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How to choose the right colours for your home, based on Vastu

How to choose the right colours for your home, based on Vastu

It is a proven fact that colours have a significant psychological effect on people. A home is a place where a person spends a major part of one’s life. As specific colours stimulate distinctive emotions in the people, it is important to have an appropriate balance of colours in one’s home, to feel fresh and live a healthy life. Here is a detailed explanation for choosing wall colours as per Vastu and other tips that you should follow while picking these colours:

Wall colours for your home as per Vastu

Vikash Sethi, CEO and founder of, says that colours for each room have to be decided, based on the direction and the date of birth of the homeowner.

“While each direction has a specific colour, at times, it may still not suit the owner. Therefore, home owners should adhere to the general guidelines for colours as per Vastu Shastra, which entails the following key points:

Direction Suitable colours    

North-east : Light blue    

East : White, light blue    

South-east : Orange, pink, silver    

North : Green, pista green    

North-west : Light grey, white, cream    

West : Blue, white    

South-west : Peach, mud colour or light brown    

South : Red and yellow  

Home owners must take extra precautions while choosing colours like black, red and pink, as these colours do not suit every person,” explains Sethi. 

Wall colour guidelines as per Vastu

Experts point out that each section of your home, requires colours as per its energy requirement, size and direction. The colour requirement of your home section, should be as per its usage. Astro-numerologist, Gauravv Mittal, says, “People living in a home should keep the following points in mind, while colouring the rooms:

Master bedroom: According to Vastu for the bedroom, the master bedroom should be in a south-west direction and hence, should be painted with blue colour.

Guest room/ drawing room: North-west is the best place for the guest room/ drawing room and hence, a guest room in this direction should be painted with white colour.

Kids’ room: North-west is the best place for rooms for children who are grown up and go out for study purposes. As the north-west direction is governed by the moon, hence, children’s rooms in this direction should be painted with white colour.

Kitchen: The south-east zone is ideal for kitchens and hence, the walls of the kitchen should be painted with orange or red colour.

Bathroom: North-west is the best place for bathroom and hence, the bathroom should be painted with white colour.

Hall: Ideally, the hall should be in the north-east or north-west direction and hence, should be painted yellow or white.

Home exterior colour: The exterior home colour, should be based on its owners. Colours, such as yellowish-white or off-white or light mauve or orange, can suit to people of all Rashis.”

Pooja room: According to Vastu Shastra, the pooja room should face the north-east direction, to harness maximum sunlight. Yellow is the most suitable colour for this part of your home, as this will facilitate this process.

Main door/entrance: Opt for soft colours for the front door, such as white, silver or wood colours. As per Vastu, avoid dark colours such as black, red or dark blue. Remember, the main entrance gates should always open in a clockwise direction and open inwards.

Study room: If you have a home-office, opt for colours like light green, blue, cream and white, according to Vastu. Light colours make the room look big. Avoid dark colours as it will add gloominess to the space.

Balcony/veranda: According to Vastu, the balcony should be in the north or east direction. Prefer using calm colours like blue, cream and light tones of pink and green, for the balcony. This is the space where the occupants connect with the outer world. Hence, all dark colours should be avoided.

Garage: As per Vastu, the ideal location for a garage is in the north-west side. Ideal colours are white, yellow, blue or any other light shade.

Room Suggested colours as per Vastu    

Master bedroom : Blue    

Guest room : White    

Drawing/living room : White    

Kid’s room : White    

Kitchen : Orange or red    

Bathroom : White    

Hall : Yellow or white    

Pooja room : Yellow    

Home exterior : Yellowish-white, off-white, light mauve    

Main door/entrance : White, silver or wood colours    

Study room : Light green, blue, cream or white    

Balcony/veranda : Blue, cream, light tones of pink and green    

Garage : White, yellow, blue  


Wall colours that you should avoid in your home

Experts suggest that light shades are always good. Dark shades like red, brown, gray and black may not suit everyone, as they represent some of the fiery planets likes Rahu, Shani, Mars and Sun. “Red, deep yellow and black should be avoided. Generally, theses colours have high intensity and it may disturb the energy pattern inside your house,” cautions Sethi.

Significance of colours as per Vastu

Colour Represents    

Red : Passion, power, emotions, warmth    

Blue : Beauty, contentment, devotion, truth    

Green : Growth, healing, fertility, prosperity    

White : Purity, openness, innocence, luxury    

Yellow : Optimism, openness, study, intelligence    

Orange : Determination, goals, good health, comfort    

Brown :  Stability, satisfaction, comfort    

Purple : Richness, luxury, graciousness, pride  


About kitchen colour Vastu

The kitchen represents the fire element. Hence, bright shades would be the best fit. You can opt for yellow or even bright reds and orange shades. Warm tones like pink signify love and warmth, while brown too works for the kitchen as it signifies satisfaction. If there are kitchen cabinets, shades of lemon yellow, orange or even green work well, as it denotes freshness, health and positivity. As for the flooring, opt for mosaic, marble or ceramic tiles. Light shades – beige, whites or light brown are good for the floor. Kitchen slabs as per Vastu recommendations are the best in naturally available stones, which include granite or quartz. Orange, yellow and green colours work well for the kitchen’s countertops. 

