directly from the builder request for an authorised structural plan of the building.
Many a times builders accept booking amounts for a certain type of plan and sometimes even build a few floors before going back to the drawing board and adding a few more floors to the building.
The builder does not necessarily go back and increase the strength of the foundation safety levels similar to prior design.
This means that the building is now standing precariously on minimal design and safety requirements.
All these factors and a few more are important behind the glossy advertisements. Look before you leap in to the quagmire of buying real estate.
The writer is an expert in concrete technology and has taught in various universities in the US