Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Tips for first time home buyers

Looking for your first house can be an overwhelming experience. It is one of the biggest financial commitments of your life and you want to ensure you’re not making a mistake at every step. However, the information overload can sometimes leave you lost and confused. From finding the ideal location, square footage required to getting a loan, the process seems never-ending. With these tips in mind, your home buying process could become a bit smoother.

Before the purchase

Location vs space 
While beginning to look for a house, it is important to consider your budget limitations and the kind of space you require. For example, if you have a large family or are planning any future changes like the birth of a child, elders moving in, etc. you might need a larger house, in which case a  house in the outskirts or suburbs will suit your budget more. You also need to consider other factors like distance from workplace, school etc. while making a decision on the location of the house.

Credit rating
It is extremely disheartening to spot your perfect home, only to realize that you don’t have the required credit rating to qualify for the purchase. Check your credit rating beforehand to know how much loan you qualify for, so you can make a decision accordingly.

Other costs involved
Buying the house is only the beginning. The cost of maintaining that house and paying off your loan is something many people do not account for. Be realistic about what you can afford and make a choice about the house accordingly.

Help you can trust
A good real estate agent can really be of great help in the home buying process. However, it is important to find a trustworthy agent who will not bail out on you if things go wrong and who will give you the right kind of advice. Fix on one based on recommendations from friends and family.

The buying process
Once you’ve decided to take the plunge and begin the house hunting process, you need to sort out a few things:

Shop for financing options
Speak to different banks and financing institutions and find out the most suitable option for you.

Making an offer
Discuss your final offer for any particular house with your agent who will in turn present the offer to the seller’s agent. The seller could either choose to accept your offer or make a counter-offer.

Professional inspection
You may think the house you chose is flawless and perfect, but it is always recommended to get a professional to inspect the house, just to make sure there are no major issues that may have slipped your eye.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How does GST affect the real estate market?

This year has seen some major reforms, starting from demonetization to the recent GST implementation. Of these, the real estate market is likely to be most impacted by the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) Bill and the Goods and Services Tax (GST). GST, in fact, is one of the biggest tax reforms in post-independence India. By implementing a uniform taxation system, GST replaces all the previously existing indirect taxes, including VAT, service tax and excise.
The implementation of RERA has already seen a lot of positive effects in the real estate sector, increasing transparency and accountability. GST will further be a boost for property buyers because of the simplified tax structure and increased accountability at every stage. It will, however, not bring down real estate prices in the short-term.

For the buyers
  • A simple and transparent tax of 12% applied on the purchase price (excluding stamp duty and registration charges) and no GST charges on completed and ready-to-move-in projects. The previous tax system of VAT system varied from one state to the other, causing a lot of confusion, ultimately leaving the buyers at sea.
  • Real estate product cost consists typically of material cost, land cost and labor or service costs. VAT is calculated on material cost and service tax is calculated on labor cost. However, it is very difficult for buyers to ascertain which taxes were calculated for which component. With GST, there is no more confusion.
  • Housing projects which come under the affordable housing scheme will not have GST.

For the developers:
  • In the previous tax system, developers had to deal with multiple taxes including customs duty, central sales tax, excise duty, entry tax, etc. Now the entire taxation burden is borne by the home buyer.
  • Major construction materials have not seen much of a difference in the tax rate
  • Cement will be taxed higher, at 28%, compared to the previous rate of 20-24%
  • Iron rods and pillars will be charged at 18%, in and around the former average of 20%
  • Transportation and logistics costs will reduce in the GST taxation system

Although GST is not going to show any major changes in the real estate sector in the short-term, buyer sentiment is bound to improve and overall, it makes life simpler for everyone involved in the real estate sector.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Seller’s guide to home inspections

As a seller, especially if you are a first time seller, home inspections can be daunting as you never know what the outcome would be and what impact that would have on the sale price. As a seller, you are bound to be slightly biased and think that your house is in better condition than it actually is. That being said, no buyer wants to purchase a house with defects and issues and so they are going to need a detailed and honest inspection.

For the inexperienced sellers, here is how the home inspection process works:

  • The buyer places a contingent offer which the seller accepts, contingent to the house passing a certified inspection.
  • The inspection will be set for an agreed time and could last anywhere between three to five hours, depending on the size of the house.
  • Inspection is done for both the interior and exterior of the house.
  • Normal wear and tear of the house are expected and accepted if the house is a little old. The inspector is concerned with any serious issues that are a hindrance to the safety, functionality or appearance of the house.

Preparing for a home inspection
Although the upkeep of the house would depend on how it has been maintained over the years, there are a few things you can do to ensure the inspection goes smoothly for you:

Mold and mildew – This immediately attracts the attention of the inspector so you might want to get rid of any mold in the house. Check the basement and any small spaces to ensure there is no mold or mildew that the inspector could lay his eyes on

Electrical appliances – Fix any electrical item which is not working in the house like the light bulbs or fans. Ensure there are no visible cords hanging from the light fixtures. This will increase your chances of getting a favorable result.

Plumbing – This is another important area. Check for any leaks or see pages in the house. The inspector will be on the lookout for any moisture stains, the water pressure, and drainage. So ensure there are no drainage issues as well.

Clean the house – This should be a no-brainer. Make sure you hire a cleaning professional to clean the place thoroughly, as a dirty house is only going to leave a negative impact. Show the inspector and buyer that you really care for the house and have taken efforts to maintain it well.
Keeping in mind these simple things will help you get a more favorable report and hence a better price for your house.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Crucial Tips for NRIs Investing in Indian Real Estate

Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) hold the same property ownership rights in India as any Indian resident, under FEMA rules. Land can be owned as residential and commercial units, although not agricultural or forest land. However, NRIs often fall prey to quacks and fraudulent property dealings which are increasingly making them wary of investing in property in India. Buying property in India or anywhere else in the world requires a lot of due diligence by the investor, and this is especially true for NRIs. These are few questions that NRIs must ask themselves before putting their money in a property in India.

