You had done your research. Got your papers ready. Spoke to the property developer and selected your dream home. But, alas. The outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown marred your plans of purchasing your dream home. You might be feeling utterly helpless, but there isn’t any other way than to wait and let this bad phase pass.
However, you might not be at a total loss. Deepak Parekh, HDFC Chairman, said at a webinar by Naredco (National Real Estate Development Council) that real estate prices are estimated to drop by a minimum of 10% post-lockdown. For future homebuyers, who have cash flows or job security will have an amazing opportunity to purchase properties at a much lower price.
So, do not lose hope and while you wait, here are a few constructive things you can do to stay better prepared for home buying.
The Internet is your best friend right now. Get all the online real estate juice.
You have done all your research for a particular property that you wish to buy. You have all the data and information regarding that property. But, there is a chance that you might have missed out on something. Maybe you’ve focused so much on a single property that you’ve not checked out the other potential options.
Now, you only have time on your hands. Utilize it by conducting in-depth research and understanding what real estate agents and property developers represent. Go through the websites of all the developers, find out what they are offering, research about their reputation and how genuine they are. If you come across developers who are selling under-construction properties, browse their website to see whether the work progress is clearly mentioned.
To verify the authenticity of building developers, you can move out of their website and learn about their reputation across social media platforms. You can also read reviews.
Finally, make sure to compile all your research. When life returns to normal, you can refer to your research and make an informed decision.
Teach yourself how to read blueprints a.k.a. floor plans
When searching for a 2 BHK or 3 BHK apartment to buy, you must have come across ‘floor plans’. You have seen the numbers. But, do you really know how to read it?
For most novice buyers, floor plans can be quite confusing and it is. With the same floor plan, you might find 2 or more different properties. Even though the floor plan is the same on paper, the homes might feel different.
Why? Because it depends on the openness of the floor plan. Understanding how a floor plan is designed is crucial in understanding floor plans.
In general, room sizes are represented in feet and inches. So, when you are seeing the floor plan of the master bedroom from the developer, compare it with the measurements of your current bedroom. Match the width and length. By doing this exercise, you will be able to clearly see the difference between the 2 spaces.
The height of the ceiling is another crucial feature in a floor plan. It is common knowledge that homes with tall ceilings feel airier. Even for this, match the ceiling height in the floor plan of the developer with the height of your present living space. This will give you a good idea of what kind of property you are considering to buy.
Get all the required papers and prepare a file
Do you have to take a home loan? If so, you must have all the paperwork ready. Make use of this time to assemble all the needed papers in one place. Make a note of the papers that are missing. After all, getting a home loan is easier said than done. All your papers must be in order, you have to get your credit rating checked and see if you are eligible for the loan. You will also need to produce your bank statements of 6 months, salary pay-slips, income tax return documents and your identification cards.
If you own a business, you will not just have to show your income tax documents, but also GST.
A lot of banks and financial institutions also ask for at least one utility bill where your name and current address are mentioned.
If you keep all of these documents in order, the moment the lockdown is lifted, you can get on with your dream of purchasing a home. You wouldn’t have to run hither and thither to get your paperwork in order.
Work on your skills of negotiation
The COVID-19 crisis is affecting every aspect of life and the real estate industry is not immune. The government has announced relief measures to both real estate developers and homebuyers. Now, the market conditions are expected to normalize in 2021. In such a situation, it is expected that there will be less forced sales. If you have multiple offers on the table, this is the right time to negotiate and you might be able to get a 10 to 20% reduction on the price.
However, there is also a downside to this. You need to be careful about the property developer that you choose. It is possible that many sub-standard property builders will sell their houses at a much lower price and you might be tempted even. So, kindly, go through the website, profile, reviews and all other resources available to you before putting your money down on a property.
Think of an alternative source of income
You might be working from home or it might be that you’re not working at all. In both these situations, you have a lot of time on your hands. Even if you are doing WFH, you are saving all your traveling time and most importantly, you are sitting at home and in a position to better manage your time. So, take advantage of this situation and consider starting something to generate extra income. This added income will reduce the burden of a home loan. To conclude, the real estate sector isn’t going anywhere. But, this lockdown is giving you an opportunity to dig deeper and find the property of your dreams at the best price. Make the most of this time so that the rest of the buying process happens in a jiffy when the lockdown is lifted.