Bought A Property Online And Stuck With A Defaulting Builder? Here’s What You Can Do

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Owning a house is a dream every family has, at least once in their lifetime. The years 2008 to 2011 have been the time of first home buyers. Availability of favourable financial terms and a chance to book your future home at less than 10% of its final price made most of the dreamers falls for it. The real estate industry went through a major paradigm shift after the many online real estate startups flooded the internet with various jaw dropping offers. From a virtual visit of a property by sitting in the office to banking on the credibility these websites didn’t shy away from getting the stars and moons to the buyers. Unfortunately, things haven’t been resulting in the way buyers expected for the last one year. More than 50% of the home buyers from this period are now seeking real estate lawyers to sort out issues with their builder.

Most of the buyers who booked their house/flats through these online portals are now staring to various uncertainties. Some builders have been pushing their customers to accept partially completed apartments. Others have been lingering with the possessions and asking for additional payments. Ultimately the issue comes when there is a gap between what buyer is asking a builder, and the reply a builder is drafting.

What should you do, when facing such a situation? Here’s a list of steps you can take to sort out the issues with your builder:

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  1. Collect all your transaction details with the builder

We can replicate the steps followed by professionals around the world to fix problems. The first step in this process is to understand the situation. This is not an emotional or sentimental understanding, but a plain, rational, and logical understanding. To do that, you need to collect all information, transactions, and communications with the builder, that took place online and offline both.

This will include the following:

  • All financial transactions
  • All e-mail communications
  • All call for payment letters from the builder
  • The original payment plans
  • Any pictures of the project under different stages
  1. Communicate only through e-mail

We often rely on the verbal confirmations of the relationship manager. The irony is that the managers keep on changing, and often quite frequently and you end up talking to a different person each time. Therefore, it is important that you get most of the replies in an email.

This has the following two advantages:

  1. You will have a record of communication which can be referred later
  2. Builder will avoid making any false promises on the e-mail

If you find that most of the important communications happened on the phone, you should email a call script and important points discussed on the call to the builder and get a confirmation from them.

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Whenever builders are on the wrong side of the wall, they’ll try to avoid direct confirmation. This poses another challenge and thus, it is recommended that you insert a line stating, “In the case of no reply within 48 hours confirmations mentioned in this e-mail will be considered accepted by the builder.”

  1. Get Professional Advice

Less than 1% of the buyers consult a property lawyer about the terms and conditions of the builder buyer agreement or related documents. One may argue that builders may not entertain any request for a change in the agreement, which is largely true.

However, it is advisable anyway, to know and understand the agreement, before signing the deal. After all, a house purchase is one of the largest financial goals of the family.

The question whether to go to a lawyer remains even after the builder seems to be avoiding customers’ queries, and the project is already delayed. Whatever your reason, approaching a real estate lawyer will be a good idea since the beginning.

However, the chances are that you are yet to contact a lawyer, if yes, do not delay it further. Online legal consulting portals like LawRato can make this task far simpler and efficient.

  1. File a Case

If the builder has delayed the possession of your house, the chances are that you are paying the EMIs and house rent for a couple of years even after the due possession date. The best remedy for you is to contact a real estate lawyer for professional advice.

Filing a suit in appropriate court is the requirement for you. The normal route is through consumer court. Rest your lawyer can describe better based on your situation.

  1. What to Expect

There are two possibilities in any lawsuit related to property (or other products):

  1. You can ask for your money back which will include your original buying price, interest for the lost investment period and other expenses which would be avoided in case of an otherwise situation.
  2. You can ask for quicker possession of the apartment

Which one will be acceptable to the builder depends completely on the market situation. If the market is in growth phase builder can easily arrange for the funds and cancel your allotment. If the market is in a slump it will be easier for him to deliver the house.

Whichever option is acceptable for you, your real estate lawyer will assist you in approaching that aim.

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