Sunday, December 18, 2011

What is Property Insurance: Limitations & Benefits of Property Insurance: Mortgage Property Insurance

Whether your property is residential or commercial it should be property mortgage insured to provide financial protection against damages. Insurance companies charge an annual premium after evaluating the building's value and risk exposure by conducting a pre-insurance survey.
There are two main types of mortgage property insurance available:
1.Buildings and fittings (including electrical, plumbing, glass and wooden fittings).
This usually covers the damages/losses to the property caused by:
  • Fires or explosions.
  • Natural disasters (earthquakes and atmospheric disturbances such as storms, flooding and lightning strikes, etc)
  • Plumbing or electrical problems (burst water pipes, short circuits, etc)
  • Property damage (due to malicious acts, riots, strikes, car/aircraft crashes etc) 
Limitations: Properties are not insurable against damages/losses due to illegal possession. Additionally, some insurance companies provide conditional or no coverage for buildings located in earthquake zones and/or storm-susceptible areas.
Annual Insurance Premium (fee charged by the company) is usually 0.18-1% of the building's estimated value.
2. Building and fittings plus contents: Along with the structure and fittings, this also covers specified contents within the building including crockery, cutlery, furniture and fixtures, as well as valuables such as jewelery, paintings, antiques, electronics and home/office appliance etc. The home/office owner is required to provide the insurance company with a list of all the building's contents and their estimated value, based on which the insurance company proposes a premium.
Limitations: Electronic items such as laptops, cell phones and gadgets etc. can be insured, but damage/loss occurring to them outside the premises is not covered. Jewelery and cash must be specifically declared along with their value. In some cases, instead of inuring of property mortgage insurance the full value of expensive jewelery, the insurance company may decide to insure only a percentage of the stated value.
Annual Insurance Premium is 1-2% of the total value of building fittings and contents.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A city by The Sea: Commercial City

Dolmen City is an up and coming commercial projects in Karachi and is attracting investment from across Pakistan. One of the first commercial complexes to open on the Clifton coastline, Dolmen City is located in proximity to upscale restaurants, art galleries, exclusive schools and some of Karachi's largest public parks.
The Harbour Front and Executive tower have been functioning for quite some time and primarily comprise outlets serving as office spaces, where several national and multinational companies have a presence. A shopping mall has opened recent;ly.
Currently, Dolmen city comprises:
1. The Harbour Front comprises 19 floors, each with a covered area of 14,500 square feet. The harbor Front provides faculties including security, fire alarms, a sprinkler system, a centralist mail room and cargo delivery area, as well as car parking. The occupancy rate stands at 60%.
2. The Executive Tower comprises 17 floors, each with a covered area of 11,700 square feet. Facilities include reserved ca parking. The occupancy rate is 85%.
3. The Mall: With a floor of 1,000,000 square feet outlets. Currently, the Mall's main attraction is the presence of an international hypermarket chain. Plans are underway for a food court, restaurants, coffee shops and recreational facilities. Facilities include basement and ground level parking, as well as security.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

What Five to 10 Million Rupees will get you in Karachi

Karachi is Pakistan's largest city, the financial capital and busiest seaport. The city has thriving commercial districts, fashionable markets and plenty of entertainment.
Residential real estate option start at the coastline and stretch across the city.
Here is a look at residential areas in Karachi prices between five and 10 million rupees, which are attracting investment from across Pakistan:
1. Defence is an upscale area which lavish homes, verdant parks, prestigious schools and upmarket commercial areas with plenty of shopping and fine dinning options. An expensive area, only plot in Difference Phases VIII and VIII Extension, and houses in Phase II are available in the five to 10 million price range.

Defence Phase II
House (sq yds)                                                       Purchase Price (Rs)
100                                                                            9-10 million

Defence Phases VIII and VIII Extension
Plots (sq yds)                                                       Purchase Price (Rs)
300                                                                         5-5.5 million
500                                                                         7.5-8 million
666                                                                         9-9.5 million

2. Gulshan-e-Iqbal is a microcosm unto itself, with several prominent landmarks including the Civic Centre, the Expo Centre and Karachi University, Gulshan has plenty of educational institutions, hospitals, as well as shopping and dining options.
Houses (sq yds)                                                  Purchase Price (Rs)
120                                                                        6-7.5 million
200                                                                        6.5-7.5 million

3. North Nazimabad was an elite neighborhood in the early 1950. Although this is no longer the case, the area is still very well regarded and has numerous malls, shopping markets, restaurants, hospitals, educational institutions, parks and marriage halls.
Houses (sq yds)                                                 Purchase Price (Rs)
120                                                                        4-4.5 million
200                                                                        6.5-7.5 million
400                                                                        8.5-10 million

4. PECHS (Pakistan Employees Cooperative Housing Society) is spread over six blocks, offer good shopping and dining options and is ideally located in proximity to shopping hubs such as Tariq Road and Bahadurabad. It is easily accessible from Shahrah-e-Faisal.
Houses (sq yds)                                                 Purchase Price (Rs)
200                                                                       8.5-10 million

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Property Rentals on the Rise: Pakistan Property

