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Tips for First-time Homebuyers Author :Rishabh Siroya, Founder of Legend Siroya and President-Elect NAREDCO NextGen

Buying a new home is a major decision that almost everyone takes at least once in their life. If you are buying your own home for the first time, you will feel an emotional high as never before. First time homebuyers are enthusiastic and full of joie-de-vivre. That feeling of pride and satisfaction on receiving the keys to your own dwelling is unparalleled.

But, not surprisingly, you may approach the project with some trepidation. After all, it is a major financial commitment; and one of the biggest you’ll ever make. If you are applying for a housing loan — as most people do nowadays — you may have to pay the EMIs for several years. You will naturally wonder about your repayment capacity over this period, and whether you are making a sound investment. There are myriad factors to ponder over, and you will need to do proper research and analysis. I am glad to share some useful tips and suggestions before you take the final plunge.

First, make sure that you are financially ready to buy your own home. Begin saving early, much before you actually decide to start the buying process. You may be eligible for a housing loan — you will need to check this with your banker or a financial institution — but even so, the loan will typically cover about 80% of the cost of the property. You will need to make down payment of about 20%, so you must have the capacity to be able to release that amount of money as soon as you zero in on a home that you like. Therefore, make an early decision on the amount that you can actually spend on a home, and whether you can make down payment of about 20% of that amount. And also keep in mind that after you get possession, you will have to make regular maintenance payments and may wish to spend on the interior décor.

When you apply for a loan, you credit scores will play a major role for the bank or financial institution to make a decision. Always ensure that you honour all your commitments at all times and have a favourable credit score. Do not make other major investments before you buy your home, because those needs may actually depend on the type and location of your home. Make proper enquiries with the financial institution about what documentation will be required and whether you can produce it, before you make a commitment to the developer. Ensure that the developer has cleared all the legal requirements for the construction and whether it is registered under RERA.Some large banks verify that all statutory requirements are in place before they sanction a loan. This will make your experience stress-free.

Choose a reputed developer with a good track record. See if you can get in touch with people who are living in property constructed by the developer, and be alert about potential problems. A good developer will not hesitate to let you know which properties he has constructed and who has invested in those properties.

Many people feel that they should book a home because it is a wise investment. That is true; but it will be even wiser to plan beforehand what you are buying the home for. Are you planning to move in and live there? Or are you planning to rent out the property and recover your investment? These factors will influence the location, amenities, neighbourhood, infrastructure cost andoverheads of the property you invest in. If you are concerned about the environment, try to invest in ‘green property’, which is construction that uses less energy, water and natural resources and offers environment-friendly, healthy living. A green building optimizes on the utilisation of local resources and reduces power, water and other material costs.

Buying a home for the first time signifies a new milestone in life’s journey. It is an emotionally intense affair, with the trappings of love, excitement, and curiosity all woven into the experience. If you embark on the project wisely and with the right attitude, the experience can be highly rewarding. On the other hand, a purchase made in haste without much thought can bring on problems and even be difficult to dispose of. Take your time and consider all factors before you invest in the property. Take baby steps at first, before you take the giant leap of committing your funds

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