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Real estate investing, even on a very small scale, remains a tried and true means of having a secured future. It is a known fact that once people settle in their jobs/businesses, the first real investment they look at is buying a property/land and secure their future with this appreciating asset. However, in addition to lifestyle preferences, one has to look at aspects such as taxation and bank loans to decide on whether to buy a land/plot or a ready apartment. Both forms of investments are have their pros and cons and the evaluation process should be made objectively keeping the long term plan in mind.

A thorough understanding of the local market is advisable. If the market is unwavering and established, the worth of a plot will rise over time. The country has witnessed frenzied real estate activities and one can observe the number of residential and commercial properties and plots emerging.

The past decade has been a roller coaster ride for the Indian real estate sector. In year 2012-13, the sector witnessed several regulatory changes. Nevertheless, in 2014, it welcomed the government's decision to relax FDI norms in the construction sector. They were confident that the move would provide assistance to cash-starved developers to raise the required foreign funds and thus clear all pending projects. The second half of 2014 saw enormous developments in the real estate sector.

The passing of the proposed land bill will yield benefits for the original land holders while the real estate regulatory bill will also bring transparency to this sector thus clearing the real estate sector of its negative image. The industry has been rather positive as the 100 percent FDI would consequently lead to investor friendly regulatory practices in India. Buying a property has always been a colossal task, be it for a small investor or a big one. One has to continuously rack their brains to select the best investment avenue between a flat and a plot. One should list down the requirements prior to making the purchases.

To start with, the investor's motive for investment, the risk bearing capacity and the time span for holding the property before reselling it must include. For instance, if the investor wants to use the property for his/her personal use, then land is always the best option since it will offer a flexibility in terms of the usage and offer handsome value appreciation in long term. However, if the investor wants to resell the property after a small period then opting for a flat is a better option. Land investment is a better option for an established investors who have a finer investment prospect. Land acquisition is most lucrative when one invests in emerging growth corridors of cities where appreciation is likely to happen over the upcoming years. However, buying barren land can also be a fruitful investment. It offers varied merits to the investors. A barren land always gives the owner a sovereign choice of using it in their own way. For instance it can be converted into: agricultural land, residential project or commercial zone and hence leasing it out. Further it also offers an enhanced resale value at the time of selling process. With space availability vanishing quickly in every city by each passing day, the land value it is expected to touch the sky very rapidly. Moreover, flexibility of options available to build as per future requirement further accelerates the cost overall.

Buying a flat is a good option for a small investor. From the day one of the possession, flats are ready to generate handsome income, in case the owner plans to rent it out. The depreciation on construction reduces the growth rate, therefore its value grows with a diminishing rate. In case of flats, the value of the property rises as the demand for flats within the colony rises. Moreover, a flat purchase sets the owner free from various burdens and responsibilities. For instance, he or she one does not have to worry about hiring an architect, seeking approvals from local bodies and dealing with contractors. Another additional benefits like- power backup, club house, swimming pool, maintenance and security are also available for a flat owner without any hassle. The developer himself takes care of the prerequisites things and hands over the custody on the completion.

Following are some pointers which an investor should consider prior to making any property purchases:

• In order to secure the maximum returns in future, it is important to make one's investment at the right time, when entry costs are low • ‘Location’ is pivotal to think about while one wishes to buy land for using it for- retail, commercial or an industrial setup. It always advisable to scrutinize the area since these ventures is dependent on the immediate access to a customer bases and availability of manpower

• Evaluating the value of land over a period of five years is imperative for investors so as to measure against other land transactions in the area

• Last but not the least, to keep away from the various hazards that any investors can be exposed to while investing in land, it is always prudent to purchase developed plots from reputed developers