From early childhood the sense of home, big or small, has been close to everyone’s heart. When asked at schools where do you live, the first thought that comes to your mind is a pictorial image of your home and then the person puts it into the address, given by the local civic authorities . As you tend to grow older and move places and relocate because of several reasons such as, education, work, marriage etc., the feeling of belongingness the childhood home pertains, lingers over time. The phrase “home is where the heart is” is something we use very often, but the expression discerns that the home is something that is both desirable and resides in our mind, rent free. Owning a home is something everyone dreams of, just like our first job, our first car, buying a home is one of the largest investments in our lives, and thus it requires thorough understanding of various aspects and requires careful planning and due diligence. Therefore, you shouldn’t really rush into blocking and buying the property as the decision will impact your overall family, life, and finances.
Here are some top tips for home buyers:
Decide the budget
First and foremost thing an interested home buyer should do is to set a concrete budget as that plays a major role in the type of property and location. Mostly everyone wants a high-end property in posh locality but there is a possibility that it might not fit in the budget. Looking at properties outside your budget will not only be a waste of time, but might also lead to disinterest in other properties because high-end properties are more luxurious and spacious, making other properties look not so attractive . Therefore, it is pivotal to know the budget and then start the viewing process. There can be numerous ways to set the budget but you can get an idea of it by using a home loan eligibility calculator which helps identify the maximum eligible home loan amount, with breakdown of monthly repayments (EMI), interest, and tenure. The rule of thumb suggests that you should not be paying more than 40% of your take home income towards loans. As a best practice, try to keep the loan tenure as short as possible as cumulative interest payment on long term loans is very high. Therefore, the type of home loan, savings, and take home income plays a huge role in deducing the budget for the new home.
Type of the property
Budget being the primary parameter significantly impacts the type of property you should look at. In tier 1 cities mostly people will look at apartments, whereas in tier 2 cities you can look at bungalows as well. Other factors that impact the type of property is the number of family members, parents, and children. Another thing to consider is, if you are buying a home for investment or for living, as the latter would require a more futuristic approach in terms of family planning, elders in the family etc. Whereas, if you are buying it as an investment then you need to think from the perspective of tenants belonging to the target group and then consider buying the property.
Size of the property
An interested home buyer should diligently check how the developer is calculating the quoted price. Sometimes developers might include the construction cost of common areas such as, lifts, lobby, stairs, stilt floors, wall thickness, mezzanine area etc. This inflated specification which includes common areas is known as super built-up area, which is mostly 30% greater than the actual area usable for the homeowner, known as the carpet area of the house. Therefore, you should always check dimensions of the bedrooms, kitchen, lobby, balcony etc, to understand the actual area you will be able to use. This understanding will give you more power to negotiate with the developer and also get a good bargain, henceforth.
Location of the property
Post deciding the type and size of the property, another important factor is to choose the right location. In big cities where commute time is fairly long, you have to look at properties within the proximity of work place, distance from public transport such as train and metro stations, bus stations, express highways etc., schools in the vicinity, closeness to markets, and the type of neighbourhood. Since travel to office and school will be a part of daily routine, a home should be strategically located. For instance, you might feel the need to be at a picturesque and scenic location but if it is too far away from the office, you will not be able to enjoy it completely the way you intended to, as the commute may not leave you with enough time to unwind with your family. Similarly, if it is not close to school, you might just miss out on several milestones of your kids and you will spend most of the time trying to balance on the tightrope of personal and professional front.
You should check the kind of amenities offered along with the house. Nowadays most of the apartment complexes are equipped with a club house, swimming pools, gymnasium, park, carpark, clubs etc. If you are buying a home for living then you might want to prioritise these amenities based on family structure, for example, in case you have kids, a park would be an added perk. On the other hand, if you are buying the property for investment purposes, then note that these amenities add to the resale potential of the property.
Reputation of the builder
Real-estate is a hard-selling business off late and the Government has put several regulations in place to organise the real-estate sector. However, we are still in the beginning phase of organising the industry, therefore, it is imperative to check the credentials of the builder. Before buying a property do your due diligence in terms of checking the track record of the builder and whether it has delivered past projects on time, maintained construction style and quality, and provided amenities that were promised Also, while checking the builder record, look at other projects that are currently under construction, builder’s market goodwill, reviews and testimonials of previous clients. Most of the builders will probably show the interested buyers a decked-up sample flat, whereas you should check the quality of construction of the respective flat the buyer is interested in. You should thoroughly inspect the kind of flooring, bathroom fixtures and fittings, window frames and balcony railings etc. And to further mitigate the risks, you can go for a house that is ready to move in rather than booking a flat in the property that is under construction.
Once the buyer is through with most of the points mentioned above and have decided on the property, it's not the time to rush. As this decision will impact your overall family, future life, and expenses, understand the fine prints, clauses, penalties and its implications before giving away the token amount. You should calculate additional expenses like GST, registration fees, home loan processing charges, etc, and also figure out any hidden charges that have been implied and are not mentioned in the deal. Check the delivery date, buffer period, and grace period, as any further delay in possession from the set periods will hold the builder liable to compensate the buyer. Note that the above pointers are also interdependent and shouldn’t impact the decision in isolation. The process of buying a home can be daunting, but if you follow the tips and prudently verify all terms and conditions it will help in making an informed and safe investment, thus making the first home purchase an experience to remember.