Thursday, September 24, 2009

Real Estate Asbestos Prevention Tips for Healthier, Sustainable Homes Assetventures

Owning a home is regarded as one of the great moments of your life. It is a time that will bring many joyous memories for you and your family, but is also one that can create additional responsibilities. With many older buildings, there is the potential for hazardous materials that may be present.

Newly bought homes are often remodeled and repairs are always needed. This is often the case with older homes, which still run with old, corrosive methods that were once used to build structures. If you believe that your home contains asbestos, a home inspection could be extremely important for safety, health and investment reasons.

Many real estate agents have begun to understand the many risks and responsibilities involved in the home buying process. Real estate experts make sure potential home buyers receive all the information they need before making the all important step.


Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that gained popularity throughout the 20th century. Its qualities as flame and heat resistant made it perfect for use in construction and building applications. Asbestos that is disturbed or damaged due to age is known as “friable” asbestos. This is a serious concern because its toxic fibers can easily circulate and become inhaled.

Homes and buildings constructed prior to 1980 still hold the potential of containing asbestos materials. In most situations, asbestos appears in roof shingles, dry wall, attic insulation, popcorn ceilings, joint compounds and electrical wires. It is not always an easy process to determine whether or not a particular insulation contains asbestos. Anyone who is unsure about the insulation in their home should have the materials in question inspected and tested.

If exposed to airborne asbestos fibers for a prolonged period of time, it can lead to the development of related lung ailments such as asbestosis and mesothelioma. Treatment has varied effects on victims. The age of diagnosis and latency period typically have a direct impact on patients.

Healthy Tips

If asbestos materials are present, most contractors will advise home owners to leave it alone. A home inspector can determine the toxicity levels present. Sometimes the best action is no action at all. A general contractor will usually be responsible for providing materials, equipment and labor for a remodeling project. Consultants will identify material defects in structures and components of the home, in adherence to or exceeding national, state, and industry regulations and standards.

Asbestos insulation should be left undisturbed in your attic. Limit the amount of accessories and items stored. Do not allow children’s access. If you plan to remodel or conduct renovations, hire professionals to handle asbestos to safely remove the material. Removing asbestos by yourself can potentially spread fibers throughout your home and your family will be at risk of inhaling asbestos dust.

If an inspector deems the substance harmful, the removal of asbestos in public facilities, workplaces and homes must be performed by licensed abatement contractors who are trained in handling toxic substances. Depending on the condition of the asbestos, many experts feel it is better to seal it off than remove it.

Green insulation alternatives to asbestos include the use of cotton fiber, lcynene foam and cellulose. Cotton fiber is quickly becoming a favorite for home builders and renovators. Made from recycled batted material, it is also treated to be fireproof.

Best time for a value deal in real estate Assetventures

It's perhaps the best time to look around for a value buy in real estate. With lower price points in locations which were not earlier within your wallet’s reach, buyers are scouting for good ‘value’ bargains at this time.

And with developers going big on affordable home launches, the timing may just be one of the best for buyers seeking a steal deal.

Anshuman Magazine, CMD of global real estate consultancy CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) says that value buying is happening mostly in suburban locations as that is where the current supply is.

“Certain pockets in Gurgaon and Noida, where the price earlier used to be Rs 65 lakh-Rs 1.5 cr, today have deals to offer anywhere between Rs 35 lakh to Rs 50 lakh! Developers have reduced the total ticket sizes, adjusted area, price and given amenities. This has got people back and is making them hunt for value deals right now.”

Locations such as Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida in Delhi NCR and Navi Mumbai and Thane in Mumbai are some of the good locations for value buying, feels Navin M Raheja, chairman and managing director of Raheja Developers.

“Anything which is available between Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,500 per sq ft is the right price depending, of course, upon the location and infrastructural facilities available in the vicinity with specifications offered .”

The developer is soon going to launch a housing project, ‘Raheja Shilas’ near IGI airport wherein the price would range between Rs 2,575 to Rs 2,875 per sq ft.

Raheja further adds that there are three kinds of value buying that are taking place in the real estate market right now.

Ready to move in residential property in and around metros and their suburbs, ready to move in commercial property which is already leased or generating income and low income and middle-income housing ranging from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 40 lakh are the primary types of value purchases in his opinion.

Many of those who were holding out have also decided to make a purchase now as prices have bottomed out. Plus with many affordable housing launches by developers , the view is that prices are more pocket friendly at this time.