Vastu tips for wall colours 

Choose colours that belong to your favorable planet or lucky number. Consult a numerologist while choosing colours for your bedroom.

Green is preferred for the north direction, because it is governed by planet Mercury. The north-east direction is governed by Jupiter and therefore, colours such as yellow should be preferred for walls in this direction.

Since east is governed by the Sun, always prefer orange colour for this direction.  Similarly for the south-east direction, choose the colour red.

West is governed by Shani or Saturn and grey is the ideal colour for this corner.




Tips to deal with illegal property possession

Tips to deal with illegal property possession

Amid rising instances of land grabbing and illegal occupation of properties, we look at what a landlord can do, to steer clear of trouble. Among the many cases that pertain to land in India, a large number are related to illegal property possession. Owing to the sheer worth of immovable assets, they often become subject to unlawful occupation by unscrupulous persons. Such entities also resort to forging of legal documents, to prove their wrongful ownership over a property. Between flats and plots, the latter are more vulnerable to unlawful possession, as it allows wider scope for illegal occupation.

What is illegal property possession?

If a person, who is not the legal owner of a property, occupies it without the owner’s consent, it would amount to illegal possession of the property. As long as the occupant has the owner’s permission to use the premises, the arrangement would have a legal validity. That is why properties are offered on rents to tenants under lease and licence agreements, under which the landlord provides the tenant with limited rights to use his property for a specific time period. Inhabiting the premises after this timeframe, would amount to illegal possession of property by the tenant.

How to deal with illegal possession?

Property owners have to deal, not only with outside entities but also keep an eye on their tenants, to ensure that their property does not fall prey to any fraudulent activity.

This becomes extremely important to avoid adverse possession of the property by the tenant, which makes him eligible to claim the property legally. Under the provisions of the Limitation Act, you may lose ownership over your property, if someone else is living in it for an uninterrupted period of 12 years and claims ownership through adverse possession. The law defines adverse possession as a property’s hostile possession, which has to be continuous, uninterrupted and peaceful. Here are some ways to avoid this: 

Keep changing tenants

In view of this legal limitation, it becomes important for a landlord to change their tenants from time to time. This is also why most landlords provide their homes for rent only for 11 months and subsequently, renew the rent agreement in case they are comfortable with prolonging the stay of their existing tenant.

Get a boundary wall constructed

Construction of a boundary wall is the first thing one has to do, in case of plots and land parcels. This has to be done, irrespective of whether the owner lives close to the location or not. Ideally, a housing unit must also be constructed to minimise the scope of interference from land sharks. Those living far from the location must put somebody in charge, to regularly visit the property, to ensure it remains free from illegal activities. While it may not always be a viable option, hiring a caretaker would also be a good way to avoid illegal occupation. This is especially true, in case of non-resident Indian (NRI) plot owners.

Legal action against illegal possession of property

Those who have been at the receiving end of an illegal activity, can seek relief under various provisions of the Indian law.
Firstly, you should file a written complaint with the city’s superintendent of police (SP), where the property is located. In case the SP fails to acknowledge the complaint, a personal complaint in the court concerned can be filed.
You could also file a police complaint about the same. Keep a copy of the FIR safe for future references. The authorities will be obliged to take action under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CRPC).
You could seek relief under Sections 5 and 6 of the Specific Relief Act, under which a person dispossessed of his property may recover his right, by proving previous possession and subsequent illegal dispossession.





Stamp duty and tax on gift deed of property

Stamp duty and tax on gift deed of property

It may seem awkward that a donor is expected to pay a cost, to gift his property to another person, given the fact that they are not earning anything through the change of ownership of the property. Gifting is an act, through which a person voluntarily transfers certain rights in an asset to another person, without any consideration. Even though this is not like a typical transaction, gifting of a house property has certain income tax and stamp duty implications. In this article, we discuss the key aspects of gift of property in India.

Legal requirements for gift deed

As per the Transfer of Property Act, the transfer of a house property under a gift, has to be effected by a registered instrument/document, signed by or on behalf of the person gifting the property and should also be attested by at least two witnesses.
This means, one cannot just decide to gift a property and do so without completing the legal procedure. Just like in the case of sale deeds, a gift deed must also be registered in the sub-registrar’s office, following the due procedure

The registrar shall ensure that proper stamp duty has been affixed on the gift deed/document when it is presented for registration. The amount of stamp duty and registration charges payable, with respect to a gift deed, are generally the same as in the case of a regular sale. However, if the gift deed is executed between some specified close relatives, some states provide concessions in stamp duty. For example, Maharashtra has a cap on stamp duty payable on gift of a residential or agricultural property to one’s spouse, children, grandchildren or wife of a son who has died, at Rs.200, irrespective of the value of the property.

