Look before you leap

FOR A DREAM HOME

Look before you leap

While looking at the larger picture of buying the perfect house, home buyers often tend to make a few common errors. So, it is important to keep a stable head on those shoulders and think every decision through thoroughly, before signing on the dotted line, writes Ruth Dsouza Prabhu

When you step over the threshold of your new home, one of the first things you do is breathe a huge sigh of relief. The enormous effort that goes into choosing a home and the process it entails can drain you out completely. But then, somewhere at the back of your mind, lingers a thought: perhaps, you may have not thought this decision through – or that there may be a small, but vital, aspect of the house that needs your attention. The worries are many. 
There are quite a few common mistakes that people make when buying a home. These may even happen to the second-time home buyer. These common mistakes can easily be avoided with a certain level of foresight and planning. It is important to keep a stable head on those shoulders and think every decision through thoroughly. 

Untangle from emotions
Of course, buying a home is an emotional decision as much as it is a financial one. But, sometimes, we tend to let our emotions get the better of us. For starters, we are a nation that makes its decisions as a family. Often you have relatives pressurising you to buy a home simply because others in the extended family have. Some may want you to buy a home in the same building or locality that they have bought a home in – “simply to be closer”. Others may tell you of a fantastic deal a “builder friend” has to offer.

These reasons may not always be the right ones to base your home-buying decision on.

You do not have to disregard the wishes of your relatives at any point. Take in all the suggestions and evaluate each one of them in perspective of the home you are looking at. Sit down with your family and evaluate their needs, before you make a decision. Any other factor will have to come second to your own needs. 
Do not compromise

Once you have narrowed down on a locality or a project, you may go house-hunting. It is quite possible that you may not find all that you are looking for in a single apartment or independent house. The flooring might not suit your taste, the direction of the flat might not be as per vastu, the room might not have that balcony view you’ve been craving for... Many home buyers tend to knock off a few of these priorities, simply because the home matches most other criteria. It may also happen that a broker paints a rosier picture and you are taken in by the smooth talk and are willing to let go of some important elements. 
If you find that a few of the important factors for a home are missing and you are willing to compromise, take a step back. Evaluate the reasons you are willing to drop these elements, if at all, and see where it stands on your priority list. Only then make a decision. Hold on for a day or so and check out other homes in the vicinity. If you do not find something better, check with the builder on what he can do to include some of your requirements. In most cases, builders are willing to make reasonable adjustments. 

Don’t over-stretch budget
This tends to happen to the best of us. You may have settled on a budget and are now in the process of acquiring your home, but suddenly there’s this feeling that you could do with an additional feature. This will start eating into your budget.

Or perhaps, you may get taken in by advertisements or glib salesmen, who tell you that for a little bit more, you may get a few more features for your home. The “little bit more”, is, of course, debatable and you may end up spending much more than you anticipated.
Get a pre-approved loan within the budget you think you are comfortable with. This limits your scope of over-spending unnecessarily. If you are faced with some new features that you think you may want, evaluate them and see if they make sense in the long run or if they are simply embellishments that will not give you any value-addition. 
Get a home loan insurance
Home loan insurance is bundled into your EMI and will take it up a bit. Since it is an optional feature, many home owners tend to skip it. This is a mistake quite a few prospective home owners tend to make.
Home loan insurance covers your family, should something happen to you - the primary loan recipient. EMIs will continue to be paid for your family, securing their future. You will also gain tax benefits from this and will be able to get life cover as well with the policy. Always opt for home loan insurance.
Anticipate development

There are a few other common oversights that may occur when you set out to buy a home. This, especially, tends to happen in upcoming areas where you find some great apartments and deals. You may begin with an apartment with a fabulous view and ventilation, but a few years down the line, you will find that you are completely boxed in by the construction around. It is best to do your research on upcoming development and infrastructural growth in your chosen locality.
Factor in the costs
The expenses do not end with the EMI that you pay every month. In an apartment, you also have to factor in the maintenance charges you will need to pay on a regular basis. You will also be paying property taxes. These are expenses that many of us fail to factor into our financial planning. When you are planning to invest in a home, review every possible expense, before, during and after the process of purchase that you will be liable for. A home is a liability; sufficient and continual financial planning might help take the bad surprises out of the proceedings.



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