Over the last two years, property prices have increased property prices have increased by 10 to 30%, while interest rates on home loans have increased by five percent. These two factors have inhibited residential sale and purchase in property Pakistan prices. As a result, demanded for rental properties has increased by 15 to 20% in the last two years and rents have increased by 30 to 35%. Although the annual rental rate of a property stood at three to five percent of the property's value two years ago, it now stands anywhere between four and seven percent.
If you are purchasing residential property Pakistan with the express purpose of renting it out, keep the following in mind: 

  • Select small to medium sized properties (200 to 500 square yards) in popular, secure residential areas because they are in higher demand, as a re properties located on main roads. 
  • Look out for houses that can be divided into portions for higher rental yields.
  • Choose houses that are well-maintained; you will be able to ask for a higher rent.
  • Apartments in complexes that are located on a corner plot facing a main road are preferable and yield higher rentals, as do apartments located on the first floor or second floor.
  • Apartments in well-maintained and smaller complexes (with 25 to 50 units), usually have higher rentals compared to larger complexes (with 100 to 200 units)
  • Although premium four-bedroom units may get you higher rentals, they are within the reach of many pockets; you are better off with a standard two- or three-bedroom apartment in a well maintained complex.
  • Facilities including UPS', generators, overhead water storage tanks and windows grills are an added advantage.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Furnished Office Spaces

In addition to location, as well-designed office can make all the difference; the address, along with the interior decoration, can have a powerful impact on your company's image.
As buying office space is an expensive proposition for many companies, renting remains a preferred choice. Furthermore, for smaller enterprises and business concerns, investing in office furniture can be daunting especially in terms of cost and the amount of time spent on construction and design.
As a result, the trend of renting furnished and fully-equipped office spaces (with lighting, furniture, generators, ACs, PABX systems, fax machines and computers) has gained traction.
Rental rates for furnished office spaces are 25 to 30% higher than unfurnished offices and there is usually limited or no flexibility to adapt and change the interiors. Despite these drawbacks, there are many benefits to renting furnished offices.
These include:
  • A ready to occupy, furnished space is a hassle-free way to get a business up and running within a short span of time.
  • It is an ideal solution for new and/or small businesses that have limited funds and want to avoid spending money on furniture and decor.
  • Most furnished office spaces located within purpose-built office blocks provide shared amenities, including a reception, meeting foyers, boardrooms, lunch rooms, kitchenettes, security and restrooms.
  • Relocating a business becomes easier without the logistical worries of moving furniture and equipment from one site to another.
  • Professionally designed office spaces have floor plans that are conductive to productivity and enahnce the work flow.
The monthly rental rates, in rupees per square foot, of furnished offices in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad are as follows:
City       Budget     Mid range  Premium
Karachi  90-115     120-200      250-500
Lahore    89-113    117-195      234-449
Islamabad 93-109   136-195      214-468

NB: Commercial property Rating
Premium: Office space ranging from 500-2,000+ sq ft;
Mid range: Office space ranging from 300-500 sq ft;
Budget: Office space below 300 sq ft.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

What Five To Ten Million Rupees Will Get You In Faisalabad, Pakistan

Faisalabad is Pakistan Punjab's second largest business center. The industrial and agriculture hub, located west of Lahore, has experienced an economic resurgence recently. This has resulted in substantial investment in real estate.
Here is a look at residential areas in Faisalabad priced between five and 10 million rupees, which are attracting investment from across Pakistan:
1. Sitara Sapna City is a project of the Sitara group. A turnkey housing project, it is located near the University of Agriculture and Allied Hospital. Amenities include schools, commercial zones, parks, a community center and underground electricity and telephone network.
Purchase price ranges for houses in Sitara Sapna City are:
Plot size (sq yds)                                                       Purchase Price (Rs)
300                                                                                8.2-8.5 million
450                                                                                9.5-10 million

2. People's Colony, an upmarket residential area on the western side of the canal and adjacent to Kohinoor Colony, is home to Faisalabad rich and famous. The fashionable shopping area, D- Ground, is located there.
Purchase price ranges for houses in People's Colony are:
Plot size (sq yds)                                                       Purchase Price (Rs)
150                                                                                5-7 million
210                                                                                7-8.7 million
300                                                                               8.5-10 million

3. Madina Town, was formerly an industrial area that has been converted into a fashionable, upmarket residential neighborhood. It is located near Susana and Jaranwala Roads; it has parks, commercial areas and schools.
Purchase price ranges for houses in Madian Town are:
Plot size (sq yds)                                                       Purchase Price (Rs)
210                                                                                5.3-8 million
300                                                                                7.6-10 million
390                                                                                9-10 million
450                                                                                9.5-10 million

4. Gulberg is an upmarket residential neighborhood. It is located near Faisalabad major commercial zones, minutes away from the Chenab Club, Faisalabad Clock Tower, Jinnah Gardens, Serena Hotel and the University of Agriculture. The National Hospital is also located there.
Purchase prices ranges for houses in Gulberg are:
Plot size (sq yds)                                                       Purchase Price (Rs)
150                                                                                6.7-7 million
210                                                                                7.6-8.4 million
300                                                                               8-10 million

