Property Plus

A checklist for women buyers

According to catalyst.org, a research-based knowledge resource on gender, leadership, and inclusive leadership in the world, 24 per cent of women in urban India today are in the pipeline for senior executive posts (from managerial to directorial positions).

Thirty per cent of such women are equal earning members or breadwinners in a nuclear family and consider a self-owned house to be the biggest anchor in their lives, which then becomes the very basis of their life decisions. It is not surprising that women with higher disposable incomes comprise a fifth of the home buying population in the country and are only expected to grow over the next decade.

As education and choice of work take women away from their home towns, property investment becomes a way of building long term stability for themselves. This trend is largely visible as women choose to settle in metropolitan cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Chennai. Increasingly, this trend is also visible in Tier II cities such as Chandigarh, Lucknow, Jaipur, Raipur, and Mysore.

A matter of choice

Single women who have migrated to bigger cities tend to be thorough in their research and base their property purchase on factors such as high safety and security in the neighbourhood.

The average size of an apartment women prefer ranges from 500 to 800 sq.ft. (in metros) as they often attach greater importance to security rather than the size of the home. Women prefer investing in properties that have functional security solutions and alarms in place, and are willing to pay a premium for the same.

Other factors that influence their purchase decision are apartments with multi-purpose spaces, entertainment and fitness facilities in the vicinity, proximity to railway stations, airport, and taxi stands.

Special Concessions

Recognising the trend of more women buyers entering the real estate market, both the developer community as well as lending institutions have special concessions for women. For instance, in states such as Delhi and Haryana stamp duty for women is 1-2 per cent lower than that for a man purchasing property.

Lenders who often view women as better customers as they tend to be more regular with timely repayments have a spate of women oriented loans where the rate of interest offered to a woman purchasing a property is 0.25-0.50 per cent lower than regular home loan products. Further, women are eligible for a tax deduction of up to Rs. 2 lakh on the interest paid on home loans.

While women home buyers are certainly sought after and given obvious advantages, a woman in pursuit of a property, must conduct thorough due diligence before making the final deal. If you are a lady planning to buy to your first property, here are some things to keep in mind.

Plan your finances

The first thing that to consider while taking a home loan is affordability. A mortgage should be well planned for and invested for through proper investments (the down payment component). At the beginning a career consider equity investments. It is prudent to seek the advice of a financial planner who will give you the right direction to invest according to your investment goal.

Ideally your home loan EMI should not exceed more than 35-40 per cent of your take home salary. Just because you are taking a home loan does not mean that you can compromise with your current financial plan. Your investments towards a retirement plan and meet other financial goals that you had set earlier. Also ensure that you have a contingency fund in place that will take care of your home loan EMIs and other expenses for a period of three to six months, just in case your regular cash flow were to get interrupted due to some unforeseen circumstances.

Don’t overstretch yourself

Your home loan should not ideally exceed 40 per cent of your salary. If your affordability does not allow to purchase the apartment you have set your heart on, do not stretch beyond your means.

If that means waiting for a while, and investing for a longer time, do so and do not be in a hurry to purchase property. Else, you could consider investing in a smaller apartment for the time being. A smaller flat may seem like a compromise, but it nevertheless provides the firm footing that you are looking for in life.

Pick lender after scrutiny

As mentioned earlier, there are quite a number of loan products that are directed towards women. For the first level of research go online and make a comparison of all the loan products that seem suitable to your needs.

With many online aggregators, the features of each loan product should be fairly simple to assess. Once your online research is complete and you have a shortlist, make a personal visit to the bank branch and speak to the sales representative to fully understand the features of the loan product you are interested in.

Finally, before you make the loan application, check whether your CIBIL score is satisfactory (above 750 out of 900). Further, check your CIBIL report for errors. An error that you haven’t spotted in a while may be dragging down your CIBIL score. In case your CIBIL report does have an error, raise a dispute with CIBIL and wait till it is rectified before you make your application.

Choose a credible builder

Conduct several rounds of due diligence before finally shortlisting a project. Your first level of research should be done online, that will give you a fair idea of what to expect.

Try and contact real home owners and check out the pros and cons of the property you are interested in. It is a good idea to opt for the services of an honest broker with adequate experience. Scouting around locally will lead you to good brokers who could you find the property that is best suited to your needs.

The writer is AVP-Marketing, Tata Housing

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 9:21:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/homes-and-gardens/A-checklist-for-women-buyers/article16077728.ece

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