Buying a home today takes a certain confidence – in the market and in your own financial strength. A lot of single, female homebuyers are taking that bold step in high heels, with no one at their side.
By educating and empowering themselves, single women have acquired a sense of home-buying confidence, making the dream of home ownership a reality. It’s a process that doesn’t necessarily begin with love first—unless it’s for her dream house. She just needs a good real estate agent, an educated understanding of navigating the home-buying process, and a happy and pleasant mood to celebrate after signing on the 50,000 dotted lines at closing.
Not just the single woman, a married woman too, apart from being an earning member, also has a complete grasp of the family’s current and future financial abilities. Developers are aware that they play a role in a family’s home purchase decisions. A woman has a better perspective about what should be included or excluded. Still, buying a home is not just a matter of instincts and good taste, but also one for adequate planning and foresight.
For women who are investigating the market for suitable properties, either for themselves or for their family, here are some points to consider.
- Be realistic, stay focused
Home ownership is a great move for a woman and a step towards independence in her retirement years. But your first home is not necessarily the only home you will ever buy. Remember that you can always upgrade in the future if required, so there is absolutely no need to buy the biggest-possible flat now. So try not to compromise your current financial viability by buying a needlessly expensive home.
The home you live in today does not have to be the one you will be living in when you retire. When it comes to real estate, it is always a good thing to upgrade as financial ability improves, but this process can and should be planned out over the entire course of one’s working life. For a woman who is at the outset of her career, nothing is more important than financial stability on every front.
To plan for upgrading to a bigger and better home further down the line, it is advisable to invest (and stay invested) in good mutual funds which deliver more returns than savings accounts. Direct stock market speculation into single company stocks and bonds as a potential source of real estate funding should be avoided; as such investments are not sufficiently diversified to offer a safety net in case a company experiences a downturn.
- Shop aggressively for financing
The home loan market in India is currently very competitive, and banks are falling over themselves to attract customers. Make specific inquiries about special interest rates and other incentives that a bank is offering women borrowers (usually 0.05% lesser than the prevailing interest rate). Never take the first thing that is offered to you — most banks have a considerable margin of flexibility to accommodate borrowers who know what they want and are determined to get it.
Check rates with several mortgage lenders, and don’t simply select a lender based on a recommendation from a friend or a realtor.
- Don’t stretch your budget too far
First figure out the monthly mortgage and whether they will be able to afford it. Online mortgage calculators can be helpful, but they tell you the value of the principal and associated interests. There are other monthly expenses involved in home ownership, and these include insurances, taxes, maintenance charges and utilities charges.
For working, single women, it is important that all these amounts put together do not exceed 35-40 per cent of their net income. Keep in mind that property is not the only investment you should make towards your ongoing financial security. You should also set aside at least 10 per cent of your monthly income into a retirement plan.
When it comes to home purchase, every financial angle must be examined well in advance. It is advisable to use the services of an experienced financial planner. The process of buying a dream home should not turn into an unexpected nightmare at any point.
Those who are just starting out in their careers should not allow themselves to fall too deep into a credit trap. It is always best to use free and clear capital as far as possible.
Make sure the developer has a strong reputation in the market by doing multiple checks. It is highly advisable to patronise only established developers with a readily verifiable track record for timely completions and 100 per cent adherence to the agreements they make with their customers.