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Investing In Canada: Canada Investment & Property rates

Investing in real estate in Canada has gained traction other citizens who live in Canada, given that property can be purchased and sold by non-Canadian citizens. If you are living in any country, you should contact a real estate consultant in Canada and shortlist properties. The best way to do this is by asking friends and family members to recommend one. Relations usually charge between three and seven percent of the value of the property. If you plan to rent the property, a property manager will help you find prospective tenants, collect rent and ensure that the property is maintained while you are away. Property manager's fees usually include the first month's rent and seven percent of the monthly rental thereafter. People who are not living in Canada are required to pay the entire purchase price for the property at one go.If you are staying in Canada on a student visit or work visa, you can view and purchase properties and contact a real estate consultant or property manager. To purchase property, you can either buy it upfront or apply for a house loan of up to 65% of the property's value. The remaining 35% will have to be paid as a down payment. The mortgage period varies between 10 and 30 years, interest rates range from three to five percent. Popular property options for the other citizens people are located in areas near Toronto, and include Brampton, Markham, Mississauga, New market, North York, Scarborough and Vaughan. Further from Toronto, cheaper options are available in northern towns including Aurora, Bradford and Barrie where both houses and farmland are available. Approximate purchase prices and monthly rental rates for properties in these rates are:  
Type of property                                          Purchase Price                        Monthly Rental Rate Houses with basements (1700-2700 sq ft)      CAD 350,000-450,000             CAD 2,000-2,500 Condominiums (one to two bedrooms)           CAD 250,000-350,000             CAD 1,000-1,800 100-Acre farmland with
a farmhouse & Barns                                      CAD 1.2-1.6 million                          CAD 4,000-5,000 One Acre Farmland                                        CAD 12,000-28,000                            N/A

Monday, September 19, 2011

Renting Furnished Accommodation: Get Accommodation

Renting furnished accommodation, be it an apartment, house or a portion is gaining traction, especially among people who are relocating for a sort period of time and do not want to purchase furniture or spend money on shipping it. Furnished accommodations can be classified into three categories: Budget: Fully-furnished bedrooms, lounges and drawing/ dining areas with curtains/ blinds; basic bathroom/kitchen fittings and light fixtures. Mid range: Includes the above mentioned features as well as a UPS/generator and air-conditioners. Premium: In addition to all the budget and mid range features, this category includes electrical appliances such as refrigerator, cooking range, microwave, washing machine, TV and entertainment system etc, as well as high-end bathroom/kitchen fittings and lighting fixtures. Home accessories such as rugs/carpets, lamps, paintings and indoor plants are also in place.  
Although such a hassle-free arrangement sounds tempting, it comes with its own share of disadvantages, which include:
  • Rents are 30-40% higher than unfurnished units.
  • It is sometimes difficult to find a furnished property that matches tenants' aesthetic sense; tenants often have to compromise and live in a space they don't really like.
  • Some landlords are inflexible and raise objections if tenants want to modify or add personal touches to the interior. 
To avoid altercations with landlords, tenants should:
  • Be very clear on issues such as maintenance of appliances and furniture, the removal of unnecessary items, and the placement of their own furniture.
  • Settle on a penalty for damaged, misplaced or stolen items.
  • Obtain permission to rearrange furniture prior to making changes.
  • Ensure that the above-mentioned points are clearly tenancy arrangement.
The following are the approximate monthly rental ranges (in rupees) of furnished accommodation in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
  • 2-3 bedroom apartments - Budget 11,000-30,000 Mid range: 15,000-50,000; premium: 20,000-70,000
  • 2-bedroom portion/houses- Budget: 25,000-55,000; Mid range: 45,000-85,000; premium: 65,000-105,000
  • 3-bedroom portion/houses- Budget: 45,000-100,000; Mid range: 55,000-150,000; Premium: 75,000-220,000
  • 4 bedroom/portion/houses - Budget: 85,000-200,000; Mid range: 95,000-250,000: Premium: 115,000-300,000

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Property Tax Returns

Every individual earning a monthly income in excess of Rs 5,000 is required to file an Income Tax Return on September 30, every year. The filing process is fairly simple whether you do it yourself or use the services of an accountant. Either way, you are required to fill in an Income Tax Return Form, in which you have to declare your income and assets, such as property you own
Here are some points property owners should keep in mind when filing their Income Tax Returns:
1. Individuals who own immovable property (such as a house or a plot) measuring over 250 square yards, or an apartment. measuring 2,000 square feet or more, should declare the property in their Income Tax Return. However, no tax is applicable on property owners if they are not renting out their property.
2. Owners who are renting out their property must declare their assets as well as the income derived from the property.
3. Costs incurred due to renovation or remodeling of a property can be included as an expense in the Income Tax Returns. If the amount exceeds your annual income, a tax benefit can be claimed.
Tax Rates on rental income derived from a residential property:
Gross Annual Income                           Tax Applicable
Less than Rs 150,000                            No Tax Applicable
Rs 150,000-400,000                             5% of gross amount
Rs 400,000-1,000,000                          Rs 12,500 + 7.5$ of gross amount
More than Rs 1 million                           Rs 57,500 + 10% of gross amount