Gift comes into effect immediately

Owners gifting their property must be mindful of the fact that as soon as the gift deed is registered, the owner loses his ownership over the gifted property. This is to say, the provisions of the gift deed, just like a sale or a relinquishment deed, come into effect immediately. This is not true in case of a Will, the provisions of which come into force only after the creator of the Will passes away.
However, do take note that a gift deed takes effect, only upon the payment of the requisite stamp duty. 

Income tax on gift deed

According to income tax laws, the value of all the gifts received by a person during a year is fully exempt, as long as the total of such gifts does not exceed Rs.50,000 in a year. If the value of all the gifts taken together exceeds Rs.50,000, then, the aggregate of the gifts received become taxable without any threshold exemption. However, income tax laws also give a favourable treatment, to gifts between two close relatives. Consequently, the gift of any asset (whether movable or immovable) made to certain specified relatives, is fully exempt from tax in the hand of the recipient, without any upper limit. The list of close relatives includes parents, spouse, siblings, siblings of the spouse, lineal ascendants and descendants of the person and his/her spouse. The list also includes spouse of the abovementioned persons.

If the house property is received as a gift from a relative, the first incidence of tax will arise, when you sell the property. The cost for the purpose of income tax, shall be the taken as the cost that was paid for the property by any of the previous owners. The profits shall be treated as short-term or long-term, depending on whether the aggregate of your holding period as well as that of the previous owner who had actually paid for it, is more than 36 months or not.
If the holding period as computed above is less than 36 months, the profit accrued on the sale of such property, shall be treated as short-term and will be added to your regular income and taxed at the applicable slab rate. However, if the holding period is more than 36 months, you will get the benefit of indexation on the cost of the property, as well as the option to claim exemption from payment of 20% long-term capital gains tax, by investing in a residential house or in capital gains bonds of Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) or National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).

Can you take back your gifted property?

One can take back a gift but this aspect must be considered and covered in the registered gift deed. Under Section 126 of the Transfer of Property Act, revoking the deal will not be possible, unless the donor specifies in the registered contract that he keeps with himself the rights to take back the gift.

Key points to remember

Under the Indian laws, gifts between non-relatives in not acknowledged as legal. In such a scenario, the deed will have to be registered as a sale deed.

To retract the gift deed, the donor will have to prove that he was duped or forced to execute the deed. There is no other way to take back a gifted property.

Gifts that are received from relatives on the occasion of a marriage through the execution of a will or inheritance are not taxed.
A gift deed is valid if it is duly executed and the transferor is the absolute legal owner of the property. Another condition for the gift deed to be valid, is that no orders of courts should prevent such a transfer.

The tax liability does not arise on gift deeds for someone who has received the same on the occasion of marriage, or by way of inheritance, or from a local authority. The same is also true for gifts received from a foundation, trusts, educational institutions, medical institutions, etc.





Inheriting assets after death of the owner

Inheriting assets after death of the owner

Having a will bequeath immovable property to people is of utmost importance. However, here is what you should know about the Hindu Succession Act 1956, in the absence of a will

Efficient succession planning is very important to ensure that your hard-earned wealth reaches the right people. This is more important in the case of immovable property as the legal succession of such assets is not a simple process.  For instance, people living in flats, are governed by the cooperative laws of the state which provide for the nomination of the house in case of a death. However, a nomination is not the same as bequeathing a property by will.
It may be noted that the nomination only provides for the transfer of the name in the records of the housing society but it does not make the nominee a full-fledged owner of the flat. The legal heirs are the beneficial owner of the property and the nominee cannot dispose the asset for his own benefit. The law for succession to a property, depends on whether the deceased person has executed a will or not. Hindus (including Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs) are governed by the Hindu Succession Act, 1956.  The rest of the Indian population comes under the Indian Succession Act, 1925.

Succession through a will

People who come under the jurisdiction of the Hindu Succession Act, can bequeath their property to any person, even excluding relatives, through the execution of a will. In such a case, it is mandatory for the executor of the will, to obtain a probate (certification) from a court for assets in Mumbai, Kolkata or Chennai.

Succession without a will

In case a deceased owner of property does not leave behind a will, the legal heirs will inherit the assets as per the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 in the prescribed order. The first preference is given to Class-I legal heirs, which include close relatives like parents, spouse, children and their successors. When it comes to each of their shares, sons and daughters, and parents will have equal shares. A spouse too, will be entitled to one share. However, in case there are more than one surviving spouses, they all will share the one portion they are entitled to. Their successors too, will get only one share, which the person through whom they are claiming was entitled to.

When a house has been left without a will, a female heir is entitled to claim a share and stay in the house. However, only the male heir has a right to divide the property and the female heir cannot call for a partition. Despite leaving a will, it’s still necessary for the legal heirs to obtain a succession certificate from the court.  It’s the legal document that authorises the person or people obtaining it, to represent the deceased individual for the purpose of collecting debts and securities due to him or payable in his name. For obtaining the succession certificate, an application needs to be made to a magistrate or a high court.

It’s fairly evident that a will prevents a lot of problems from occurring and also ensures the efficient passing of property to the right people.




How to sell a home safely during the COVID-19 crisis?

How to sell a home safely during the COVID-19 crisis?

