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Data indicate that it is the single women and not their married peers, who are more inclined towards India’s housing market, in the post-COVID-19 world. According to a recent survey by Track2Realty, 68% of single women were planning to purchase properties, after acquiring financial independence, as against only 56% of married women who think property should be their first priority. Here, we look at the aspects of home purchase that a single woman would deal with, whenever she decides to become a home owner.
Planning a property purchase
Thanks to technological innovations and its impact on the Indian real estate industry, you have a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips. With the COVID-19 pandemic giving a giant push to the sector towards digitisation, you could in fact book a home using virtual mediums, without moving out of your home.
For information-gathering purposes, you can download apps of various property brokerage firms that not only help you purchase a home but also guide you through knowledge sharing. The problem with access to this vast sea of knowledge, is that it is extremely easy to lose your way. Hence, it is crucial to decide the source from where you would obtain this knowledge and whether the learnings are in line with your own preferences and more importantly, priorities.
This brings us to the key questions that single women home buyers should ask themselves at the outset of their home purchase journey:
- What kind of locality are you looking for?
- Have you considered the level of that security this locality offers?
- Would you feel safe to travel to this location if you were to come late from work?
- Is the housing project well connected with local transportation networks?
- What is the size of the house you want?
- Are you looking for a ready-to-move-in house or an under-construction home?
- Do you have a preference, in terms of the builder’s brand?
- What kind of budget do you have?
- Do you need a home loan to make the purchase?
- If yes, how much loan can you get from a bank?
- Is there any specific bank you want to take the money from or are you okay with taking a loan from any bank that is willing to lend you the amount you want?
- Will you be able to pay your monthly expenses, as well as the home loan EMIs (equated monthly installments)?
- What tenure should you pick, to repay your home loan?
- Have you compared the rate of interest that various banks are offering to women home buyers?
- Are you aware of the various fringe costs associated with home purchases?
- Are you aware of the various benefits women buyers are entitled to in India? (You could know all about it through our guide on this)
- Are you aware of the various jargons that brokers, builders and banks use, in the course of property transactions?
- Are you aware of the stamp duty and registration charges to get the property transferred in your name?
- Are you aware of the circle rate in the area where you have selected the property?
- Are you aware of the various protocols that a buyer has to follow during property registration?
Irrespective of its overwhelming monetary impact, home purchases are mostly driven by emotions. The sentimental value notwithstanding, you are advised to think logically and find rational answers to the above questions, before you move to the next stage.
Site visits: Factors that women buyers must consider
Property is a physical asset and irrespective of the progress technology has made, the buyer would eventually have to visit the site, to get a proper idea about the property they would want to call their homes. If you have shortlisted some properties and are now proceeding with the site visits, here are some tips for you:
Take a friend or family member along: Most builders these days arrange cabs which pick you up and drop you at your doorstep after showing you the property. Ensure that you take along with you, a friend or family member for two reasons. First, another pair of eyes would help you look at the property more critically. Secondly, as you and your broker may have to visit localities that you may not be familiar with, it would be better for someone to accompany you.
Check the model house, if it is an under-construction property: Do ask to be shown a model flat, to get an idea of what a finished apartment will look like. A model apartment is designed to showcase the property in the best way possible but not always in the way you will use it. Nevertheless, it will help you to think about where to place closets and what size beds you plan to use, in order to understand if the apartment is designed to your liking.
Check out the neighbourhood: Drive around the neighbourhood and speak to the people who already live there, to see if everything you need on a day-to-day basis is easily available. Ask around, to ensure that the neighbourhood is safe even at night. If you do not own your own transport, check if safe transport options are available at all times of the day.
Bargain: Most builders charge a higher per-sq-ft rate than the circle rates. Do not hesitate to bargain to get a more reasonable amount. When speaking to the marketing person, insist on getting a break-up of the various charges in the final cost.
The purchasing stage: Check the paperwork
On the day of the purchase, focus on the paperwork, as this is what establishes your ownership over the asset. Ensure that you are in possession of all the papers – the sale deed (also known as title deed or conveyance deed), the occupancy certificate, the share certificates, etc. – after the property is registered. In case you have taken a home loan, your bank will take possession of all these copies and you will be provided copies of all these documents for reference. In this case, you need to keep all home loan related documents safely in your possession. Also keep the information pertaining to all the parties involved in the transaction handy, as you may need to get in touch with them for some work or other, in future.
Dos and don’ts for women property buyers after moving in
While there are numerous things you would want to do with your newly-acquired asset, it is, however, advisable to stay put for a while and make do with the things you already have. Considering that there will be new bills that you will need to pay, it would be better to gauge the impact of those expenses on your monthly income.
As a property owner, you will now be paying an annual property tax. You will also have to pay an annual EMI towards the home loan insurance, in case you have opted for it. Your housing society will also demand a monthly maintenance charge from you. You may also be required to pay a monthly parking charge for your vehicle.
Hence, start decorating the home, only after a couple months, when you feel comfortable making new purchases without straining your monthly income. Even then, give more importance to essentials, rather than luxuries. This is because your home may also present several unexpected expenses and you need to be ready to face these.
How can a single woman afford a house?
When buying a house, a single woman should opt for a unit that is not too big, while also considering future needs. One can also take a home loan to make it more affordable.
How much money should a woman make, to buy a house?
Financial advisers suggest that one should not spend more than 28% of one’s monthly income on housing expenses and a maximum of 36% towards servicing all loans.