Investing in the Outskirts

Real estate purchases made with the intent of earning high ROI (Return on Investment)through rental and resale are usually concentrated in urban centers where the value of such properties is significantly high. It is, however, becoming increasingly popular to invest in property located on the outskirts of the metropolitan cities.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Preventing Illegal Property Occupation

Due to an increase in the illegal occupation of properties in Pakistan, investment in real estate, especially by Pakistanis living overseas, has decreased significantly.
Illegal occupation primarily takes place when properties are either left untended (such as plots) or when tenants (in the case of houses and apartments) refuse to vacate the premises, and in extreme cases, illegally transfer the property in their own name.
If you have an empty plot, or are thinking of purchasing one, take the following measures to minimize the chances of it being occupied illegally:
  • Never leave the plot vacant or unattended; have a boundary wall constructed and hire a security guard to look after the plot at all times.
  • Do not buy cheaper plots on the outskirts of a city or a remote area for a long term investment. Properties in such areas are more likely to be taken over by land grabbers.
  • Never give unconcerned and unreliable individuals access to original or even photocopied title documents of the plot.
To prevent the illegal occupation of your home or apartment by your tenants, take the following measures:
  • Always meet prospective tenants in person and run background checks before signing a Tenancy/Lease Agreement: hold on to these documents for later use.
  • Check the tenant's financial standing and past financial records in order to determine whether or not he/she will be able to pay the rent.
If you are not residing in Pakistan, or are planning to leave the country for an extended period, appoint an attrney to keep an eye on the property and collect the rent on your behalf.
If your property is occupied illegally despite these measures, you will need to obtain an eviction notice from the city court to recover it. In some cases this process takes months, or even years.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Negotiating Renovations: Renovate Your Property

Your floors are scruffed, the paint is peeling and the kitchen cabinets are hanging by a hair. Rental property, especially if it is an older one, periodically requires serious renovations. However, sue to lack of communication between landlords and tenants, they are usually delayed.
Negotiations are key when it comes to getting the renovations done. That is why it is best for the landlord and tenant to dettle on ters regarding renovations and upgrades before the deal is sealed.
However, in most cases this problem is tackled only when the need arises and almost always results in altercations.
To prevent this, here are some tips to consider:
1. The rental contract should clearly state the extent of renovation work that can be carried out and also the roles and responsibilities of the tenant and landlord.
2. Send your request for renovation to the landlord via certified mail and ask for a receipt; keep a record of your correspondence as it may come in handy in case of any legal action.
3. If you don't hear back from your landlord, ask an objective third party, such as your real estate agent, to assess the situation.
Alternatively, you can refer to the lease agreement and seek legal aid. If the contract has a renovation clause, deduct the cost of permanent renovations from the rent and save the receipts as proof.
4. Landlords are more willing to pay for practical renovations such as paint jobs, plumbing and electrical work, and security installations such as barbed wires; cosmetic upgrades are less likely to be sanctioned by property owners.
5. A major concern for landlords with renovation requests is time investment; they will be more willing if you offer to do the leg work, which includes finding a contractor and supervising the job yourself.
6. In case the landlords requests the tenant to pay for the renovations, with the understanding that he/she will be reimbursed later, the tenant should invest only 50% of the total amount which can then be deducted from the rent.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

New Property Laws in Sindh

In light of the increasing number of property funds and illegal transactions in Sindh, a thorough verification system was deemed imperative. As a result, the Government of Sindh introduced a new law in January 2010, which stated that all property owners, landlords and real estate agents were required to obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Home department prior to renting or selling property.
Unfortunately, the law was not takes very seriously and many property transactions continued take place without the obtainment of an NOC.
As a result, in June 2011, the Government of Sindh announced a revised law which stated that the purchase or rental of any kind of property - be it plots, apartments, houses, portions, commercial or Industrial spaces- can take place only after the National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) has conducted background checks and verified the authenticity of the owners, sellers and tenants.
Additionally, the area police station and Union Council Offices must verify the authenticity of the transaction before it can go through.
This new law has been enforced on a trial basis for a period of three months, after which it may be put into effect permanently.
In order to make this law more effective, the following measure should be taken:
  • If this law is passed throughout Pakistan instead of just Sindh, illegal transactions can effectively be curbed throughout the country.
  • The Home Department must regulate real estate licensing, making it mandatory for all agents to have a license before conducting business.
  • A computerized property database of tenants and buyers should be maintained in each district, city and province to facilitate background checks.
  • Anyone who violates this law should be heavily penalized.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mezzanine Floors

It's a good idea to think out of the box when it comes to purchasing or renting property. What may seem like an odd shape or size can be used creatively to maximize floor space and give you more value for your money.
Mezzanine floors are such commercial properties; these balcony-like floors within an enclosed space provide additional area and are ideal for offices, shops, showrooms and even restaurants and art galleries. They can also be used for purposes such as storage.
Two types of mezzanine spaces are available; the first is accessible from the ground floor and is included free of charge along with the ground floor, while the other has a separate entrance and is sold or rented independently. Both types provide additional floor space which is why rental rates and purchase price of mezzanine floors are usually higher than those of conventional spaces.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Understanding Short Term Investment & Long Term Investment; What to Invest in 2011

