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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Would you like to have sex with me?

Would you like to book a flat in Lodha Group's "Palava City" on Kalyan Shil Road, near Dombivli?

Last Sunday, Lodha Group launched - Rs. 14,000 Crore - 4,000 Acre - "Palava", Mumbai's sister city.

Palava is located in the heart of Mumbai Metropolitan Region's Economic Zone, bordered by Navi Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan, 20 minutes from proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport - the launch ad in local newspaper claimed.

Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, the first citizen of Palava, invited me to live in it. Mr. Big B said - "Palava is not just a new place to live, it is a new way to live. This is a city that brings out the very best in it's people."

Impressed by Big B's claim in the ad, I visited the website of Palava City www.palava.in

On the home page there was a video showing Mr. Bachchan in Palava City. At the end of video, Mr. Bachchan claimed that Palava is 'City of Opportunities' - "अनन्त संभावनाओंका शहर".

Very much impressed by Mr. Amitabh Bachchan's claims about Palava City, I looked at the types of flats and their property prices given in the ad - 1 BHK: Rs. 37 Lakh+ - 2 BHK Optima: Rs. 46 Lakh+ - 2 BHK Ultima: Rs. 51 Lakh+ - 3 BHK: Rs. 63 Lakh+ - and told myself, "Sounds good! Let us go and live in Palava"

I am a man of action. First, I called packers & movers and ordered them to come next day and pack everything in my flat in Pune and shift it to Palava. Second, I collected my cheque book and left for Hotel Hindustan International in Vimannagar.

"Welcome!," said the receptionist.

"I am not here to book a room in your hotel," I told her.

"Then, may I know, why are you here, Sir," asked the receptionist.

"I am here to book a flat in Palava," I said.

Pointing at the lift, the receptionist said, "Top terrace, Sir!"

On the top terrace, there was one temporary kind of shed. I went in the temporary shed and announced, "I am here to book a flat in Palava!"

"Have a seat and fill the form, Sir," a gentleman said.

On the coffee-table, there were a few local newspapers. On the front page of all those newspapers there was an ad of Palava. The same ad, I had seen on the front page of my newspaper. There were three more guys in the room. One was busy on his smart phone - expressions on his face told me that he must be playing some game. Second & third were doing something on their laptops. After I finished with the form, one of them came to me and invited me to join him.

"I want a 2 BHK Ultima in Palava!," I said.

"Are you aware about the price?," asked the guy.

"Yes! 51 Lakh - as per your ad," I said.

"Didn't you read the + in the ad?," said the guy.

"Yes, of course, I saw the +. But the ad didn't say what + means?," I asked.

"+ means the other charges, let me show you what they include," pointing at his laptop, the guy said.

"Area of your 2 BHK Ultima is 1026 and base rate is Rs. 4,689 - Rs. 36 is the floor rise - from 1st to 6th floor - but from 7th to 14th floor there is uniform floor rise - Rs. 252. Plus there are Premium Location Charges Rs. 180 - for all floors in this building. It means that your rate would be Rs. 4,689 + 36 x floor number + 180 - which floor you prefer?," asked the guy.

"7 - my lucky number!," I said.

"Good. It means that your rate would be - Rs. 4,689 + (36 x 7 = 252) + 180 = Rs. 5,121 per sq.ft. Means the price of your 2 BHK Ultima would be - 1026 x 5121 = Rs. 52,54,146," said the guy.

"Rs. 52,54,146! Okay. Now, I got what you mean by +," I said.

"No. You haven't got it yet. I am not finished. This is just 'Consideration Amount' - Look at these numbers," pointing at a few more rows in the table on his laptop, the guy said.

"What are these?," I asked.

"I will tell you what is applicable to your chosen 1026 sq.ft. 2 BHK Unit - 1) Stamp Duty: Rs. 2,62,707 2) Registration Charges + Processing Fees: Rs. 33,000 3) MVAT: Rs. 52,541 + Society Charges = 4) Share Money: Rs. 600 5) Maintenance @ 4.5 per sq.ft. for 18 months: Rs. 57,495 6) Civic Governance @ 2.85 for 60 months - Without Including Municipal Taxes, VAT & Property Tax: Rs. 1,21,378 + Other Charges = 7) Legal: Rs. 20,000 8) Ultimate Society Formation and Registration: Rs. 20,000 9) Electric & Water Connections: Rs. 35,000 10) Club Charges 60 Months: Rs. 1,26,000 11) Infrastructure 198 sq.ft. Parking: Rs. 2,03,148 - that's all!," said the guy.