Why do you want to invest in India?
Are you looking at yielding returns from your property investment in India? In that case, it is advisable to invest in an already developed area and renting it out. The other option might be to buy equity shares of listed developers. Many NRIs also look at investing in property in India keeping in mind their future plans of settling down here. In this case, investing in a developing area would make sense.

Do you really “know” the builder?
This can’t be emphasized enough, as this is a highly fragmented market with a lot of fraudulent players in the market who promise the moon and the stars but end up delivering nothing. Do a thorough investigation of the builder/ developer you’ve chosen, go through his past records in terms of implementation, and compliance with laws. Speak to an existing or past customer of the said builder to get an honest feedback.

Where is the property located?
It is important to do a thorough check on the demographics of the property you’re looking at and ensure it is surrounded by good infrastructure. In India, where there is no guarantee of infrastructure development, where your property is located is of prime importance.

Have you done a thorough homework on the government policies?
Real estate policies in India are subject to constant change. Investing is forest or agricultural land is not an option for NRIs. One must do a thorough read-up on other policies related to property ownership and try to get an understanding of future government plans in order to take an informed decision.

Have you understood the taxation system?
For NRIs investing in property in India, it is imperative to hire a good tax attorney to understand the tax implications including TDS, rental tax, property tax, etc.

Bearing all this in mind, it is always advisable to hire a good property manager or broker to help you with all the paperwork in India, as you would be away most of the time. Plan your investment well, including a sound exit strategy to ensure a stress-free investment experience in India.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Making Coimbatore Smart

The smart city concept has been going rave in India with many developing cities coming under the radar for development as smart cities. Coimbatore is no less in this race! With great scope for development, the city has the making of being a major metro in progress! Sowparnika has residential flats in Coimbatore which are in line with state of the art design and have modern amenities. We will see this week as to how the city can be transformed into a great smart city easily.

People are at the starting point in any revolution or change and most of the people in Coimbatore being educated and willing to accept changes, starting off with door-to-door campaigns can surely help in the beginning.

According to many surveys which were conducted, the city has a vibrant growing economy, good social infrastructure, and active citizen forums which make it more viable and suitable for major changes with ease. Though there are setbacks in areas like sanitation, water infrastructure and traffic management, it can be set right be proper alignment and work.

With much open spaces and greenery available, there can be beautiful public spaces with proper allocation of finances and usage of resources.

Area based development is not a dream in a city like Coimbatore but with citizen cooperation and good planning, a vibrant economy can be established in the city.

Making the smart city project a sustainable one is highly essential. This can be done by segregating the component-wise plan to cover the operation and maintenance costs according to the need and not in excess.

Addressing traffic issues, proper channelization of available green spaces and open areas in the city and making use of the active citizen forums will surely make the city a smart one in no time!

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Nuance of Neutrals

A neutral color is typically one that does not feature on the color wheel. Shades of black, grey, and white fall under the neutral category. The most commonly used neutral colors in design are beige, grey, tan, taupe, etc. The reason they are called neutral is because they are exactly that – they go with almost everything, and make bolder colors stand out. Neutrals are a favorite among designers and never go out of style. However, choosing the right neutral shade to incorporate in your design is also very important.

One of the main criteria to consider while choosing a neutral for your walls is the lighting in the room. White lights, incandescent lights and fluorescent lights could all bring out totally different colors from your beige walls, for instance. So figure out how the lighting plays with the color you’re choosing before fixing on it.  It could make or break the look you’re aiming for.

While deciding on a neutral shade, it is important to understand the usage and functionality of the particular room. Different shades suit different purposes and bring out different moods. Warm colors like beige, tan and similar colors look great in the living room, whereas cooler colors like greys and off-white suit bathrooms. Of course, this is not a hard and fast rule but choosing the right color for the right space makes a lot of difference in creating the required ambience.

If you are looking at the wall painting activity as a fairly long-term one, you’d do well to steer clear of trending colors, as they can turn obsolete just as quickly as they became a trend. Stick to evergreen shades and colors which are versatile and flexible for experimentation.

Some of the lovely neutrals you can consider for your new apartment in Bangalore are:

  • Ecru
  • Blonde
  • Escape grey
  • Beige
  • Baguette
  • Harmonic Tan
  • Netsuke

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The importance of site visits

The idea of buying a house is certainly appealing and while we tend to focus more on the finished house, the process of buying a house needs a lot of attention, and multiple steps to be followed in order to ensure that you’re not being fooled. A lot of builders in Bangalore offer site visits to interested candidates.

A site visit is an essential step in the home buying process. It not only gives you a realistic picture of how you can expect your potential home to look, but it also gives you an idea about the neighborhood, developments in and around the project site, the approach to the building, etc.

Frequent site visits after purchase of the house is also recommended to keep a check on the project
progress and to gauge whether the builder is delivering as promised. A home buyer who had recently bought a flat in one of the upcoming residential apartments in Karnataka had made sure that the house was completely vaastu compliant. However, as the construction progressed, he noticed a change in the master plan. Many such deviations can be identified at an early stage through regular site visits.

To put it more objectively, a site visit helps keep a check on the following:

  • Genuineness of claims made by the builder
  • Timely progress of the project
  • The quality of construction 
  • Amenities provided 

Although there are various virtual technologies available now that gives you a detailed look inside your flat from your seat, without actually visiting the site, it is strongly recommended that you pay regular physical visits. This will go a long way in ensuring that you are getting what you signed up for. Now you can book a site visit instantly to any of the Sowparnika properties from our app and we will take it upon ourselves to show you around.