What is Short Term Investment & Long Term Investment, What to Invest in 2011:
A property that is bought and resold within six to twelve months is referred to as a a short term investment in the real estate market, whereas a property held for three to five years and then sold is referred to as a long-term investment.
Here is a closer look at the real estate trends that have emerged in Pakistan since 1995:
  • 1995-2000: Investment was primarily long-term and property prices appreciated by nearly 60 to 70%.
  • 2000-2005: Long term investment continued and investors enjoyed heavier appreciations as the economic landscape improved.
  • 2006-Present: The short-term investment term began in 2006, when an unstable economy discouraged investors from investing in Pakistan; they opted for the Middle East instead. The people who choose to invest in Pakistan did so only for short periods of time (from six months to a year), after which they either made other short term investments to stopped investing in Pakistan altogether.
The effect of short-term investments in the real estate market include:
  • Investors now prefer to sell their property as soon as it's value increase by six to seven percent; when prices decrease by even one percent, they purchase new properties.
  • Continuous short-term investments eventually affect the long term scenario of the real estate market. Ideally, property appreciation at the end of a five-year period should be 25 to 30%. However, if short-term investment continuous, appreciation will remain significantly low, reaching only three to four percent.
  • Ultimately, short term investments hamper the growth of the real estate sector and result in undervaluing the net worthy of the property. 
To discourage this trend, the Government should introduce value discount incentives for investors who hold on to properties for at least five years. This will encourage long-term investments, eventually rectify the problem and improve the current state of the real estate market.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Building Value In Your Property:Increase The Value Of Your Property

An emerging trend in real estate is constructing houses with value added features and using materials that are of a better quality, especially when reselling the property in question is a distinct possibility.
The following are some architectural measures and construction materials that can enhance the quality of your house's structure, making it stronger, more durable, easy to maintain and consequently increase its value.
1) Water Proofing: Nitrogen chemical, sealants and plastic sheets are used to water proof the plinth level at the time the foundation is being laid; sulphate resistant cement can also be used in foundations. Water proof paint used in overhead and underground water tanks can dramatically reduce water seepage and play a vital role in increasing the life of a building.
2) Insulation: Constructing with hollow blocks instead of regular bricks provides good insulation; they keep the structure cool and reduce air-conditioning related energy bills significantly.
3) Plumbing: Galvanized iron pipes are stronger and more durable compared to plastic ones. Remember it is easier to maintain pipes that are not concealed.
4) Roof: Laying tiles on the surface of the roof makes it a useable space and also provides heat proofing. Brick tiles are economical and ideal for this purpose as they are heat and water resistant and easy to maintain. If you have a higher budget, consider using marble tiles which also have a cooling effect.
5) Exterior: Embellishing the exterior with bricks, texture, and uncut maintenance free as opposed to painted walls.
6) Landscaping: Explore the possibility of 'hard' landscaping in the form of partially tiled yards and courtyards; these are easier and less expensive to maintain compared to a full fledged lawn.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

DHA business zone:Business Hub

Located on Beach Avenue in Defense Phase VIII, the DHA Business Zone is currently under planning and promises to be a lucrative opportunities for investors. The development of the Business Zone is expected to begin in the last quarter of 2011 and experts in the real estate sector think that it will be an ideal venue for big brands and organizations looking for commercial office space or retail outlets that conform to international standards.
Here are the salient features for potential investors:
  • Unlike other commercial areas in DHA, where the size of the plots are limited to 100 or 200 sq yds, the DHA business Zone offers plots measuring 333,666 and 5,000 sq yds. The Zone has a total of 54 plots: 19 plots measure 333 sq yds, 27 plots measure 666 sq yds and eight plot measure 5,000 sq yds.
  • Plot prices range between Rs. 125,000 and 150,000 per sq yd; prices are expected to rise when development begins and the demand for property goes up.
  • Building bylaws in the Zone differ from other commercial areas in DHA and include:
  • Priority to office buildings.
  • Retail outlets and restaurants may only be established on the ground and first floors of each building.
  • Plots cannot be used for residential or educational purposes.
  • Buildings must be disabled accessible and centrally air-conditioned.
  • Minimum sizes for shops are 200 sq ft with a minimum width of 12 ft.
  • Minimum sizes for office spaces are 1,000 sq ft.
  • The Floor Area Ratio (FAR) is 1:5 which means that the built up area of a building can be five times as much the plot size. For example, a building on a 333 sq yd plot can have a built up area of 1,665 sq yds.
  • Only plot measuring 5,000 sq yds and above can be bifurcated into two separate plots of the same size.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Adding Value To your Property: Increase The Value Of Your Property

