Buying property: Beware of sample flats

Mar 01 2014, 10:58 IST
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The sample flat is the most potent marketing tool developers use to lure buyers into making purchase decisions. (Thinkstock) The sample flat is the most potent marketing tool developers use to lure buyers into making purchase decisions. (Thinkstock)
SummaryFrom smaller furniture to higher ceilings, developers deploy all tricks in sample flat to entice buyer.

From smaller furniture to thinner walls and higher ceilings, developers deploy all the tricks in the sample flat to entice the buyer. In most cases, what you see may not be what you finally get

Ravindra and Madhu Arya were one of the many home buyers who got carried away by the posh and spacious sample flat that opened out to a great view at the site office of one of the reputed developers in Pune.

“The flat shown to us was so airy and spacious that we felt this is the dream house we thought of. We immediately booked it though the rate was a bit higher than that prevailing in the area,” said Madhu Arya. “However, on the day of possession, we were in for a shock. The flat handed to us was something that we didn’t expect. It had dark portions and no breeze. It had no view and seemed very small.”

The sample flat is the most potent marketing tool developers use to lure buyers into making purchase decisions. They are done up by interior designers and the furniture too is customised to make it look spacious and bring out a high-end feel. The cost that goes into doing up the flat is sometimes higher than the cost of the flat.

“In some cases, visually appealing sample flats may help detract from the fact that the project’s location is not exactly cutting-edge,” says Om Ahuja, CEO-Residential Services, JLL India.

“Showing a sample flat to give an idea of the product is technically not illegal. It is a standard marketing tool,” says Naresh Mehta, a Mumbai-based property consultant. “The problem is that most developers use this to deceive the buyers. The facts are hidden and the difference between the sample flat and actual flat is not revealed at that point. That is unethical,” adds Mehta.

There are two problems at this stage. One, the buyer is unaware of the tricks and walks into the trap and secondly, he is emotional and vulnerable at the time of searching for his dream house and becomes an easy target of the sales team who sell a dream with this exquisitely designed sample flat. The so-called ‘show’ flat is an eye-wash in many ways.

The Location

The sample flat is positioned in such a way that the person walking through it feels abundant light and good ventilation. Then he is taken to the windows or the balconies,

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