Can you sell a home during the Coronavirus crisis? Here are few steps you can take, to keep your real estate business going during the pandemic

Until the lockdown is over, there is little scope for buyers stepping out of their homes, for site visits or inspection. With many districts declared as containment zones and strict surveillance everywhere, social distancing is the only option. So, how do you sell a home in this scenario?

While most of the buyers and investors are keen on holding back their investment, at the same time builders are offering refundable booking deposits and other bargains. To lure these fence-sitters, sellers should have a complete plan and a list of steps to be taken, to ensure a hassle-free experience for the buyers.

Here’s News’ step-by-step guide for selling your inventory without hassle.

Prepare virtual tours

As the lockdown was announced without any prior notice, you may not have a ready Digi-tour of the unit. In this scenario, you can ask the builder to provide the necessary materials, including the brochure and images of the sample apartment if it is an under-construction project, or photos of the actual apartment if it is a ready project. You can also keep 3D floor plans handy, to explain the layout to your buyer.

If you are pitching a resale unit, the owner may have some pictures. You can also ask the owner to join the call and help the buyer to take a positive decision.

To do all this, ensure that you have a stable internet connection and a professional-looking background, to conduct the meetings.
Discuss about the location and neighbourhood

Another thing that you should keep handy, is information about the locality. To explain the nitty-gritties of the neighbourhood, you can also use Google Earth and Google Maps. This will help the buyer to understand the exact location of the project and what lies nearby.
You can also search for locality videos on the internet to justify how property prices may move, in the next few years. If you know anybody who lives in the same neighbourhood, you can ask them for help and get to know a few locational advantages. If you know an existing buyer, try getting a short video from them, explaining how they feel about investment in the project/locality.
Negotiation and final discussion over property price

As the buyer will be looking for discounts, you can include someone from the developer’s team and let them do the negotiation. While you moderate the discussion, ensure that the deal does not go awry, because of minor cost differences. Explain the benefits of investing right now and how prices may increase, once things get back to normal. With everyone looking for cost benefits, the buyer will look to you, for a beneficial deal. 

Keep the sale agreement documents ready

While the physical verification of the documents is not possible right now, you can scan the essential documents and send it across to the buyer for scrutiny. You can also ask the buyer, if they want to involve a lawyer through video conferencing. Always include a representative from the developer’s company, so that any query raised regarding the legality of the project can be easily sorted out. Once this is done, you can have another meeting with the buyer, where you involve the home loan agent for processing their loan application. Meanwhile, you can also ask for the token money from the investor.

Once the token money is received and realised by the developer’s company, you can send a confirmation about the same to your investor, from your official ID and clearly mention the terms and conditions of any refund, if possible and other details you have discussed in the earlier stages.




COVID-19: What should buyers and sellers know about the housing market?

COVID-19: What should buyers and sellers know about the housing market?

Since prime minister Modi has extended the lockdown till May 3 amid the Coronavirus outbreak, homebuyers should brace for project delays while sellers should remain patient and avoid panic selling

Nations across the world are locking themselves down as their economies suffer while the unprecedented Coronavirus pandemic continues to claim more and more lives. The economic fallout of the outbreak would also result in a 2008-like recession, only a bigger one and more widespread, say experts. While the most important thing right now is to prevent and control community outbreak in a highly populated country like India, buyers or a seller in the real estate sector should brace for some sluggishness even when this is over.

What should home buyers know?

Project delays are imminent

Housing projects which were scheduled to be delivered in March and April will be delayed as the Prime Minister had announced on March 22, 2020, a three-week lockdown across India. While the government organisations are working with limited workforce, all private companies, construction firms have been shut for this time period. Moreover, the construction material which comes from different states and regions is not in stock. There are chances that the supply will become costlier in the near future due to shortage in the market.

Only extremely urgent cases are being picked up

Since the Supreme Court is only hearing the extremely urgent matters, there are less chances of any housing project-related case getting picked up during this tenure. Similarly, other legal platforms such as National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC) and lower courts have been asked to take the Coronavirus threat seriously and work from home as much as possible.

No new insolvency/bankruptcy pleas

For insolvency related cases, the finance minister has announced that the threshold for default under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy code has been increased to Rs 1 crore from Rs 1 lakh. Also, if the situation remains the same till April 2020, Sections 7, 9 and 10 of the code will be suspended for the period of six months. That means, any financial, operational creditors, lenders including homebuyers won’t be able to file fresh insolvency petitions against the developer if the project is delayed. For cases already with the Insolvency Bench, the National Company Law Tribunal is picking up only extremely urgent cases. This also means that for the next three weeks, there will be no movement on most of the real estate cases pending with NCLT.

You cannot move to your new home right now

So, even if the structure is ready and possession and occupancy certificate is already issued, you cannot move out right now as only essential services will be available during this time period and there is no surety that even after three-weeks, if this could get better or will it be extended.

EMI-holiday of 3 months

The RBI had on March 27, 2020 asked banks to charge no penalty for three months in case of delay in EMI payments. The non-payment will not result in your loan being termed non-performing either. If you are not able to make the payment because of liquidity issues for the time being, there is no need to panic.