"That's good! What is the total?," I asked.

"Rs. 61,86,015 only," said the guy.

"Okay. Now, I got it. The 2 BHK Flat is not for Rs. 51 Lakh - as mentioned in your ad. But, for Rs. 61,86,015. Right. Fine. Can you tell me why didn't you mention this all inclusive property price in your ad? I have enough money in my account - so I don't have any problem - but what if someone didn't? Anyways, take my cheque and give me the keys. Tomorrow afternoon - I want to shift in my 2 BHK Flat in Palava!," I said.

"You are making full down payment! That's great!! Let me give you a walk through of Palava," opening a printed brochure, the guy said.

"Don't bother. Mr. Amitabh Bachchan has already done your job - Mr. Bachchan has given me a tour of Palava - not in person but - in the video on your website. Now, just take my cheque and give the keys of my flat!," I said.

"I would be glad to take your cheque - but I can't give you the keys of your flat," said the guy.

"Why? Why can't you give the keys? Don't you have them here with you? Do you want me to collect the keys form your office at Palava or what?," I asked.

"Because your flat is not yet ready. It will take sometime to get ready for possession," said the guy.

"Okay. How much time?," I asked.

"Some 3 years. We have just opened the booking. Not yet started the construction!," said the guy.

"But Mr. Amitabh Bachchan was talking as if Palava already exists - he was not talking in the future tense - Mr. Bachchan was talking in the present tense! Mr. Bachchan said - This is a city that brings out the very best in its people! - I am shocked - disappointed - to know that - Palava doesn't exist - as Mr. Bachchan claimed - in your ad and video," I said.

"You misunderstood him. Mr. Bachchan was talking about how Palava would be when it is completely developed!," said the guy.

"Okay. Okay. I misunderstood Mr. Bachchan and rushed to own a home in Palava. As if Palava is a reality. I completely mistook Mr. Bachchan. But, tell me one thing, why are you here? You knew the truth. Right?," I asked.

"I am here to explain how Palava would be developed. I am here to take bookings of the flats - in 850 acre second phase of Palava - which will have 7 - 14 story some 800 residential towers, commercial spaces - as well as - schools, hospitals & sports facilities!," said the guy.

"Means after I give you money - you will use that money to develop Palava. Right? And then when it will be ready - I can come and stay in Palava. Right?," I asked.

"Now, you got it right. It means that if you want to make a down payment - you can go ahead and do it right now. But you have to wait for a while to shift in your flat. Or the other option is - you pay in installments - as per the progress of the work," said the guy.

"How?," I asked.

"Give me Rs. 45,000 now - today - to block the unit of your choice. Then in within 21 days from today - give me 9.9 % - means Rs. 4,75,160 and within 45 days from today - give me 10.1 % - means Rs. 5,25,415 - rest of 80 % - in installments - as per the progress of the work and the last installment at the time of possession. Cool. Isn't it?," said the guy.

"Okay. Assuming that Palava will take shape exactly as Mr. Amitabh Bachchan has described. Palava - City of Opportunities - "अनन्त संभावनाओंका शहर" - Palava a city that brings out the very best in its people - Palava City - Designed to be among the world's top 50 places to live and grow - Right?," I said.

"Yes," said the guy.

"Do you really expect me to believe in what you have said - printed in this brochure - displayed on your website - shown in your video and give you a down payment or the booking amount of Rs. 45,000? See, I haven't done this before. But this is your job. So, please, tell me people really believe and book - so casually?," I asked.

"Yes. People do. Lakhs of people are booking their flats like this - for many many years - in the first phase of Palava - some 20,000 people have booked their flats like this - What is your exact problem?," said the guy.

"I find - believing in all those claims - ideas - and paying you my own money - plus borrowing from the bank to pay you - to build my flat & to develop entire township - too un-businesslike - too risky - too casual - too careless - uncalled for - unnecessary. I can understand why you ask - you won't be able to build it unless we all pay you - you need our money badly - so you have no option but to become shameless and ask for my money - but why would people pay?," I said.

"Because owning a home is an ultimate dream of every man - to become a home owner - he has to take a risk - trust - believe - in reputed builder - like Lodha Group," said the guy.

"Yes. Owning a home at Palava - the sister city of Mumbai - is my ultimate dream too - but when I want to eat a mango - I buy a mango - don't plant a sapling and wait for the fruits. Sorry!," I said and got up.

From Hotel Hindustan International, I went to nearby Phoenix Market City. Generally window shopping helps me to clean my mind and recharge me instantly. But, that day, it didn't work.

