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Monday, September 19, 2011

HDFC's My Home Pune - a Marketing Gimmick or a Trap?

HDFC's "Fixed First":

"HDFC House" venue of "HDFC's My Home Pune" Property Exhibition on 17th & 18th September 2011!
"HDFC House" venue of "HDFC's My Home Pune" Property Exhibition on 17th & 18th September 2011!

I knew that HDFC's My Home Pune, the property exhibition held last weekend, was nothing but a marketing gimmick to sell HDFC's new home loan product "Fixed First".

In an era of ever increasing home loan interest rates, i believe, HDFC has to compete with ICICI Bank. I don't see anything wrong in HDFC trying to attract home buyers who are postponing the decision to book a home.

While motivating the property buyers to give up "Wait and Watch" and book a flat, because of my trust in HDFC, I was sure about 'due diligence'.

Besides my trust, I knew that HDFC means business. Business of earning profit by lending money to home buyers. To close the sale of "Fixed First" home loan, for the HDFC first disbursement on or before 30th November 2011 was more important than just a sanction. So, i was sure that HDFC's My Home Pune will not be just like any other property exhibition.

Though, there was a provision of valet parking, i was sure, HDFC's My Home Pune will not be one more effort to trap the property buyers. Trap to collect interest free funds from Pune property buyers - booking amount & 20 % own contribution - by displaying the projects which haven't received essential sanctions and approvals.

Unlike other property exhibitions, I was sure, all projects showcased in HDFC's My Home Pune must be approved by HDFC. Otherwise, how can HDFC disburse the loan before 30th November 2011?

Still, just to confirm, i called 020 2550 5000 and asked whether all projects showcased in HDFC's My Home Pune are approved by HDFC. When i was told "Yes!", i felt safe to visit the exhibition at HDFC House on University Road in Pune.

HDFC's APF Number:

After customary registration at the reception, i got the small booklet which has alphabetical listing of all the participating builders in HDFC's My Home Pune Property Exhibition. I read the first two sentences and i was convinced that i am at the right place:
At HDFC, we endeavor to provide our customers with easy and hassle free ways to realize their dream of owning a home. As the pioneers of home finance in India, we have solutions to all your needs regarding homes and home loans. Be it property search, legal & technical counselling...
Without reading further, i went on turning pages to see what properties are on offer. The booklet gave information about the property prices as well as contact number of the particular project. Though we all know that very few Pune builders publish the actual property prices, i thought, the information was quite useful to shortlist and visit the tables which offer projects in your budget.

However, i noticed that HDFC, the organizer of My Home Pune, has missed one important point. HDFC hasn't published the APF Number of the project in 'HDFC's My Home Pune' booklet!

How can HDFC, a pioneer hosing finance company, which started offering unique "Advanced Processing Facility (APF)" in 1986 forget to publish APF Number of the project, showcased in their own offices in HDFC House in Pune?

In this ongoing Pune real estate locha, when so many property buyers are suffering because of the delayed sanctions and approvals, how can HDFC hide the information - whether they have approved the particular project or not!

The cash strapped builder whom banks are reluctant to finance, i can see, have no other way but to hide the information about sanctions and approvals and mislead the property buyers. To give next installment to the land lord, a builder has no other way but to spend on advertising to collect the interest free funds from the property buyers.

But what was forcing HDFC to hide whether it's lawyers have scrutinized the papers of the particular project or not?

Isn't HDFC aware that many property buyers, i know, trust in HDFC's APF Number and assume that the project is safe to book?

We all know that those builders who offer asli maal, publish the APF Number on their website. But, what about the other builders?

When Axis Bank can publish, why can't HDFC publish the APF Numbers on their website www.hdfc.com?

My Favorite Mont Vert Luxury Homes:

It was difficult, but I accepted that HDFC is changing! Once upon a time, in the days of Deepak Parekh, HDFC was against the teaser interest rates. But, now, look, with this scheme of "Fixed First", HDFC has joined 'the force'! 'The force' which doesn't bother whether the home buyer will be able to repay the loan comfortably or not!!

Now, important question was which table should i visit first. I saw that my favorite Mont Vert Luxury Homes was showcasing Mont Vert Vesta at Urawade Pirangut. Mr. Kaneria, Director of Mont Vert, has already brought to my notice that i have wrongly interpreted the offer of "Pehle Possession. Phir EMI." Thought the offer was supposed to close on 11th September 2011, my guilt told me to visit the Mont Vert and understand what exactly the offer was.

To my surprise, a sales executive told me that "Pehle Possession. Phir EMI." was available in HDFC's My Home Pune! The salesperson also explained that not 24 EMIs but PRE-EMI was the exemption. It means that Mont Vert was not asking ADF. Mont Vert was going to bear your PRE-EMI till you get the possession and your EMI starts.

The salesperson of Mont Vert invited HDFC executive to explain how you can save nearly 2 lakh rupees if you go for this offer! In my mind, i said sorry to Mr. Kaneria for saying "पहले दाम ..बादमे काम!" and decided to write about the "Pehle Possession. Phir EMI." offer.

Obviously, to collect data for my next blog, i asked the salesperson the APF Number of Mont Vert Vesta. He said, "You can find it on our website www.montverthomes.com"

"Oh! Yes!! You always publish it on your website. I have seen APF Numbers of all banks & PCMC Plan approval and work commencement certificate number of Mont Vert Seville at Wakad Pune!," i said and took his leave.

But, there was no HDFC APF Number on the website of Mont Vert Vesta Urawade. So, i called Mont Vert's office. Mr. Akshay gave me the APF Numbers of A & B Buildings in Mont Vert Vesta Urawade for which you can avail the scheme of "Pehle Possession. Phir EMI."

He further clarified that the APF Numbers are not on the website because some technical scrutiny of Mont Vert Vesta is not yet complete. So, if i cross check, HDFC will not say that the Mont Vert Vesta Urawade is approved.

"Thanks for being so transparent! I can understand!! You are doing business with HDFC for a long time. Right?," i said.

"Yes! And HDFC has financed this project too!," Mr. Akshay said.

Moral of the story is, my dear Pune property buyers, be careful. Don't get trapped. Don't become a slave of builder bank nexus.

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Ravi Karandeekar's Most Popular Pune Real Estate Market News Blogs in August 2011

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  1. Though the whole article is informative, I liked the last line - Moral of the story.

    Ravi, my request - plz. put Moral of the story in each and every blog from now on.

    - Setu

  2. Dear Sir,
    Felt really Happy reading your last few Blogs. They were really customer centric. We as sales person need to empower today's home buyers.