Property prices aren’t going to fall or rise

If you are expecting property prices to fall because of less demand or rise due to expensive construction material, you should know there is less scope for the same. While this is a temporary period when the buying is almost stalled because of restrictions, tech companies are making use of virtual reality and augmented reality to make the most of it and luring tech-savvy homebuyers. For investors, this prolonged period of lockdown might affect their liquidity due to which real estate investments will take a hit.

What should investors know?

If you are in the process of purchasing a new property or real estate asset for investment or end-use purpose, you should make a wise choice between ready-to-move-in and under-construction properties. While project delays are imminent and unavoidable, you should have a realistic approach towards it. If you are buying a ready-to-move-in property, you have to know that renting it out may not be possible in the near future. So, the monthly EMI on any home loan, will go out of your savings. Here are more pros and cons of ready-to-move-in and under-construction properties that you should know:

Ready-to-move-in Under-construction    

You will not be able to let out your property in near future, at least till the lockdown is over. Be realistic and enquire about actual delays in project delivery.    

You will not be able to register the property, due to the lockdown. You will not be eligible for the home loan EMI moratorium, if your loan is approved after March 1, 2020.    

The finishing work (carpentry, furniture, appliance delivery, etc.) can be done only when the lockdown is over. Till then, your money is stuck, if you have paid any advance for the booking. Under-construction units/projects are at more risk since a liquidity crisis might hit the developer. Moreover, the construction workforce which mostly comprises of migrant workers, have shifted back to villages.  

If you have invested in a property for self-use, you will not be able to move in, in the near future due to the lockdown, social distancing rules and lack of manpower. This means, you may have to pay rent, as well as EMI for the next few months. The supply of construction material has been hampered due to the lockdown. This could boost prices in the near future.  

What sellers should know?

Due to the prevailing market conditions, sellers who have put their property in the market have to wait longer to liquidate their asset. Here are few things that you can do for using this period to market your property effectively:

List your property online

Instead of inviting people for property visit, you can simply list your property on online portals where you can give all the requisite details. Property portals have more reach than any individual property brokers. You can publicise your property to more people in a shorter time and only those interested will make an effort to reach out to you.

Create videos of virtual property tour

To give a more detailed view of your property, you can create a video tour of your property. This can be done with a handheld camera or your smartphone camera with a decent picture quality. You can choose to upload this with your property listing or send it to those who are potential leads.

Use video conferencing for meetings

You can e-meet your potential client to discuss further negotiate the deal. Reach out to the people who might be interested in the property and discuss different prospects of buying your property now.

Rent it out

You can also rent out your property for a short time if keeping it vacant is a problem. You can also lend it to people who are in need right now and can use an accommodation till the situation is back to normal. Sellers should remember this is not the time for panic selling. You can choose to take a break from the process and start again once the market improves.




Interior and decor trends that are likely to gain preference, post the COVID-19 pandemic

Interior and decor trends that are likely to gain preference, post the COVID-19 pandemic

From home-offices and multi-functional spaces to health and hygiene, we look at how the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to bring about a change in the design of indoor and housing society spaces

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdowns, have forced most of us to be confined to our homes for the longest stretch of time, in recent memory. Never have we spent so much time indoors and never have our lives revolved entirely around our homes, the way they do now. There have been psychological, spatial and societal shifts, in architecture and design, as a result.

Home buyers have realised that their need is not just for space but for thoughtfully-designed, multi-functional and flexible interior spaces. With work-from-home now widely accepted and likely to remain a norm for some time, the need for a quiet and private space within the home, has increased. All the tasks that people have been doing in offices, in a dedicated cubicle or an enclosed office space, are now being carried out in their homes. Consequently, rooms in the house may fulfill this requirement of office spaces and also of the home that people used to return to from their offices in the pre-COVID-19 era. This will have a significant impact on interior décor.

Home transformation

Multi-functional spaces within rooms, acting as a self-sufficient ‘microcosm of the home’ and residential projects that act as miniature cities, are going to be the way forward. Each room must be able to fulfill the different needs of users throughout the day – from rest to rejuvenation and fitness to work. The kitchen, for example, can also serve as a workplace, when not used for cooking and the parlour can double-up as an indoor workout area or meditation zone. Simple things, like having a plug point for your coffee kettle next to your desk, or being able to conveniently stack up your files on a desk and have space for a snack, are things that people will look for.

The idea of a static wall within the interior space may change, as home buyers may like to change the layout, as per the needs of the day. Open-plan common spaces, which can be separated by a collapsible wall, are likely to follow. Such arrangements will be suitable for creating private spaces, which can serve as small home-offices or can be used by the children for their online schooling.
Bringing the outdoors indoors

Spaces within a project, especially the common areas of buildings and clubhouses of apartment complexes, where people would have otherwise gathered, will now be repurposed to be more utilitarian and serve purposes other than that of simply being a space for gathering and socialising. With the health risks associated with gathering in public spaces like movie theatres, or even within the society or the clubhouse, OTT platforms and other forms of online content have seen a huge spike in consumption. People’s homes will also turn into their entertainment hubs. Home theatres and personal entertainment equipment will be incorporated into the design of homes, as will be efficient and discreet storage spaces for a range of gadgets.

