Watch out! 7 tips to buy dream home online!


Buying property was never so easy before, but the latest trend of buying property online has benefitted both: the real estate market as well as the customers.

Although it is still at a nascent stage, various property portals that have mushroomed in the past few years bear a testimony of its demand at the customers’ end. Mostly buyers conduct an initial research and shortlist online while the actual transaction is still done offline.

On the other hand, builders are also increasingly putting up more inventories on the online market place and some are even associating with select real estate portals with the option of ‘book online’. For instance, Tata Homes had tied up with Housing.com to sell their properties exclusively through the portal.

However, buying home online can be easy, yet tricky. Here are few things you need to keep in mind before making that big purchase.

· Study, study and more study : Possibly one of the most important purchases of your life, even if it maybe for investing purpose, picking the right property is critical and must be done after a lot of research and comparative study. Reading up on what real estate consultants suggest, clarifying queries through independent forums such as IREF.com and keeping a track of developments in the industry can take you a long way. While it may be a time consuming task, it is well worth the effort. It is also worthwhile to view a lot of consumer centric programmes. A proper due-diligence prior to the purchase is a must, regardless of the volumes of studies or advices that one might get.

· Use technical features and help: Nowadays, online portals offer new features to make house searching/buying smoother without physically having to inspect the property. Now, one can take a 3D tour of the site, room by room; check if the area is child-friendly, a prime location and also if the property is overpriced as per market rates.

· Reputation is the ‘key’ word: Make sure to always go through a reliable portal having a sound background and a good market
standing. Likewise, while shortlisting homes, opt for a reputed builder/ developer. One needs to check whether the builder has requisite permissions/licenses in place and if the property is not under any court dispute. Also do check if basic facilities like water pipeline, parking space etc are provided. With a reputation to maintain for the builder, your risk of running into a ‘wrong’ investment is very low.

· Cross-check the listing offline: Real estate is majorly challenged with the problem of fake and expired listings. Double check the listing you see on the portal with the builder offline and preferably choose a site that claims to provide verified listings.

· Ensure validity of deals: A lot of developers are sitting on unsold inventory and trying to boost their sales by coming up with offers and schemes to lure customers. While booking a home through a lucrative deal, make sure it is still valid and there aren’t any loopholes to trap you. If it is an exclusive deal, calling up the builder’s office to verify the details would be a good idea.

· Choose the best home loan: Most sites offer services like home loan eligibility calculator and are associated with a host of banks to expedite the process of procuring loans. Compare the offers and choose the best having compared interest rates, application fee, tenure, partial payment flexibility, EMI amount etc. On an average, most top banks charge an interest rate between 9.90% and 11.75%, and application fees could range from Rs 2,500 to Rs 10,000. Make sure you have a good credit history. It is worthwhile to keep a tab on the latest policy pronouncements by the government and various agencies for ensuring you understand the interest-rate regime.

· Read through the fine print: Make sure you know everything before making that transaction. Right from the booking amount, stamp duty and other taxes, time of possession, facilities provided to cancellation fees if any, online purchase of houses need to be analysed very minutely.

Buyers have a plethora of options so do keep the tips in mind before making the big investment.

(This article has been written by Arvind Nandan, Executive Director, Housing.com)

(Image: Reuters)
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