Trap ALERT – SUPER AREA

When people use ADJECTIVES, it means that they have run short of putting across their view point objectively. I am sure this term SUPER AREA too would have come in vogue when a great marketing brain of real estate industry would have coined it to present it positively in front of the buyer who would have been clueless about the extra cost being charged on the area he was not getting. Confused? Well, read on!

Builders often resort to Price Traps. We addressed six such traps earlier,

  1. The Big Brand Builders
  2. Location
  3. Heavy Marketing Push
  4. Cosmetic Improvement in Design
  5. The Value Trap
  6. Hidden Charges

Today we discuss about another one – SUPER AREA.

The recently notified RERA, Real Estate Regulatory Authority, bill brings about a very major transparent change in the way Real Estate has been sold hitherto in India.

The developers introduced a term “Super Area” which was supposed to cover the carpet area, area under the walls, the common areas (staircases, corridors, club houses, parking, walkaways, entrance lobbies, lift shafts etc. etc.) etc. The area so achieved was then to be divided proportionately amongst the dwelling units to ensure uniform distribution of costs. So far so good.

Super Area

Super Area

But since it is not practically possible for a retail buyer to measure the common areas under development this provided a potential loophole for the developers to exploit which they most unethically did exploit to the fullest. Some of the most reputed and prestigious practiced this chicanery and caused wrongful losses to the trusting buyers.

Example of what was practiced!

Till now it was difficult to ascertain if a project named “Nice” and a project named “Fine” with super area of an apartment, let us say, “2000 sq. ft.”, would provide the buyer with the same usage space etc. It is possible that in project “Nice” the usage space was 1200 sq. ft. + common areas were 600 sq. ft. and 200 sq. ft. was only on paper to be charged from the buyer but not actually provided. On the other hand, the “Fine” project could be providing 1400 sq. ft. of usage space + 600 sq. ft. of common area. Hence there really was no means to ascertain actual usable areas in the Super Area definition and it was beyond the capacity of a retail buyer to find such intricate details.

Now, hopefully with RERA such things should change. Under RERA the Developers would be bound to provide “Carpet Areas”. Now comes the grey part, even under RERA developers will have to build the common areas and the amenities, parking etc.

Would Super Area become obsolete?

It would be naive to think that “Super Area” would become obsolete. It would masquerade itself in some other form and the manipulations would continue. Hence, the buyers should guard their interests by asking these questions from the developers.

Questions a buyer must ask

Questions a buyer must ask

  1. How much is the total area of the common spaces, amenities etc. being constructed. A simple method to do this is to ask the “Contracted” area given to the “civil contractor”. So, while the developer charges you for the “super area” they pay the civil contractors as per the “build up areas”.
  2. One may even ask the Bill of Quantities, if one is really inclined to get into details to that extent, to not just ascertain the quantity but also the quality of the development.
  3. Second method is to ask for the approvals obtained from the relevant authorities. The authorities, thankfully, give precise approvals to the extent of common areas and amenities to be developed. So, a careful look at the approvals would help to determine this basic fact.
  4. A simple summation of the total areas to include; Carpet areas, build up areas, areas under the walls, amenities etc. and then divided by the total number of apartments can give a rough idea of the “Super Area” being developed. To cross check the same the “total number of apartments” multiplied by the “carpet + super area” would give the other side of the equation. The difference between “left Hand Side” of the equation and “Right Hand Side” of the equation would give the buyer a rough but fair idea of the “fake” area being loaded into the product.

Such basic inquiries and calculations can help the buyer save a lot of money (10-15%) through discovery of correct price per square feet.

What if you still do not want to ask all these questions

If you are someone who is not inclined to ask such and so many questions and to do such calculations then please compare the carpet area to carpet area declarations from project to project (This would be the norm going ahead in the RERA regime). Ignore all other claims/assertions by the builder. In fact, louder the claim, hollower the truth, there’s a reason to the age old saying, “empty vessels make much noise”.

SUPER AREA is not something for only SUPER MAN to understand. Follow the points given above & save money for yourself.