If you are planning on selling your home, here are some ideas that you can implement that will increase the value of your property.
1. Quality plumbing significantly increases the value of a property. Replace or repair broken pipelines, blocked gutter lines, seepage and leaky faucets.
2. Make sure the electrical wiring in the house is in working order; have extra switches placed at convenient locations.
3. Driveways should be hassle-free; paved lawns, using terracotta tiles or natural stone, are long lasting and easy to maintain.
4. Practical home extensions that add space within the house are ad added advantage. Extend kitchens if possible to include a pantry, and if your bathrooms are small, extend them to provide larger shower areas.
5. Revamp the kitchens with quality fittings and fixtures including cabinets, floor tiles, granite counter tops, large sinks, and rust-proof taps etc.
6. Install grills outside the windows (if not already in place); this will make the property more secure.
7. Introduce eco-friendly elements such as heat insulated roof. Superimposing bricks on to the property's exterior will cool the house and eliminate the need to repaint. These will be good selling points as they help reduce the future owner's electricity bill.
8. If you have space at the back, construct a servant's quarter with a bathroom. This is something most people look for when buying a house. Just make sure you do not violate the area's bylaws.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rent A Summer Timeshare- And Save

Timeshare refers to the partial ownership of a property (usually a fully furnished summer home or resort conodominium) which allows each owner to use the property for a specified amount of time every year.
If you are not interested in actually buying a timeshare, you may want to consider renting one, as timeshare owners sometimes rent out their timeshare as an extra source of income.
Renting a timeshare property usually proves to be a cost effective alternative to staying at a hotel and can be an ideal option if you travel to the same destination every year.
There are several ways to rent a timeshare:
1. Fixed: You can use the property for the same amount of time, during the same dates, every year. (For example, the second week of June every year.)
2. Floating: You can use a property for the same amount of time during a specific season (For example, summer) on different dates every year. (For example, the first week of May in the first year, and the second week of June the following year.)
3. Rotating: You can use the property for the specified amount of time on an ongoing rotating basis every year. (For example, the first week of July in the first year, the second week of July in the following year, and so forth).
The following are approximate weekly rental rates for timeshare properties in some popular holiday destinations:
1. Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur/LangKawi):$50-600.
2. Sri Lanka (Colombo/Wadduwa): $450-750.
3. Singapore: $1,012-1,376.
4. Thailand (bangkok/Phuket): $75-400
5. turkey (Istanbul/Antalya): $1,250-1800.
6. UAE (Dubai): $1,295-1,750.
7. UK (London): $ 330-825.
The best way to rent a timeshare is by making an online booking or contacting a travel agent.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pump Property: Choosing The Best Site For Your Fuel Pump

Given the constant rise in fuel prices, owing a petrol/CNG station is a lucrative venture. However, what is perhaps more significant in the context of real estate, is the fact that the value of commercial, and especially residential property, located within a 2 kilometer radius of a petrol/CNG station is 35% lower than properties located further away.
Possible safety hazards(such as fumes, toxicity, and fear of explosions) are the main reasons for this; other reasons include the constant vehicular traffic at petrol/CNG stations and the sequent noise, pollution and congestion.
There are a multitude of exhaustive rules and regulations that must be adhered to when constructing a petrol/CNG station, especially with regard to safety. These rules have been mandated by The Master Plan and Environment Control Department (MP & ECD), a government body that grants approvals and issues permits relating to the construction of petrol/CNG stations.
Once built, the MP & ECD conducts a thorough inspection before the petrol/CNG station can function.
Some of the MP & EC D's bylaws regarding construction include:
1. Plot sizes should be a minimum of 600 sq yd for a CNG station, 1000 sq yd for a petrol station and 1500 sq yd for a CNG/petrol station.
2.Petrol/CNG stations must have a 10-ft wide open space surrounding the structure on all four sides.
3. Petrol/CNG stations should be built adjacent to main roads and thoroughfares, with a service lane providing easy access.
4. There can only be one filing station in a one kilometer radius. The only exception to this rule is if a petrol/CNG station is located on the opposite side of a 100 ft wide double-carriage road that has a dividing media.
5. Adequate parking space should be allotted for supply tankers.
Constructing and setting up a petrol/CNG station can cost anywhere between 3.5 million and five million rupees. This price range does not include the cost of the plot.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Paying Guest Accommodation

Paying guest accommodation is gaining momentum, primarily due to the fact that an increasing number of people are looking for cost effective rental options.
Here are some things to look out if you are looking or paying guest accommodation:
1) Location: Opt for a purely residential area rather then a residential cum-commercial one which is located near your workplace and/or a shopping area. If you don't have a car, find out about public transport facilities in the area.
2) Facilities: Find out what facilities are offered by the landlord. These can include an attached bathroom, AC, wardrobe, basic furniture (such as a bed, chair and tables), a TV with a cable connection, as well as cleaning, security and laundry services.
3) Restrictions: Ask your landlord about any restrictions that he/she may want to impose, including whether or not you may have visitors and/or overnight guests, or if you can make any modifications to your room (e.g. repaint it).
4) Monthly Rent: Rooms can be rented in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. rentals range from Rs 3,500 per month for an unfurnished room to Rs 25,000 for a fully furnished one.
Rents also vary according to location, as well as whether or not utilities such as electricity, gas and water are included; facilities such as those mentioned above also affect the rent.
5) Tenancy Agreement: To prevent possible altercations, make sure that you and the landlord sign a tenancy agreement which specifies each one of the above mentioned points in detail.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Building Green: Make your Home And Society Green

