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A Home of her own
January 11, 2013 COMMENT comment
     
A HOME OF HER OWN
By Niku Sidhu
 
 
Globally, owning a home is not as high on the priority list as it is to us desis. Notice how we love to make it number one on our list and are advised to sink capital into a home for ourselves as soon as we pick up a job. Bad manners aside, one of the most likely questions you are going to be asked living in the city is, “Apna hai ya kiraye ka (do you own or rent?)?” It seems like a daunting task but all it takes is getting down to the basics. Here are three easy steps to your homecoming journey.
 
SELECTION
Property prices are skyrocketing in Delhi and NCR. Visiting a few potential sites will give you an idea of the prevailing rates in locations of interest, helping you narrow down an approximate value. There are some properties that have been evaluated and pre-approved by major banks. If you have earmarked a property you would like to purchase which is not on their list, give the details to the bank. The bank will check the legal standing of the builder, the building plans and the progress made by the builder. At current rates, HDFC is charging Rs 1,500; a small price to pay for a complete ‘health check’ of the builder and property. At this stage it is essential to pick a house even if it does not match your specifications to the tee. Housing and housing needs keep evolving and subsequently one can recycle the first property and upgrade to a newer, better, and more likeable one.

FINDING THE RIGHT LOAN
There are two key costs that you need to understand before taking any loan: Fixed or floating interest rate and processing fee. There are a lot of attractive offers around the festive season. Keep an eye for those and then compare them to take the best informed decision. Currently, SBI is offering the cheapest home loan rates at 9.75 per cent. Processing fees have been halved if home loan is availed before December 31. If you are looking to buy a house, get your loan sanctioned during this period. A loan sanction letter is valid for loan disbursement up to three months. The processing fee has been cut to 0.125 per cent for loans up to Rs 25 lakh, or Rs 1,000, whichever is more. This means if you take a home loan of Rs 25 lakhs, you will have to pay a processing fee of Rs 3,125. The bank is also offering a flat processing fee of Rs 1,000 for switching loans. If you are looking at moving your home loan from one lender to another, this may be the right time for you. When switching the loan, take into account the cost of switching. Getting a lower interest rate is important, but also look at the processing, legal and documentation charges of the new lender. Only if you are saving money after taking into account all charges should you go for changing lenders. Surprisingly, till some years ago, banks were reluctant to provide loans to single women, fearing loss of income after marriage. Today, this perception has changed with women continuing to pursue their careers after marriage. Stamp duty at 5 per cent in Delhi is lower for women. Banks and builders are joining hands to make housing accessible and affordable. In one of the appreciable innovations last year, realty firm BPTP joined hands with private sector lender HDFC to finance new purchases of houses at just 5.99 per cent for a limited period till December 31, 2011. Currently, there is a cash-back facility on EMIs paid where the lender rewards you for ontime payment.

LIST OF DOCUMENTS
A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove you don’t need it,” said Bob Hope. To prove that, you need to submit a whole lot of documents to the bank when applying for a home loan. Here’s a list of the essential documents:

*
Three months’ salary slips as proof of income and employment to calculate eligibility. In case of self-employed individuals, banks ask for profit and loss statement instead.

*Form 16 from your employer and income tax returns for the last three years. In case of self-employed individuals, banks want last three years’ copies of income-tax returns you have filed.

*Six months’ bank account statement to verify expenses and pending loans, if any. This gives the bank a chance to judge your fiscal discipline and investment portfolio.

*Address and identity proof, such as ration card, passport card, voter’s identity card or driving licence.

*Four passport-size photographs

*Credit report: Banks have an internal credit checking system they access when a loan application is filed. If you have a copy of your credit report with you and have a high credit score, you can negotiate better with the bank. Any mistakes can be rectified too.

*Names and addresses of two guarantors. Even while looking for a home, give your documents to the bank to get a sanction for the maximum home loan you can be granted. The amount is arrived at after given variables like age and income are evaluated. Since the tenure of the loan is typically 20 to 25 years, most applicants are under the age of 50. If you are over 50, make your daughter or son a coapplicant for higher loan eligibility and tenure.

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