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Applying for a home loan? A five-point checklist

November 15, 2013 13:58 IST

Applying for a home loan? A five-point checklist

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Ramalingam K

Homework you must do before approaching a bank

No one likes bad surprises. More so, when your dream of buying a home turns into a nightmare. First-time home loan applicants face common problems like rejection in the initial stages, non-refundable processing fees, desired amount of loan not sanctioned and perpetual issue of interest rate (or EMI burden).

The other issues that crop up include difference in property evaluation, down payment to banks, crucial title deeds and NOC.

Is there a way out? Yes, of course.

Even before squirreling through a sea of home loan productsdo your own evaluation. Did your home loan agent just send you a tome to read on the choices available? Fine. He has done his research. It is time you do yours before applying for a home loan.

1. Know your own worth

If you do not know how much you are eligible for then you may be dreaming of sand castles that may be washed ashore. There is a maximum eligibility and every bank has their limits. Find out how much you have earned in the last 5 years. How much would you earn in the next ten years?

This projection also includes the ability to pay back credit cards and bills. No lender is willing to touch a borrower if the assessment of previous records shows a CIBIL score of less then 750 points (more on that later). If the score is lesser the home loan may be given with a higher rate of interest, which may be an uphill task to repay.

An average borrower is eligible for 80 per cent of the property value. A lender may scan the salary sheet (or financial sheet of a small business owner) to calculate repayment terms. There is difference between loan eligibility salary amount and actual amount. Only if you’re payment worthy, the loan will be sanctioned. If you are buried in car loan, debts, then even with a high salary rejection slip is possible.

The author is Ramalingam K, an MBA (Finance) and Certified Financial Planner. He is the director and chief financial planner of Holistic Investment Planners (www.holisticinvestment.in) a firm that offers Financial Planning and Wealth Management. He can be reached at ramalingam@holisticinvestment.in.


Photographs: Uttam Ghos/Rediff.com

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2. CIBIL score report is a diagnostic tool

A laboratory test determines how much an organ functions. When it comes to financial scores, the CIBIL (Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited) Credit Score is the ultimate score card.

On a scale of 900 points it evaluates the applicant. It is based on parameters like credit card usage, existing loan payments or EMIs, net salary after deductions and spending and saving structure of the applicant.

The score basically decides if the borrower will have the capacity to repay for long terms.

Note: Applicants get rejected when they approach multiple lenders. They pay processing fees that are non-refundable and come under the radar of CIBIL as ‘credit hungry’ -- a category that reduces the chances of getting the cheapest home loan!


Photographs: Rediff Archives

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Applying for a home loan? A five-point checklist

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3. EMI blues

Why is this third important in this list and not first? It is only when you are eligible, the question of EMI payment is considered. When you have reached here, more than half the battle is won.

Home is an asset that acts as collateral for many other unforeseen difficulties. Hence everyone wishes to have at least one property that they own. It is a secured collateral and commands premium in the loan market.

Hence home loan seekers kickstart at an early age so that the repayment period (even if it is 20 years) can be met during the active working years.

Note: Rates keep changing and this can rapidly make a change in payment terms. Both fixed and floating rates, late fees and other methods of repayment should be cross-checked before selecting the lender.


Photographs: Uttam Ghos/Rediff.com
Tags: EMI

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4. How long will it take to be loan free?

Some people just spend their lives paying off home loans. EMIs are calculated keeping in mind both interest rate and loan tenure. The EMI and duration of loan share an inverse relationship while the total interest paid is directly proportional to the tenure.

The longer the tenure, lower is the EMI.

Plan the finances to phase out the payment years. Look at the impact of the EMIs before taking decisions; know the job status, salary, the anticipated growth, and other factors like partner contribution, surplus scenarios, and family inheritance.

Note: Be thorough with your documentation and know the processing amount, late payment fees and preclosure terms.


Photographs: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com
Tags: EMI

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5. Before signing re-read the entire document

Most people barely scan through the fine print. But it is an important exercise. If not anything else read if the terms negotiated at the time of securing the home loan were the same. Know if any charges will be applicable.


Photographs: Uttam Ghos/Rediff.com
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