In today's world conserving energy resources is the need of the hour. And with Earth day approaching on April 22, it is imperative to start thinking about building a greener future using "green and sustainable" architectural practices. These include methods that reduce energy consumption during construction and while using the space after completion. There are several "green" practices that i have followed for a number of years when constructing energu efficient buildings, keeping in mind the local climate and, of course, exorbitant energy costs.
You can also follow green construction practices by using:

1. Local manufactured materials to construct your house. Not only will this be more economical, it will conserve transportation energy.
2. Double walls with insulation in between. This reduces heat absorption and hence the load on ACs. Although these walls cost almost three times as much as ordinary walls, you will save a lot in the long run, price: Rs 140-190 per sq ft.
3. Recessed windows with insulated/reflective glass reduce heat absorption and curtail the cost of energy. Although insulated glass comes with a high price tag compared to regular glass, the payback is high in terms of energy costs and comfort within the building. Make sure the windows are placed in a manner that maximises cross ventilation. Price: rs 350 per sq ft.
Insulated roofs reduce heat absorption and cut down on energy costs considerably. price: Rs 50-80 per sq ft. Additionally, insulation materials such as cork and thermo pole sheets installed on the roofs keep spaces cool and lower energy consumption, price: Rs 220 per sq ft.
5. Solar panels are a great way to conserve energy as they use heat from the sun to produce energy, without any running costs. We are currently using solar panels to heat water, thus eliminating the use of gas geysers. Price: Rs 170,000 and above.
6. Windmills, which are primarily used to produce energy for large scale projects, are also an effective way to conserve energy. Although spatial limitations and hefty price tags are slight drawbacks, the conversational benefits and reduced energy costs make up for this in the long run. Price: 85 million rupees.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Building A Mall: Building A Shopping Mall

A shopping mall is classified as a building that comprises multiple shops of varying sizes within an enclosed space. Shopping malls can only be constructed on commercial plots that measure at least 4,000 sq yards.
The construction of a mall must adhere to government bylaws. These include:
1. Before starting construction, the site plan must be approved by the concerned authority.
2. The minimum size of a shop is 100 sq ft with a minimum height of 10 ft.
3. Multi-stories structures must have provisions for staircases, elevators and escalators.
4. Corridors must be at least 30 ft wide to ensure that people can walk through them comfortably.
5. A parking facility should be in place , either in the basement of the mall, or on the upper floors.
6. Proper fire fighting systems with smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and clearly marked emergency exits, should be in place each floor.
7. Adequate restroom facilities must be provided in proportion to the covered area (e.g for 4,000 sq feet of covered area, atleast four toilets and two wash basins should be available.)
Features that are not mandatory but should be in place include:
1. A standby generator.
2. A food court.
3. A cinema hall.
4. A children's play area, and a day-care centre.
5. A medical facility with competent staff to handle emergencies.
6. Safety features including non-skid flooring and high railings on upper floors; glass doors should clearly be marked with red stickers to prevent accidents.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Building a Hospital

Plots are primarily classified into four categories: residential, commercial, industrial and amenity. Amenity plots are meant for parks, schools, colleges, universities and hospitals. Amenity plots are allocated by the relevant authorities and the procedure varies depending on the area the hospital will be located in.
The construction of a hospital should adhere to government bylaws. These include:
1) The plot allocation must be approved by the relevant Building Control Authority.
2) The structure and design must adhere to the Building Code, which is drafted by the provincial government.
3) Space for the emergency parking facilities for ambulances and visitors should be adequate. The size of the parking spaces varies according to the size of the plot.
4) If there are multiple storeys, separate elevators should be provided for visitors and patients. The visitors elevator should be large enough to accommodate a minimum of six people.
5) For staircases, the height of each step should not exceed six inches, and the width of each step should be a minimum of ten inches.
6) A working fire safety system, which includes a sprinkler system and emergency exits on every floor, should be in place.
7) All patients rooms should have windows and a proper ventilation system
8) For every 10 beds in a general ward, a separate WC and bathroom should be allocated, in addition to a separate wash basin and sink.
9) All solid medical waste should be classified by the hospital as either hazardous or non-hazardous and disposed of accordingly.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Graduating In Real Estate:Education In Real Estate

