Increasing numbers of single women are investing in property all over India. A look at the benefits and challenges for women buying homes in the country.

It is safe to say that the financial future of many working women is looking better than before. A rising number of working women today are in contention for top jobs in their companies. Many women are earning high salaries commensurate with their work experience, and they are choosing to secure their future with proper investments. A popular investment option is property.

More women are buying property today…

Increasing financial independence, and awareness about future security, are driving many women into property investment[1]. It is not just divorced or unmarried women who are investing in their homes, but also young women who see marriage on the distant horizon. In a world where rising living costs and constant upheaval have become the norms to live by, many women are seizing control of their financial lives and making sound investments like property and market-linked instruments.

The good news is that prominent banks and financial institutions all over the country are catering to this segment of buyers with special loans. Some banks such as SBI offer 0.5% lower home loan rate for women borrowers. Any home loan rate reduction is welcome for those investing in properties, so this is a good incentive to offer, indeed.

Others offer value-added benefits with the home loans for women. Overall, housing finance companies are fully cognisant of the needs of women home buyers.

But there are challenges galore…

In recent years, prominent metros like Chennai and Mumbai have been seeing cases of rental and outright sale properties being denied to single women and men. Though no reasons are assigned for the denial, the tacit hint is that most sellers and landlords do not wish for single women to buy or rent their properties.

There have also been cases where single women looking to buy a property have been asked to bring along a male relative for the negotiations. These archaic attitudes can prevent many women from investing into owned properties.

However, that is not to say that it is impossible for women to buy homes at all. If you are a woman looking to buy your own house, do follow these guidelines –

* Start by enlisting the help of a broker who has many properties to show in an area of your choice. Ask upfront for sellers and developers for whom dealing with women buyers is not an issue, so that you save time. You can also look at property sale sites that list suitable properties and also give owners’ contact details.

* inspect the property thoroughly, inside and out, before you ask for the house’s price. Do not commit or reject the price at this stage – you might need to research the prevailing market rates for that area before you begin negotiations.

* Once you are convinced that the price is right, start the negotiations. Normally, most resale properties will ask for a couple of lakhs of Rupees above the prevalent asking price. Give your final offer after checking your finances.

* If the developer or reseller agrees to your offer, you will now have to assess your bank balance. Pay the seller a booking amount so that they will close talks with other buyers. It is ideal if you have the necessary money ready for an outright purchase (accrued from investments, sale of another property, gift from parents, etc.) but if you don’t, you will need to borrow a home loan. You can use a home loan eligibility calculator to find out how much loan amount you can get against your regular income.

* Check the home loan rates being offered across banks and financial institutions. You can approach those housing finance companies that offer lower home loan rates to women buyers. Women buyers also get up to Rs 2 lakh rebate on interest for home loans[3]. You can use a home loan interest calculator to arrive at the interest calculation and also the amount of EMI payable per month. This helps you streamline your finances in readiness for taking the home loan.

Making the house purchase

Now that you are in the process of applying for the home loan, the payments schedule will proceed along these lines:

* Pay the first instalment on the house. In case of a resale house, this amount is at least 10% of the overall cost of the house.

* Proceed to pay the stamp duty and registration costs on the sale agreement at the local Collector/Registrar’s office. Registration ensures that the transaction is listed in the civic land records, and that you can submit the sale agreement to the housing finance company. The lending institution will accept only a registered sale agreement before loan disbursal.

* Check the home loan rates one last time[4] before applying for the home loan. Allow the housing finance agency to peruse the application, verify the documents and evaluate the property. As part of evaluation procedures, there may also be a visit from the lender’s team to your current residential address and place of work. The evaluation team will then give an estimate of the house’s cost to the lender – your loan amount should be equal to or less than this figure.

* Once the processing and evaluation formalities are complete, the lender will give you a date for loan disbursal. On the day of disbursal, you must sign the loan agreement in the lender’s office, and also pay the stamp duty and registration costs on it. The loan cheque is normally disbursed in the name of the seller, but you may collect it on their behalf.

* At the time of disbursal, you will be asked for the most suitable date for EMI debit from your account every month. You can choose the date from the options provided and based on your salary schedule. Now, counting from the date of disbursal to the first EMI debit, you must pay a simple interest for the intermediate days. This interest is known as the ‘pre-EMI’ payment. You must also pay any processing fees asked for at this stage.

You are now the proud owner of your own home!







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