Important tips for first time home buyers

Congratulations! Now that you have decided to take that all-important first step towards purchasing your long-dreamt of asset – your first home – it’s time to look into all the details with a magnifying glass. It is no doubt an exciting prospect, but it can be overwhelming too, if you do not walk into the loan buying process adequately armed.

Let us quickly walk through the must-dos that every first time home buyer should evaluate before signing on the dotted line.

Check your credit score – A very critical aspect of the home buying process, this vital piece of information can often be the reason for your application to be reviewed favourably or otherwise. A high credit score typically translates into a loan at the most competitive terms, and can mean that over the long term you wind up saving a significant chunk of money. It would therefore be prudent to do a cibil score check and call for a copy of your credit report and know where you stand and if required, take adequate steps to better your score.

Select your home loan provider – There are quite a few lenders out there, be it banks or other financial institutions. Do your homework and select a lender that closely matches your thoughts and philosophies. This is because you will be associated with the lender for a reasonable amount of time (given that home loan tenures are rather lengthy) and you want to work with a lender that offers you comfort and impeccable customer service.

Avoid overspending – Know what you can comfortably afford, and stick to it. While it may seem a dream come true to have that 5 bedroom apartment you always wanted, remember that it comes at a cost – not only do you have to pay your EMI each month, but you likely have other commitments that need to be met as well. Hence, keep it real and buy a house that you can comfortably afford at the time.

Determine your loan eligibility – Prior to applying for a loan, run a quick check to roughly determine the loan amount you would be offered basis your current financial standing. This can easily be done using a number of tools such as a home loan calculator that are available online.

Know the interest rate – Given the sheer number of years you are likely to spend repaying this loan, compare home loans and see how much the property is going to cost you.

Know the paperwork – You should understand in depth the formalities to be followed, both at this stage and throughout the life cycle of the loan and home buying process. This will include valuation and verification checks carried out by the loan provider. Check that all legal documentation is in place. This includes the title and search report, development agreement, Power of Attorney (if applicable), commencement certificate, approved sanction plan from the relevant authority, occupation certificate, NOC etc.

Identify properties – As per your requirement, select properties that you believe you would be interested in. Shortlist/ narrow down prospective properties and focus on those. Meet with the builder (in case of under construction/ new construction) or the present home owner (in case of resale property) to view the property. If selected, make an offer and negotiate the sale amount. The seller (in case of a resale property) may have a particular price in mind. Once you have a fair idea of the value of the property, make an offer to the seller. Have the home appraised and inspected to ensure everything is in place structurally.

Check property documentation – You would need to thoroughly examine the documentation available with the seller, to ensure you are legally in the right. For example, in case of a resale property, the title deeds including the previous chain of documents, copy of the agreement to sell (if already executed between the buyer and seller) etc. are required for loan processing.

Consider the resale value – While they say that property always tends to appreciate, you ought to prepare yourself for any eventuality. Hence, when you buy a house also do factor in its resale value, and whether you are likely to be able to sell it easily, or would it take more time to liquidate.

Property registration – Once the sale has gone through, you would have to sign the sale deed and complete the related registration formalities (including payment towards stamp duty, etc.). Remember that property registration is a must under Section 17 of the Indian Registration Act, 1908. Determine the stamping requirements (as a percentage of the value of the property) and pay the registration charges for a sale deed. In case of a new property being purchased directly from the developer, the developer will convey the title in the name of the society. In case of resale property, then NOC from the society is required. When the sale deed is executed, before handing over complete payment to the seller, all title documents need to be collected from the buyer.

In conclusion

Let your home buying process be a pleasant experience, with no glitches to bog you down. It is therefore important to do all your groundwork thoroughly before proceeding with the purchase.

Remember that as with all loans, here too a good credit score is very important, and hence being credit healthy is one of the starting points to make buying smoother.

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