I realized that I was too upset. I was upset with myself for believing in advertising and intuitively deciding to buy a flat at Palava City.

But, more than that, I felt insulted by the builder. How can Lodha ask for my hard earned money so casually? How can Lodha take me for granted? How can Lodha assume that I will commit myself for his offer - without setting terms of transaction in black & white?

Can anyone enter the bank - just like that - tell sweet stories and ask, "Would you like to loan me a few lakhs?"

That question reminded me of a video, I have seen on You Tube. As a social experiment, a handsome guy approached some 100 girls and asked them, "Would you like to have sex with me?"

OMG! Casually asking to book a flat at the launch of project - is as obscene as asking - Would you like to have sex with me?

What say you? Do you say "Yes!" - when a builder asks you such obnoxious question?

Let me know in the comments, please.

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  1. Ravi : you seriously need to join the aam aadmi party and if you come to power please make a law that the builder cannot sell an under construction flat. It is this one rule that will change the face real estate for ever.

    1. If I join AAP and if I come to power, I would collect all the builders in the country and shoot a single bullet in each one's head.

    2. I think by just joining AAP It will not change.

  2. sir, there must be some strong rules for builders, and also some restriction on advertisement promotion or specification like ++ or **.. but happy for your strong words

    1. Yes, Sudhir. Most of the real estate advertising is misleading. We have to raise voice against it.

    2. Dear Mr Ravi,
      I agree with you that you should be very very careful while investing hard earned money. But the market and economy works differently and certainly not on sentiments.

      Pricing-wise everyone doing the same, for example the car guys or insurance guy say, secure your life by paying 31/- per day. This is one way to pull the person to counter before the deal. The ready flats in Palava today is at 6600/- per sqft and under construction properties are at 5700/- which is whopping 14% discount. This discount is given to because you are coming early and taking risk in the project and that's the reward. Like any other asset class, every investment is at risk. People have got real gain of almost 3 times in 3 years - Just because they took the risk at the right time. Just blaming the builder and mr bachchan will not take you anywhere. Just for the sake of writing this blog, it looks nice and i really enjoyed reading it but the only reading and enjoying the blog will neither give you home or return on investment. Good luck for future buying. Hope you get a great home. All the best!

    3. Dear Madhukar,
      I am living at palava.Unfortunately dealing with lodha is a one way communication. they can ask you anytime but you cant. if you buy home from a small bulder at least you know him by face ,point is somebody is there to talk with.
      I have paid lodha more than a lakh for a parking and there was no condition that I could buy flat with no parking. now I am alloted parking on roadside goons from outside area park their vehicle there I cant oppose also. My friend did and he got his car smashed. lodha is doing nothing against these goons as they are the person who managed land for the project.life is beutiful from outside.

  3. Hello Ravi,

    Nice article !!!

    But tell me if I want to buy a home for by dream,for security,for future.
    I have 30 to 40 % money in saving would it be a good option to buy a home in completed project ?
    After reading all your blog I am confused what to do if I want to buy a home whether I should buy it in town ship, upcoming project or completed project or not buy at all.
    Please say something ... Its hard to decide what to do ....


  4. Yes, Vidya, you are right. When you become aware about the risks - you start wondering about how to buy a property.

    1) Not buying is not an option - for many.

    2) Yes, Vidya, buying a ready for possession property with completion & occupancy certificate is less risky.

    3) However, if you want to buy at under construction stage - you have to focus on "terms of transaction" in the agreement and proactively and collectively insist on implementation of those terms.

    "The terms of transaction" - is going to be the main theme of all my next blogs - so, please, keep on visiting and contribute in finalizing the terms for less risky buying.

    1. sir terms and agreements are always what builder frames for his favour. and you can either choose to buy property or to move on. but these agreements are one sided agreements

  5. Lodha has cheated many people earlier by showing under construction flats and then delay for more than year has happened to multiple people known to me, it seems it takes money from one project and then put it in bigger project, so if you are in smaller project you are gone. Get reviews about Casa Ria, Casa gold in Dombivali before putting money in it.

  6. Lodha has cheated many people earlier by showing under construction flats and then delay for more than year has happened to multiple people known to me, it seems it takes money from one project and then put it in bigger project, so if you are in smaller project you are gone. Get reviews about Casa Ria, Casa gold in Dombivali before putting money in it.

  7. One of the major cost I see is the city development charges whichi as said in your blog is 2.85 psf for 5years. So again a case where you are paying to builder a sum to create stadiums,schools and colleges. I don't know that if Palava residents are going to own it and would rent it to others. Or builder is going to sell it to someone else.