Although the real estate business in Pakistan grown substantially over the last two decades, the fact remains that the people engaged in the real estate do not possess the required training or the expertise. This has resulted in lack of transparency and unwarranted price fluctuations.
Ideally, local colleges and universities should offer real estate certification courses that provide students a practical knowledge of all aspects of the real estate business- from real estate economics, finance and law to community planning and urban development. Unfortunately, no such courses or degree are available in Pakistan.
As there is no regulation and no required licensing, almost anyone can open a real estate agency and conduct business; the business is unregulated and does not have defined standards.
For this sector to have a streamlined system and transparency, a few concrete steps must be taken. One way to tackle this would be to make it mandatory for all real estate agents to have a license or certification before stepping into the profession. Not only will this regulate the real estate business across the board, it will raise additional revenue for the provincial governments, which could then charge a licensing fee. Licensing and regulation, in turn, will help maintain property prices at realistic level.
Currently, property sellers seek advice from non-professional, unregulated property brokers who usually quote inflated prices instead of actual values, leading to market instability. This is best illustrated by the fact that in Pakistan, real estate prices have recently increased by anywhere in between 100% and 150%, in sharp contrast to the international real estate markets which have witnessed drastic falls in property price (by 50% to 70%)
Only when obtaining a license becomes mandatory will property transactions be streamlined and gain the transparency that it is lacking in the real estate sector.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Striving for better fire safety and protection:Tips for better fire protection

Many markets , bazaars, multistory public and private buildings are built without any fire protection and safety mechanics. The incidents of fire in the country are on the rise and there is need to introduce new fire safety laws and devise fire escape plans to ensure construction of buildings with emergency fire exits.
A recent incident was the electrical short circuit that occurred in a warehouse that stored fireworks in Shah Alam Market in Lahore in early February this year. The resulting fire engulfed 11 buildings, and the fire fighters faced severe difficulty in putting it out as the fire engines were unable to reach the site due to congested streets. How can such incidents be prevented?
Here are some precautions landlords and tenants should take:
1) Ensure that the electrical wiring can bear the required electricity load,. Have the wiring checked by a qualified electrician at least every six months to make sure that it is functioning properly.
2) Take necessary precautionary measures when it comes to storing flammable material such as firecrackers and cigarette lighter fluid. Use fire-resistant cabinets and bins and ensure adequate ventilation.
3) Never leave a smoldering cigarette, as electrical appliance or a lit stove unattended.
4) Make sure that all electrical equipment is maintained properly and checked frequently.
5) Fire exits should be marked clearly so people can evacuate the building in an organized manner; fire extinguishers should be placed in prominent places.

6) Have a fire alarm system, or several smoke detectors installed for early detection.

Unfortunately, there is no mechanism in Pakistan that ensures regular inspection of all buildings for fire preventive purposes. A possible solution to this would be if the urban development. police and fir service departments worked together to ensure that construction bylaws are not violated by builders and developers. The government should also enforce and introduce modern construction rules for the safety of buildings from fire, so that commercial buildings and warehouses meet the required international standards.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Buying Fertile Land In Pakistan

In Pakistan, currently over 6 million families work on 50 million acres of land; 94% of the farmers are considered "Survival Formers"  and occupy less then an average of 12. acres. These farmers work on large private holdings or government land and have been farming for generations. Recently the Government of Pakistan has put fertile land on sale to encourage foreign investment.
The United Arab Emirates(UAE) has purchased 324,000 hectares (800,000 acres) in Punjab while Saudia Arab and China have also expressed their interest to buy fertile land. Foreign firms investing in Pakistan fertile land have been offered 50 year leases, renewable for another 40 years; investors will retain 100% proprietary rights, while enjoying a tax holiday for 10 years.
To safe guard the interests of small farmers, here are some suggestions which the Government should consider:
1) No land should be sold to foreign buyers which may have oil or other mineral reserves.
2) Barren land only should offered for foreign investments, in which the equity of the Government should be 51%; foreign buyer(s) should be asked to raise 49% of the value of land according to open market rates for development purposes.
3) Local farmers should be trained modern technology methods aimed at making barren land fertile thus giving them the means to continue to earn a livelihood.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Beaware Of Bogus Housing Schemes, Housing Development, Housing Projects, Housing Benefits & Housing Associations

The last decades has seen countless housing schemes surface promising luxuries living to unsuspecting investors only to be declared bogus after millions of rupees have been collected from them. The modus-operandi of bogus housing societies is to publish attractive advertisements in the print and electronic media in order to lure people into buying, and after collecting the money they disappear.
Over the years the Awareness and Prevention Division (A&P) of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has advised investors to check all details prior to investing in any housing scheme.
Unfortunately, beyond warnings no legislation to protect investors from bogus housing schemes Housing Development, Housing Projects, Housing Benefits & Housing Associations has been forthcoming from the federal or provincial Governments. In such a scenario, it is imperative that investors not risk their hard earned money without conducting their own investigation into the legitimacy of any new housing scheme.
Here are few points to keep in mind before investing in any housing scheme:

1) Obtain a copy of the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the management of the Housing Scheme and confirm its authenticity with the competent authority, i.e KDA, CDA, LDA.
2) Find out from the concerned office of the City Government who is the owner of the land on which the project is to be built, and whether proper lease documents exist with the area registrar.
3) Inquire from utility companies if they have agreed to provide utilities to the scheme.
4) Find out if there is any ongoing litigation involving the land where the scheme is being built.
5) Examine the details of the plot you are interested in. Make sure the exit plot number, street number, sector phase number as well as the development charges and payment schedule are clearly highlighted prior to signing the purchase agreement.
Enhanced by Zemanta