What to look for when buying a plot of land to construct your house in Chennai?What to look for when buying a plot of land to construct your house in Chennai?

"Real estate cannot be lost or stolen, nor can it be carried away. Purchased with common sense, paid for in full, and managed with reasonable care, it is about the safest investment in the world.” - Franklin D. Roosevelt The way we see it, buying a property or plot involves a huge investment thus it is important to keep certain important factors in mind, without which your purchase may not be a safe investment.

Therefore, you should be very careful while choosing the property, you should weigh the risks so that you are not buying a non-existent property or a property with legal troubles or a property which will make you spend more during construction. Below are some of the essential things that you should consider before buying a property or plot in Chennai.

1) Floor Space Index Floor Space Index (or) Floor Area Ratio (FAR) is the maximum permissible floor area that you can build on a plot of land. It is regulated by the respective State governments. FSI norms are based on the National Building Code. You should always buy land which has high FSI if you want to get the maximum built up area from your plot and not wasting your money by keeping the any portion of the plot empty.

2) Non-Agricultural Land There are many plots in Chennai that come under the list of agricultural lands. Non-Agricultural land is barren land or not fit for cultivation, to construct any structure it is mandatory to convert the agricultural land into Non-Agricultural land otherwise you will not be permitted to construct any structure on such land.So please make sure the land that you are planning to invest on is not an agricultural one. If you do so then you will be subjected to severe penalties.

3) Check Land Use/Zoning It is always advisable to check the master plan of the city and ensure that the property is in accordance with the zoning plans of the city. Zoning is the method used by local authorities (municipalities) to manage the construction and use of the real estate in a specific area. Each zone is assigned for a specific purpose like Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Educational, Public and Semi-public and Agriculture Use Zone. Zoning categories and symbols vary among communities. A C-1 zone in one city is not necessarily the same as a C-1 in another. Local governments use letters of the alphabet as codes to identify the use allowed in a physical geographic area — such as: R for residential buildings, C for commercial and I for industrial Residential zones can include Single Family Residences (SFR), Suburban Homesteads (SH) or Any number of other designations, including homes, apartments, duplexes, trailer parks, co-ops, and condominiums. These zones cover issues such as the number of structures allowed on a certain property.Zoning laws typically limit the type of animals allowed at a residence. Domestic pets such as dogs, birds, and cats are generally not regulated, but chickens, sheep, horses, llamas, pigs, and cows are subject to certain requirements. Many laws prohibit keeping these farm animals in residential neighborhoods. Others limit the number of animals based on the size of the property.

4) Plot Boundaries The coordinates of the property line indicating the exact measurement of the property is used to provide a legal description of a property. A well-planned layout with a clear plot boundary marking is essential to avoid future plot boundary disputes or problems. Some areas face plot boundary problems as there are no clear measurements of the plot, so if you are planning to invest in a land always select an area which has clearly marked plot boundaries.

5) Check Groundwater The two important things to check for are ground water availability and quality. In Chennai there are many areas which is facing water shortage problems. So, it’s always advisable to check the depth of groundwater and its availability before deciding to buy. If the depth is high then it would lead to increase in borewell construction. Another important thing to check for is the water quality. If the ground water is Saline or brackish then it will not be of any use as it is not potable and usage of it would damage your appliances. This water cannot be used for construction as well so you’ll have to look for an alternate source of water for construction and for future household usage. There are various methods through which you can check the hardness of water such as TDS Meter and water hardness test kits.

6) Drainage Connection Drainage connections is something very few people think of before buying a land. As long as our waste is taken away and our properties are protected from storm water flooding, we don’t care about where it goes. Unfortunately, that's not the case here. Where ever you plan to buy a land make sure the locality has a drainage connection available or else the cost of building a septic tank or water recycling tank will fall on you if you plan to construct a house. If an area becomes densely populated, there is a chance that long-term usage of septic tanks will also affect ground water quality.

7) True Land Height From Road Level Chennai is prone to floods and water stagnation during the monsoons. If you are going to construct a house then your Ground floor will have to be raised from present road level to prevent water ingress. It is therefore important to check the difference between current plot level and road level. If the plot level is much below the road level, the extra cost of raising the ground floor height will be a burden on the house owner during construction.

8) Soil Type Believe it or not, the soil is the most important but neglected aspect that one should consider while purchasing a plot in Chennai and we would personally recommend to conduct a soil test as it can reveal information which cannot be identified with the naked eye. You can know the physical and chemical characteristics along with the bearing capacity of the soil, which would determine the type and depth of the foundation is required for your house.

9) Legal Documents A sale deed is a legal document that showcases the transfer of title, rights, and ownership of a property from a seller to a buyer making it one of the most important documents that has the proof for the buyer and seller legally. Make sure you have a well-drafted deed to avoid ambiguity and minimize legal risks. The deed should have a detailed description of the property that is being purchased, including the square footage and the location. Note that the purchase or sale of the property is not legally complete until a sale deed is signed between the buyer and the seller. Other documents to check for are Mother document, Encumbrance certificate, Patta name transfer, Noc’s from seller’s heirs and joint owners.

10) Vacant Land Tax Based on areas the Chennai Corporation levy property tax on vacant lands. Under Section 212 of GHMC Act, any Vacant Land which is not utilised will be levied a 0.50 percent tax of the estimated capital value of the land. So, make sure that the property owner has paid all the taxes until the date of purchase or you will have to bear the cost if it had been neglected.