“Prices have reached the bottom and in these prices you are bound to get good appreciation in future . So if you are buying a particular property now, one is definitely going to feel later that they grabbed a good deal,” says Vijay Jindal , CMD, SVP Group.

Jindal’s view is shared by many others in the market as well. Smaller investment opportunities with a starting price bracket of Rs 35 lakh-Rs 40 lakh have fuelled the demand .

“Earlier the prime focus was on high-end purchases, but today, the conversions are happening mostly for smaller properties. At least 50-60 % conversions are there in the market today for properties priced between Rs 30 lakh - Rs 80 lakh, 20-25 % are for the expensive ones priced between Rs 90 lakh - Rs 2.5 cr and a miniscule number is for the ones above Rs 5 cr,” says Pankaj Jain, executive director of Realistic Realtors, a North Indian real estate consulting firm.

But are people also looking at Tier II and Tier III cities right now, which were prime investment hubs in the good times? “People are not primarily seeing these locations for investment at this time. Value buys here are mostly end-user driven,” adds Magazine.

However it’s best not to overlook the pros and cons before deciding on such value buys. Though the pricing and the product may both look highly appealing, it’s best to read the fineprint carefully.

This will hold in good stead for the future. Rajeev Rai, vice president, corporate, Assotech, advises about key strategies that should be followed.

“One shouldn’t get carried away by sops or discounts offered and one must also not ignore the sold stock status of such a project. As far as the dos are concerned, one must set their priority of the price, location , size etc. A due diligence about the supply and demand of such projects is necessary .

Lastly, one must check the developer’s profile, delivery schedule and legality of the project.” Assotech has projects such as The Nest in Crossings Republik at Rs 2,300 per sq ft and Metropolis in Rudrapur at Rs 1,850 per sq ft.

So if you have been thinking of investing your money in a home, it’s the right time to go deal hunting. Negotiate a bargain, go for value and close the deal.

Tips to buy real estate this festive season Assetventures

Dussehra and Diwali aren’t just the season for Durga pooja, laddoos, and Ram Lila. Its also the time when the maximum number of new real estate projects get launched.

Developers use this season to their advantage because they know that you will be most keen to make a real estate investment during these auspicious days.

But don’t rush in blindly just because you want to buy something before this holy time period finishes. Here are 5 tips that you must keep in mind before you buy property this festive season.

But first, here is a preface to the current environment in real estate. Many developers are still in a financially weak condition. The situation in the market is still a little fragile.

Just because the stock market is going up does not mean that normal conditions have returned to the real estate sector as well. So, please keep this background in mind as you think about the following 5 tips.

1) Choose your builder wisely: The real estate sector, globally and in India, is notorious for developers who take investors’ money and then run away. Make sure that you go with a reputed builder who has been developing properties for a while and has had an operating history.

Don’t just go with any builder, it might be worth paying a premium to go with someone who has built their reputation over a few decades.

If you have not heard of your developer, always ask your developer what properties they have developed, and if possible speak to customers who bought properties at these developments to learn from their experience.

2) Ask for a construction-linked payment plan: As discussed, the financial conditions of various developers are still not totally safe. So, rather than give them money at their will, ask for a construction-linked payment plan.

This way you know that your installments are actually going towards financing the development, rather than being used for other unknown purposes. Beware of time-linked payment plans, and if you have the option stay away from such plans.

3) Penalties for delays: As it happens, many if not most of the projects launched last Diwali have not even seen construction begin. Yet, many customers have paid their installments on time with nothing to show for.

Understand what rights you have in case of delays. Ask for a definitive date for when construction should begin.

If you are dealing with a small builder, that does not have a long operating history, make sure that the contract gives you adequate protection against the builder just sitting on your money and delaying the project’s completion.

4) Location: Don’t be in a rush to buy property just because the price looks tempting, and its an auspicious time to buy property during the festive season. Recognize that the single most important factor in buying real estate is usually the location of the property.

Can you see yourself living there, or someone renting this property? Is it close to civic amenities and is the planned connectivity convenient?

5) Don’t buy to flip: Don’t assume that you will easily be able to flip your property to another buyer for a premium just on the back of paying your booking amount and some installments.

In the near-term, there could be an over supply of apartments. Also, keep in mind that there are 1000s of other people who are already sitting on apartments where they want to sell them.

Buy a property if it makes economic sense for you as an investment, or as a residential home. Don’t gamble.