Health and hygiene

Sanitisation and disinfection zones, drop-off zones for deliveries and parcels, etc., will likely become a common feature at apartment and society entrance areas, with people growing more conscious of different ways of contamination. In the same light, new materials that are resistant to bacteria and viruses and ensure better hygiene, will be preferred for the construction and design of home furniture and other décor. Easier-to-clean, dust-repellent surfaces and fittings, will become par for the course. The focus will be on hygiene, ensuring that our homes are clutter-free and minimalistic, yet elegant and utilitarian.

Indoor environment

Given the growing preference among consumers, for naturally-lit, open spaces, there will be greater focus on ensuring adequate daylight and ventilation in all interior spaces. Non-VOC paints and other materials that support indoor air quality, will be preferred. Balconies will also become increasingly popular, as an interface with nature and the world outside, or as spaces for rejuvenation, without needing to step out of home.

In a nutshell, we can expect 2021 to bring in design trends around multi-functionality, flexibility and hygiene, in an easy-to-maintain, aesthetically-pleasing package, which also provides a sense of oneness with nature.




How is money refunded when a property deal is cancelled

How is money refunded when a property deal is cancelled

What are the financial and income tax consequences that follow, if a property deal is called off or cancelled? We examine

Property deals need not always culminate in the execution and registration of an agreement. Sometimes, the deal may be abandoned halfway, after the payment of token money or even after some of the payments have been made. The deal may be cancelled by either the seller or the buyer, for any reason.

Now, this is no reason for buyers to lose heart, since the seller will be responsible to refund the money they might have taken from you as the ‘token money’, as along as he is responsible for the deal falling through. Also, the terms and conditions about the refund process must be laid in the initial agreement to sell, so that no confusion remains on the subject of refund, if a deal were to fall through.

How is token money taxed?

 In case of deals for the purchase of any real estate, the buyer generally pays some amount as token money, when the other terms and conditions for the transfer of the property are agreed upon. The amount of token money may vary, from being merely a token to a substantial percentage of the value of the property. If the seller backs off from his commitment to sell his property, there are no immediate financial implications, except that the buyer gets a right to file a suit for specific performance in the courts of law. However, this is generally not resorted to.

If the buyer backs out from the deal, the seller has the right to forfeit the token money paid. With respect to such forfeited token money, the buyer cannot claim any income tax benefit, as this is treated as a capital loss under the tax laws. However, the advance money/earnest money that is forfeited, becomes an income of the seller in the year in which the deal is called off. Such forfeited earnest money is taxed under the head ‘income from other sources’ and not under the head ‘capital gains’, even though the income is received with respect to a capital asset. Before the amendment of the law in 2014, the amount of forfeited earnest money was required to be deducted from the cost of acquisition of the asset with respect to which it was received, in the year in which the asset, which is the subject matter of the deal, was sold.

Refund of stamp duty paid

Generally, for all property transactions, the buyer has to pay certain amount as stamp duty. This is either a fixed amount or a percentage of the property’s market value. You also have to pay registration charges, for registration of the agreement. The stamp duty rates and registration charges payable, are determined by the respective state governments. So, the rules for refund of stamp duty that is paid for property transactions, would vary from state to state. You are required to pay the stamp duty before the execution of the document.

In Maharashtra, you are entitled to claim refund of the stamp duty, within six months from its payment, in certain situations. You can claim the refund of stamp duty paid on such instrument, if the same has not been executed. The government deducts 1% of the stamp duty, subject to a minimum of Rs 200 and a maximum of Rs 1,000 of the stamp duty paid.

In case of cancellation of a deal for the purchase of a property and for which the agreements have already been registered, the Maharashtra government allows a longer period of two years from the date of the agreement, for claiming the refund of the stamp duty, subject to certain conditions. This refund is allowed, only if the developer fails to hand over possession of the property booked and this fact, as the reason for cancellation of the deal, is mentioned in the cancellation deed. The rules also provide that the cancellation agreement should be registered.

The buyer of the property can get a refund of 98% of the stamp duty, if an application is made for a refund of the stamp duty. With the refund application, you are required to attach the original agreement, as well as the original cancellation deed, with both the documents being registered. However, you will not get a refund of the registration charges.

Refund of GST (Goods and Services Tax)

When you book an under-construction property, as per the existing laws, the developer levies a GST on the agreement value, at a certain rate. This rate will depend on whether the property falls under the ‘affordable housing’ category or not and also on whether the developer is availing of the input credit. For any reason, if you want to cancel the booking and thus, surrender your rights over the under-construction property, the builder may agree to refund the booking amount and instalments paid, or even agree to pay a higher amount to you, depending on the demand and supply dynamics at that time. Although the developer may have collected GST from you, he may or may not agree to refund this amount, as he may have already deposited the amount to the credit of the government. The builder will not be entitled to claim any refund with respect to the GST, as he has already rendered services to you.

