INDIA  :   Real Estate

Tips for first-time homebuyers in India

Saturday , 30 January 2016

Here is a close look at what goes into buying your first home

Buying a home is a challenging task. It is a bigger task especially, if you are an NRI. Right from choosing the right home, to applying for a home loan, everything requires time and energy. Here is a checklist of the whole process:


Every expert will tell you that deciding on a budget is the first step to home-buying. It is the factor that determines where you can buy and how much (of area) you can buy. The easiest way to do this is by checking your loan eligibility. In case, your spouse and you are planning to purchase jointly, you need to check your respective loan eligibility. Plus, you need to figure out how much you can shell out as down-payment or will you need loans for the same. Calculate how much you can afford to pay as EMI, after meeting all your expenses and investment plans. As you get a fair idea of your budget, you can start looking around.

Money matters

As soon as you know the amount you can get as home loan, start comparing the rates offered by different financial institutions. This is called home loan shopping. Nowadays, many nationalized banks like Union Bank, Bank Of India, State Bank of India and others are reaching out to NRIs through schemes and offices situated at different locations. In case, a single woman is the principal borrower, she is eligible for a slight concession of 0.5 or 1%.


Keep your paperwork ready so that you can expedite the process without extra stress. Some of the documents required by salaried NRIs, who are employed in foreign firms are: a duly filled application form with photograph, proof of age (PAN card/passport/birth certificate), proof of residence (driving license/passport/ration card), educational qualifications, work permit, latest three salary slips, passport copy or PIO card, bank statements, income statements and appointment letter from employer.


As soon as you have decided on a budget, you can decide on what to buy. One of the best ways of checking out properties is through web portals, especially if you live abroad. Following this, you can ask a friend or relative to personally visit and check out the property, and give you a feedback. In many cases, house-hunting is done by relatives/parents, and the buyers just come to finalise the deal. Besides checking out adverts, getting references from friends and acquaintances is also helpful. If you are going through brokers, opt for a reputed one, who has a good track record. However, personally inspecting properties is always recommended, as another’s idea of a ‘perfect place’ might not match yours. Factor in connectivity, surrounding infrastructure, civic amenities, lifestyle options, reputation of the developer, quality of construction and recreational facilities before you finalise the deal. Find out about costs like monthly maintenance, parking charges and property management fees, if any.

Quality check

External factors like location, connectivity, civic and lifestyle amenities determine the choice of a home. At the same time, one needs to be vigilant about the quality of construction. Ensure that all safety measures are in place and that the building follows the basic norms of green living. If possible, hire an architect to inspect the property of your choice. It will reduce stress by clearing your doubts.

Negotiation process

Once you decide on a place within your budget, getting it for a little lesser always feel great. Here are a few tips …

  1. A buyer needs to be aware of the prices in the neighbourhood, to bargain with a seller. Do a recce on property rates in the vicinity and if there is something that’s priced lesser, directly speak with your seller and discuss it.
  2. Don’t display extreme eagerness to buy. Keep your emotions in check. On many occasions, we don’t want to let go of a dream home but it is best not to exhibit overzealousness before the seller.
  3. Convey to your seller that, you are ready with the money. In today’s times when liquidity is a huge issue for developers, no one wants to let go of a client who pays upfront, so use that to your advantage.
  4. In case your friend or relative has bought a place in the same complex/building, use the reference to strike a better deal.

Check documentation

Once, you have finalised a particular apartment/home and are set to purchase it, here are some documents you must check with the seller/builder:

  1. Sale Deed: This is the key document that shows that a property has been transferred from a seller to a buyer. A sale deed needs to be registered.
  2. Clear Title: The land on which a property is constructed should be free of litigation. A developer needs clear ownership of the place. This can be verified by getting a property cross-checked at the registrar’s office.
  3. Building approval plan: This means the building is constructed as per the laws and by-laws of the place and does not flout any rules of the municipal corporation. It also verifies that the building is in a free zone that’s not under coastal or forest area.
  4. Commencement Certificate: In case someone is buying under construction property, this document shows that the developer has followed every protocol before starting construction work.
  5. Khata Certificate and Khata Extract: This comes from the registrar’s office and is extremely crucial for transfer of property, later on.
  6. Completion Certificate: This is issued by the municipal authorities to verify that the building complies with regulations in terms of height, road and construction laws and by-laws. This is a mandatory and important document required, while seeking a home loan and buying property.
  7. Occupancy Certificate (for a constructed property): This certificate is obtained after the completion of construction. It is also important for seeking a home loan.

A buyer needs to get these documents cross-checked by a lawyer or advocate before buying a property.