  8. Really good written Ravi, you join AAP and be the voice against the menace of builders... there is so much money into this sector and most of it is so unaccounted for...these builders take us Customers for ride and we fell for it...they are pinching upon the sweetspot of indian middle class of having a home and present govts have so much lobbying that they hardly take any action.. with a Person like you and AAP who have more interest in common welfare and not own filthy intrest should do good to so many people!!

  9. Hi, Ravi I’m avid follower of your blogs which are very informative and candid. I have too invested in the Palava 3 years back. After investment, I realised there are many problems at Palava, like any other major construction projects.

    If Lodha, plans properly and execute this project in professional way then this would be one of the best place to stay near Mumbai. But as most of the works are out source to small builders and companies, that reflects in quality of construction.

    Lodha group should focus more on Quality control rather than Media publicity and fetching Big Names as Ambassador. Personally I’m very optimistic of this project. It would fetch good returns in long run, say 10 years.

    BTW, we flat owners have started a website where we all discuss issues and help each other in their problems. The website is www.PalavaCity.com

    Recently also we completed and written article on ‘Top Ten problems at Palava’ based on Flat owners inputs and experiences. The link for the same is - http://www.palavacity.com/blogs/798-top-10-problems-palava.html

    Let us know your feedback.

  10. Hello friends

    I visited the Lodha Palava city office on 6th April 2014. I was astonished by the presentation given by the sales team and the beautifully decorated sample flats.

    Then I was advised to buy a ready possession flat in Casa Rio Gold. Pricing details were given accordingly.

    Later when I requested to visit the site to get a feel of the apartment, the people refused on account of safety issues. They would show me the building from the gate.

    It is like buying a car based on ppts and prototypes but not getting a test ride. How are so many people easily neglecting this important point while booking an apartment?

    My gut feeling says that either the apartments have been sold to multiple people or the construction has not yet started ( and they are taking money from customers and using it in some other projects).

    1. Hi Prasad,

      I have recently (June 2015) visited Casa Rio for checking out a flat. They have very well permitted people to enter into buildings which are complete and no work is ongoing. But as far as a construction site is concerned (because I work in the same industry) please understand that allowing civilians who are unaware of the safety protocol, is not only risky for the company because safety norms don't allow but also to the life of the person.

      That said, it doesn't mean that one apartment is sold to multiple people because they are gonna run away anywhere and have a settled Lodha Management Office with staff working for maintaining the buildings. Also the point where you said that they are taking money in the name of one project and utilising it for some other projects; you should also check out if Lodha had any other projects at that particular time.

  11. Bravo Mr,ravi, i read 2nd blog of yours & feel a fan of a real outspoken personality.

    keep such great work and make people awake, hard earned money goes in drain due to such big personalities market for there own profit & make people suffer.

  12. Isn't Pride world city working on same concept? As per your post: http://ravikarandeekarsblog.blogspot.in/2014/09/Launch-of-Pride-World-City-Charoli-Charholi-Pimpri-Chinchwad-Municipal-Corporation-PCMC-Pune-India-3.html

    Currently they are charging a good amount, with proposed roads and all. What's your opinion on that?

  13. People really regret who decided not to buy flat in palava when the project first started.On the other hand people who took the risk and booked the flat in Palava back in 2009 are really happy that they did so.A friend of mine got a 1BHK for 14.5 lakhs back then whose price is approx.42 lakhs now.Anyway it was nice to read your blog.I think its up to us to wait for the project to complete and then buy the flat or buy it under construction.Nobody's going to snatch your money from you.

  14. Your every word is true and speak exactly how marketing strategy of lodha works. They do not lie but hide the truth. I booked a flat thinking the unit I am getting is somewhere near Shil Road but the real truth is the actual site is 6 km away . Knowing the fact after one day I cancelled my flat. I am a person who wants to see my stuff before Buying not a imaginary place and sketch paying my hand earned money . I also found the staff are very causal just to make the deal and save the job and highly lack professionalism .Any questions you ask that put them challenging position they try to escape telling " its lodha and you have to trust ,we already sold ,3000 flats ," . I would request who read this thread think before invest it is very hypothetical and hard to realise your money in next 10 years. I bought similar but less bigger around half of the money.

  15. Thank you Mr. Ravi Sir, such a nice blog and your expalining way is superb. You have expalined the marketing strategy and how Lodha work is going on that is each and everything is like an awesomee... keep it continue and share more information related to real estate as well as it is updated day by day.