In case you enter into an agreement to transfer your rights in the under-construction property to a third party, with the developer being the confirming party, your sale price would be inclusive of the GST and you will not be able to separately recover or charge any GST on such transaction. While computing the capital gains, the GST that is already paid by you, will form part of the cost of acquisition. The capital gains will be taxable as long-term, if your holding period has been three years, or else, the profits, if any realised, will be taxed as short-term capital gains.

Word of caution

As it is possible that the property deal may not move in the direction you intended it to, buyers must keep in mind certain points, to safeguard their interests. The first step in that direction, is to avoid paying any money in cash. If money is paid in cash, the seller might later refuse to return the money, if there is no legal proof that you made the payment.

Also, every effort should be made to avoid any dispute during the process. While buyers have several legal recourse available to seek relief, the process to claim that relief is often long drawn and monetarily expensive. In your best interest, sit across the table and discuss the matter with the other party. They too, surely, do not want to be dragged to the courts, which would result in them losing time and money.

Unless you have been dealing with an absolutely honest party, you run the risk of losing time, money and energy, if you depend solely on verbal commitments, without giving this commitment a legal form by way of documentation. This is why buyers must always insist on getting everything in written at every juncture of the transaction




Madras HC: Completion certificate must for civic connections

Madras HC: Completion certificate must for civic connections

In a recent judgement, the Madras High Court (HC) has reinstated the requirement of obtaining a Completion Certificate (CC) is mandatory before applying for civic connections such as water and electricity.

In a significant judgement, the Madras High Court (HC) has ruled that without obtaining the Completion Certificate (CC), a building is not eligible to get electricity and water connection. Earlier in 2018, the Tamil Nadu government had made the completion certificate mandatory before obtaining utility connections like power, water and sewage. However, the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) had withdrawn the requirement.

After the civil society organisation opposed the order, the High Court had reinstated the requirement of obtaining a completion certificate before applying for new civic amenities connections. In the past, the State government introduced the rules based on the statutory provisions of the Tamil Nadu Combined Development and Building Rules, 2019.

The step has been taken to keep a check on the spread of illegal colonies and encroachments in the State. However, a sudden withdrawal was likely to motivate the illegal occupants to obtain civic connections on temporary structures.





Tamil Nadu RERA: No punishment for land owners in joint ventures

Tamil Nadu RERA: No punishment for land owners in joint ventures

The Tamil Nadu Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Tamil Nadu RERA), in its order, has stated that land owners, part of a joint venture project, are not party to a case if a sale deed for Undivided Share (UDS) is executed in favour of homebuyers.

The Tamil Nadu Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Tamil Nadu RERA) has recently ruled that land owners who are part of a joint venture residential real estate project, having entered into a Power of Attorney (PoA) with its developers, are not party to litigation if Undivided Share (UDS) has been registered for property buyers.
G Saravanan, Adjudicating Officer, Tamil Nadu RERA, in the order on the litigated project, has stated that the land owners of the said project had executed a Power of Attorney in favour of the real estate developer. In turn, the developer had executed a sale deed for UDS in favour of the respective homebuyers and had also signed a construction agreement for the delivery of housing units.

Only the first respondent in the case (a company registered under the Companies Act) falls under the definition of the promoter under the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) and therefore, can be made liable by homebuyers for any contravention of the provisions of the said Act, adds Saravanan.
With regards to a previous order in a similar case, Tamil Nadu RERA has clarified that the earlier case was a situation of land owners who had executed a power of attorney to a third party and not in favour of the respective developer. In addition to that, a sale deed for UDS had not been executed in favour of the property buyer.





Tamil Nadu records highest property registrations in three years

Tamil Nadu records highest property registrations in three years

Sub-registrar offices across Tamil Nadu witnessed property registrations of over 21,300 units on December 14, 2020. This number is said to be the highest number of property registrations for one day in the last three years.

Tamil Nadu recorded the highest one-day property registrations since 2018, on Monday, December 14. Sub-registrar offices across the State recorded a total of 21,341 property registrations, accumulating a revenue volume to the tune of Rs.110 crore.

Much of the one-day spike in property registrations is owed to the fact that Monday was the last auspicious day of the Tamil month of Karthigai before the commencement of Marghazhi when most people avoid registering land documents. As per official sources, the second highest number of land registrations were observed on October 29, 2020 with the total number at 20,307, and 19,769 were recorded on September 14.

These are the three highest registration numbers since the launch of the Simplified and Transparent Administration of Registration (STAR) 2.0, which had taken the property registration process online. It is surprising that the highest number of land registrations happened in 2020, after the registration department resumed operations since the COVID-19 outbreak.




Construction cost to spike by 15 percent in Tamil Nadu

Construction cost to spike by 15 percent in Tamil Nadu

The overall cost of building a home has witnessed a surge in Tamil Nadu, as the prices of various raw materials such as cement and steel have shot up by nearly 15 percent from the projected estimates.

