8 Most Useful Tips on Buying A Home For The First Time

Are you planning on buying a home for the first time?

You are at the right webpage. I have compiled a list of the 8 most helpful tips for first-time homebuyers. These 8 tips will help you get started on your search for a perfect home.

If you are buying a home for the first time you need to know about these 8 topics:

  1. Carpet area Vs built-up area Vs super built-up area
  2. Difference between a highrise and a lowrise
  3. Finances and bank loan eligibility
  4. The role of a good property dealer
  5. Investing in ready to move vs under-construction property
  6. Extra charges in the purchase of a property
  7. The legal status of the property
  8. The importance of location

The first question to confront when you begin your house hunting is to decide what type of a house do you want ?

Do you want to purchase an apartment or a plot? or do you want an independent house or an apartment?

This choice will keep changing as you see properties but it is important to be clear at an early stage or else you will become confused and end up making the wrong decision.

Once you have decided on the type of house the following 8 tips will prove to be super useful:

1. Carpet area Vs built-up area Vs super built-up area

Real estate terminology can easily overwhelm a first-time homebuyer.

It is important to get acquainted with these terms otherwise you will not be able to compare different properties properly.

Some of the most basic terms that one will encounter while searching a house will be carpet area, built-up area, and the super-built-up area. 

Let’s take a look at all these different terms one by one.

Carpet area: Area that is enclosed within the walls of a flat. In other words, it is the area on which we can lay out a carpet inside the house.

This area does not include the thickness of the inner walls and is the actual area that can be used in an apartment.

The carpet area does not include the area of the balcony, lift, lobby, the width of the inner walls, etc.

The built-up (covered area) area includes the carpet area, the inner wall area, and the balconies. I feel that it is the best indicator of a flat’s true worth.

I am a firm believer that balconies add a lot of value to the house. I have written a blog titled 9 reasons to buy an apartment with bigger balconies that explains why covered areas and balconies are useful.

The Super built-up area of an apartment is the built-up area plus respective share of the lobby, corridor, staircases, generator domes, Clubhouse, security rooms, and other common areas in society. Walkways, swimming pools, flower beds, and gardens are not included in this area. 

2. Difference between a highrise and a lowrise

 High riseLow rise
PriceExpensive than lowriseCheaper than highrise
Area of the apartmentBigger area apartmentsLow rise apartments are usually smaller
AmenitiesMore amenitiesLess amenities
PrivacyOffers better privacyLesser privacy
VentilationBetter ventilationVentiltaion could be an issue
ParksMandatory parkssmaller sized if at all available
ParkingBasement or stilt or openCovered parking on ground floor
Power back upMandatory Not available in all 
Construction timeLonger periodSmaller period

Knowing the advantages and disadvantages between a lowrise and a highrise is essential when buying a home for the first time. The above table compares the two properties although the table may vary from region to region.

I recommend the reader to read my comparison of the best low-rise properties in Zirakpur. This blog will give you a very good idea of what to expect from a low-rise property.

A low-rise property is one that includes 4 or 5 floors. A mid-rise may include up to 10 floors and a high-rise property will have more than 10 floors.

If you are buying a flat in a high-rise building, choosing the floor of your choice can be a bit confusing. Some of the points you need to consider while buying a flat in a high rise building are:

  • Views from different floors: Higher the floor better the view
  • Rental returns: Ground floors fetches the highest rental
  • Privacy: higher floors offer better privacy because only the flat owners travel to the higher floors
  • Air conditioning: The highest floors require more air conditioning than the lower floors
  • Ventilation: Upper floors enjoy better ventilation than the lower floors
  • Fear of heights: Check if anyone in the family suffers from a fear of heights

RELATED POST : 6 Home Buying Tips for Families with Young Kids

3. Finances and bank loan eligibility

8 tips on Buying a home for the first time
8 tips on Buying a home for the first time

The majority of people buying a home for the first time finance their purchase via a bank loan.

It is important for homebuyers to understand the concepts of down payment, tax benefits on home loans, and EMI per lac according to the current rate.

Usually, Banks finance up to 80% of the value of the house but in some cases, it can be as high as even 90%. The rest will be self contributed by the home buyer in the form of a down payment.

The rates and terms differ from person to person depending on banks and Cibil scores.

