Buying a house, especially your first home for living is a different feeling altogether. All of us want to buy or build a house of our own, and therefore it is absolutely important to take this crucial decision thoughtfully. As you know, this is one of the most vital decisions both financially and emotionally, you should put your priorities in place and think them through well before you start looking for properties. And if you are planning to buy a house and wondering what are the important features and things that are absolutely important for you to consider then here’s the post worth checking.
Today in this article, we are going to discuss everything that’s absolutely important to consider when buying a house, especially if you are buying for self occupancy, and you plan to live in this house. From prices to location and neighbourhoods, all essential features to maintenance, we are discussing everything that matters the most.
It’s possible that certain priorities and features that are important for you may not be so important for others. But then, there are certain crucial and important features that matter for most of us in general. And therefore check these out to get your priorities right. So, when you consider all these important and crucial features when buying a house, you are going to get the most out of your investment and turn out a winner.
So are you ready to put your priorities in place and make a checklist of things that matters the most?
I hear you saying yes, so let’s dive in.
11 essential things to consider when buying a home
You know what, buying a house is a big decision and often people get carried away because of emotions. And therefore, they end up making wrong decisions such as:
- Spending more than they could really afford
- Choosing the wrong project or society
- Getting delayed possessions
- Sometimes get stuck in legal battles
As you consider buying a house, it’s important to not only think about your current needs but also your future needs.
When going through your important checklist of things to consider when buying a house, make sure to know if this property does meet your needs and provides you with valuable resources and listings to help you make an informed decision and find your dream home.
Will it be able to accommodate changes in your family size, career, or lifestyle?
Is it located in a neighbourhood that is expected to meet your future transportation needs?
Does it have the potential for renovations or additions if needed?
By asking these questions and ensuring that this property does meet your future needs, you can make a decision that will be a good fit for you and your family in the long term.
So, here you go.
Take a look at some of these important and crucial factors that are worth considering when buying a house in India, or anywhere else in the world.
Approvals and sanctions
No matter whether you are buying a house in a newly constructed housing complex, under construction housing society or a resale flat in a small apartment complex, the first and the most important thing to consider is approval and sanctions of the land and building.
And the best way to get this right is to hire a lawyer with experience in real-estate-related matters and get the document checked and verified to be double sure that there is no dispute, whatsoever with the land, building or individual flat you are considering buying.
This may not sound serious at first, but trust me real estate frauds and scams are real and it happens all the time in India.
And therefore, when you have a professional lawyer or a legal advisor on board, they can check through everything e.g.
- Land use and conversion
- Building sanctioned plans
- Necessary approvals from local authority
Apart from looking at the legal side of the project or the building, it is very important for you to check for the credentials and background of the developer.
If you are planning to buy a new project (developed or under construction), then you may like to check CREDAI to get a lot of information about the project and the developer.
Another level of security with regard to approvals and legal formalities can be to buy a house in a project that has been approved by banks. Not a sure shot way, but usually, banks check all the papers related to land and legal sanctions and approvals before approving a project for home loans. So, buying a house in a project that’s approved by a bank (preferably govt. bank) may help avoid future issues with respect to the legal framework.
There’s no skipping to this very first thing if you want to avoid any dispute later, and therefore if you are planning to buy a house, make sure to consider checking approvals and sanctions before getting into an agreement to buy a house.
Location and neighbourhood
Location and neighbourhood is a very important factor for any property, and of course, it is equally important for a house as well. We all want to buy a house that is appropriately located in a good neighbourhood with easy access to all the essential amenities.
And if the property is located in a good and developed neighbourhood, then chances are it’s going to be costlier than a similar property in an underdeveloped neighbourhood or areas in the same city.
But, how do you know if the neighbourhood and location of the property are right and it’s going to suit you? Well, there are certain things that you should consider, such as:
- Is it a safe and peaceful area?
- Does it has easy access to essential amenities like hospitals, schools, grocery, shopping complexes, malls etc
- Does it offer easy and flexible transportation options like metro, auto etc?
- Are the connector roads wide enough
- How much is the distance from the airport and railway stations etc
Theirs is a saying that our lifestyle changes every 3-5 years, and therefore when you are buying a new home, you should not just think of your today’s lifestyle, but think of the future as well. The kind of lifestyle you have today is sure to change a few years later, so plan everything accordingly. The kind of complex you want to move into, the unit size etc.
After all, we don’t buy a house every now and then, and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so you better make it right. Think about your future plans and accordingly look for a property that’ll suit you today as well as a few years from now.
Size of the house
The size and layout of the house are very important, and therefore if you are buying a house, just look at the all possible or available unit sizes that may suit you.
We often go wrong here and end up buying flats with the wrong unit size or layout. If you have a basic rough idea of what kind of flat you are looking for, then just check multiple options, check through multiple projects and then select a unit that suits your needs i.e. the number of rooms you want, along with the overall unit size.
Because if the unit size is too large, then that means it’s going to be costlier, similarly, if the unit size is too small then rooms might look small and crowded, so think through and take the right call with the unit size when buying a house.
Number of bedrooms
The number of rooms you want in your house can be a crucial decision, and sometimes we make the wrong choice here too. For instance, if you are just married, and planning to have a baby in a couple of years, and no other family members are staying with you, then you may think that a standard 2 bedroom flat is good. And it is good as well, as it suits your needs.