Here are some things you should know about home loans while buying a home for the first time:

  • Know the right time to start looking for a property. Your CIBIL score is an important tool that the banks utilize for checking out your eligibility as a potential borrower. Get a loan pre-approved before heading out to search for properties.
  • There are two types of Home Loans – one that is offered at a fixed interest rate and the other that is offered at a floating interest rate.  While the fixed loan’s interest rates remain the same throughout the loan duration, the floating bank loan’s interest rates change with the banks’ lending practices. Consider spending some time studying the pros and cons of both types of loans. 
  • Home loan owners are eligible for an income tax rebate. This article explains it quite nicely here.
  • Understand the foreclosure norms and practices – RBI has stopped foreclosure penalties meaning you can foreclose your loan without paying any penalties.  This should be checked with the bank before the loan is applied for. 
  • Check the EMI per lac while planning for a home loan. You can easily check it via a home loan calculator here.

4. The role of a good property dealer

Getting professional advice on choosing your next home can be the difference between buying a good flat and buying a great flat.

I have written a blog detailing the role of a good property dealer which you may find useful.

Getting house-hunting help from a real estate consultant not only helps you save precious time but will also help you get a local’s perspective on the property.

Property dealers are an important source of business for the builders so they give the dealers a good rate to continue their business.

However, a note of caution – it is really important to spend some time choosing the right real estate agent otherwise plenty of shady characters waiting to take advantage of innocent customers.

5. Investing in ready to move vs under-construction property

End-users must always try and invest in a property that is almost 90% completed in order to avoid problems of delayed possession, having said that, there are advantages and disadvantages of both these types of properties. Let’s discuss them one by one.  

Let us first discuss the advantages of an under construction property.  

  • Generally, an under-construction property will cost less than a ready-to-move-in property.
  • By investing early in an under-construction property you can earn handsome returns by the time the property is ready to move in
  • You can get customizations done in your under-construction apartment

Now let’s discuss the advantages of a ready to move in property

  • There is no GST whenever you buy ready-to-move-in property. In case you are buying an under-construction property you have to pay a significant amount of GST
  • You save on the rental cost that you would otherwise have to pay if you had bought an under-construction property
  • A ready to move in property solves the problem of delayed possession

6. Extra charges in the purchase of a property

8 tips on buying a property for the first time
8 tips on buying a property for the first time

There are various types of costs that accompany a home purchase.

I have written a detailed blog on 10 extra costs that accompany a home purchase.

It is important to understand the amenities and facilities that are being provided by the builder. There will be an attached cost to each amenity.

For example, Clubhouse and power backup are features that add value to you and your family’s life.

A clubhouse allows you to enjoy facilities like a swimming pool, yoga room, gaming rooms,  banquet hall, guest rooms, etc.  There will be a one-time cost that will accompany a house purchase in a society. A power backup allows you to live comfortably even during times of power cuts. There will be a one-time power backup installation charge as well.

7. The legal status of the property

You should verify the building approvals (under construction) or the occupancy certificate (in case of a ready-to-move property)

You can also check the RERA website of the state for details on approvals. For example, all the projects in Zirakpur and Punjab come under PB rera and their certifications can be easily checked online at the Punjab Rera website.

In the case of a ready-to-move property, you can check the occupancy certificate issued by the local municipality certifying the completion of the building.

This certificate is issued once the construction of the building is complete and it is fit for occupation. 

You should take legal advice in case you are not satisfied with the documents given to you by the builder.

Financial Institutions carry out a lot of scrutiny and due diligence on a building project before issuing a loan on the property.

The banks verify the title search documents and the approval papers to ensure that the project is legal. 

If a reputed bank is giving out a loan on a property then it generally means that its title search documents are clear. Loan approval by SBI is generally a good barometer of a property’s clearance.

8. The importance of location

Homebuyers should educate themselves on why location is one of the most important factor in purchasing a property.

I have written a detailed article analyzing the top 5 locations in Zirakpur for home buyers. This article can serve as a starting point for your research.

A certain location may not be a good match for everyone because a good location is subective.

You should be well aware of the incoming and outgoing routes to your society so that you have a fair idea of how much time you will be spending going to work, market, hospital, school and park. 

You should take a drive around your future home to get an idea of the Infrastructure and connectivity in the area.

Buying a home for the first time should be an enjoyable experience

I hope this article has helped you if you are planning on buying a home for the first time.

Trust your gut, arrange your finances and choose the right property agent.

Buying a home is an important decision but the process should not be cumbersome and painful.

Unfortunately, many people have had bad experiences and thus one needs to be careful but ideally one should enjoy the process.

All the best.

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