But, five years down the line, you may need another guest room, and therefore a three-bedroom flat will make more sense. But, does that mean you should buy a 3 bedroom house instead of a 2 bedroom?
The answer may be both yes and no.
Yes, if you can afford it and it’s not going to affect your finances badly.
No, if it affects your financials badly because maybe after 10 years, you will be in a position to buy another new house.
The point is, it all depends on your needs, your budget, overall property costs and your ability to finance the total costs.
Take everything into consideration and then take a call on the number of rooms that you should have in a house that you are going to buy today. But, just think about the future as we don’t buy a new house often, it’s a one-time investment and a big one for many of us.
Number of washrooms
The same logic applies when choosing the number of washrooms. Ideally, your house must have at least two washrooms – one attached to the master bedroom and the other can be the common one. And if you can afford it, then it’s always better to go for the same number of washrooms as the bedrooms. So if you have three bedrooms, having three washrooms is always better.
Kitchen size and layout
This is one most important aspect that you should look for. The kitchen should be a little bigger and the layout has to be the right. And if you trust in Vastu Shashtra, then you must follow the Vastu for the kitchen, washrooms, bedrooms and temple room. Generally speaking, an L-shaped kitchen is always good, it takes a little less space and usually it’s much more functional.
The second call that you have to make with regard to the kitchen is whether to go for an open kitchen concept or an independent kitchen room with a door. Well, it actually depends on your lifestyle, but usually for an Indian house, a closed kitchen room is better.
Total purchase price
Needless to say that when you are buying a house, the overall purchase price of the property is a big factor worth looking at. Who doesn’t want a bigger and more luxurious house, located at a prime residential location in the city? We all want that.
But, what about the overall cost of the property?
Obviously, the total purchase price of the property is a big factor.
And therefore, you should consider your budget in the very beginning. How much money do you have, how much of money do you want to arrange through a mortgage loan, and what kind of other financial arrangements you can manage, think about all this when buying a new home and before choosing the property.
These days, pre-approved home loans are also available and if you want, you can check with your banker or other financing institutions about your eligibility for a home loan. In fact, it is a good idea because once you get provisional approval, you know how much money can be financed, and how much money is saved with you, and accordingly you can plan your overall budget for buying a house.
Another important thing to note when allocating a budget for buying a house is to actually know how much you want to spend. I mean, if you have good tax records, you may get good financing rates and approval for a lot more than what you actually need. But, that does not mean you should take that big house loan. Just think practically and be logical when fixing a budget for buying a house.
Home loan is a big trap and you end up paying a lot more, so always keep the mortgage loan as little as you can manage.
Interior and renovation
This is another important aspect that we often ignore. Unless you are buying a fully furnished flat, you should be prepared to spend some money on interior designing and decorating of your house. And if you are buying a pre-owned property, then you may have to spend some money on renovation and makeover-related work.
So, always plan for interior designing and renovation-related work, to get a better idea of the overall expenses of buying a moving into a new house of your own. The cost of interior designing or renovation-related services could depend on the actual scope of work, but usually, it is safe to allocate roughly 10% of the property value to interior designing and decorating expenses.
But, if you have no plans for interior designing, still consider the costs of painting the house, and making small little fixes and fixtures, to get the real picture of the cost and budget you should prepare yourself for.
Maintenance and taxes
Maintenance and taxes are recurring expenses. But usually, people don’t even think about it when buying a house, but they should say, Mr Pinku Chakraborty, who works with a big real estate developer firm in Kolkata. According to him, the monthly maintenance expenses of the property should be considered, because in big housing societies and complexes, the monthly maintenance could be a little higher.
Also, the maintenance charges usually depend on the unit size, so one must think about it as well. A similar calculation applies to municipal property taxes, which is again a recurring cost for homeowners.
Being a recurring expense, that has to be paid every month or every quarter, you should consider this as well when buying a new house.
Age of the property
The age of the property is another vital thing that you must know about when buying a house. If the property is very old, then it’s better to consider buying a house in a newly developed or developing complex or housing society. There is no point investing plenty of money in a decade-old property, especially when prices are not very attractive.
And therefore, if you are buying a house and considering a decade-old property, you better think about it carefully, explore other available property options and then take a call at your convenience.
Over to you
Buying a new house, especially the first house can be exciting and therefore it’s natural to get carried away with a budget, unit size, location and features of the house. But, just remember that it’s a big financial decision that you are taking, so the decision must be rational and based on your financial standing and real needs.
Going overboard with respect to purchase price and luxury is a common phenomenon and therefore you should think through well, consider everything that matters and then take a call. I have already discussed a few of the most important and crucial things that you may like to consider, such as:
- Checking for approvals and sanctions
- Neighbourhood and location of the property
- Your current and future lifestyle
- Size of the house or the unit
- Number of bedrooms you need
- Number of washrooms required
- Kitchen size and layout of the kitchen
- Total purchase price and registration fees
- Interior design and renovation expenses
- Recurring maintenance and taxes
- Age of the property
Hope this home-buying checklist can be of great help to you.
I seriously hope it helps you take the right decisions.
What else do you think one should consider when buying a new house for self-occupancy?
Share your ideas by commenting below, and if you liked this article, then please share it with your friends and family who might have plans to buy a house.