The prices of various construction raw materials in Tamil Nadu have surged past initially projected estimates. With the exception of M-sand, the cost of most other raw materials such as cement and steel have shot up at a time when the real estate sector is slowly recovering from the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The price of a 50 kg bag of 53 grade cement has increased by Rs.90 and the cost of steel has increased by Rs.22,000 per tonne over the past 18 months. A 12 percent hike was witnessed in the cost of electric cables, while plumbing materials such as PVC pipes have become 14 percent more expensive on average.

With the increase in daily wages for laborers from Rs.100 to Rs.150 per day added to the revised prices of raw materials, construction costs in Tamil Nadu have climbed considerably. S Ramaprabhu, State Treasurer, Builders Association of India, has observed that individuals would have to spend 15 percent more for building their dream homes.




Why should bathrooms be Vastu compliant?

Why should bathrooms be Vastu compliant?

Most families put a great deal of energy and effort, in designing and remodelling their living space. The reasoning behind this, is that the drawing room and hall are the areas that your guests see and hence, it should be presentable. However, home owners need to give equal importance to every room, because every space can be moulded to emit positive energy. Bathrooms and toilets are often the most neglected spaces. It is unwise to leave a much-frequented space uncared for. A bathroom/toilet space that is not Vastu-compliant, can lead to financial issues or loss of wealth or even health issues for family members, stress or even minor accidents. If you are looking to construct or remodel your bathroom or rectify the Vastu of the bathroom, here are some tips to begin with:

Bathroom direction as per Vastu

The bathroom must be in the north or north-west portion of your house. Do not build the bath area in the south direction or even in the south-east or south-west direction, as it is said to have a negative impact on the health of the people in the house. The toilet should be constructed one to two feet higher than the ground level.

Vastu for bathroom utilities and fixtures

Mirrors in the bathroom should be put up on the northern or eastern wall of the bathroom.
Electrical fittings, such as geysers, can be placed in the south-east side.
Exhaust fans, or if you have a window for ventilation, must face the east or north-east direction.
Washbasins should be in the east, north or north-east part of the bathroom.
The shower should also be located in the east, north or north-east part.
The washing machine should be placed in the south-east and north-west direction.

Vastu for bathroom doors

Bathroom doors should be in the north or east direction.
Use a wooden door and avoid metal doors. Avoid ornate statues of gods and goddesses on the bathroom doors.
Bathroom doors should be kept closed at all times, as it is said that leaving it open could let negative energy pervade into your personal relationships.

Vastu colours for bathrooms

Opt for light colours for the bathroom, such as beige and cream. Avoid colours such as black and dark blue or even red. Other suitable colours for your bathroom are brown and even white. Many people choose dark tiles or paint for their bath spaces but it is not recommended as per Vastu. From a cleanliness perspective also, lighter colours will help you spot dirt and help you attend to such areas.

Wall-sharing with the bathroom

According to bedroom Vastu principles, beds should not be placed close to the bathroom or toilet space. Ensure that the bathroom does not share its wall with your bedroom or your kitchen or sanctified places like the pooja room.

Vastu for bathroom drainage

Water outlets and drainage must be in the north, east or north-east and the slope of the bathroom should be in the same direction. 
Vastu for attached and separate bathrooms
Ideally, toilets and bathrooms should not be attached, as per Vastu Shastra. However, due to space crunch, most urban homes cannot afford such a facility. Therefore, attached bathrooms are popular and widely used.

Vastu rules for bathroom with attached toilet

Placement of commode or water closet

This should not be above or under a pooja room or even a fire or bed space. It should be aligned in the north-south axis.

Placement of toilet

Avoid installing the toilet in the centre or even in the north east or south-west corner of your house.

Placement of septic tank

Septic tanks should not be on the south side of the toilet. Its best location is towards the west side of the house or the north-west of the house. The tank must be higher than the floor level of the building.

Placement of attached toilet

An attached toilet should not be in the south-east or south-west side.

Placement of taps and water storage

Do not put taps in the south-west or south-east. Also, do not store water in this direction.
If you go through the rules for construction of a bathroom and toilet space within your home, you will understand that the Vastu Shastra is not just about ensuring positive energy within your household but following these rules will also help you keep your space hygienic and utilitarian at all times.

Vastu and stage of construction

It is better to incorporate Vastu elements, right when you begin the construction. It may be difficult to incorporate changes once the house is ready for possession, complete with all the pipelines, properly arranged shelves and the direction of the washbasins, bathtubs, etc., already fixed. This may even result in a negative impact after setting in

How to remove negative energy from the bathroom?

Vastu says that both glass and salt are factors of Rahu.  You could place a glass cup filled with salt in the bath and toilet space. It is said to remove Vastu defects.





Everything you need to know about rent agreements

Everything you need to know about rent agreements

Since home ownership may sometimes be inconvenient or unaffordable, a majority of the migrant working population in India’s major cities live in rented homes. For this, the tenant signs a rent agreement with the landlord, which includes the terms and conditions that shall be binding on both the parties. 

Draft model tenancy act

To promote rental housing in India, the government has formulated a draft policy, the draft Model Tenancy Act, 2020, to make the transaction beneficial for both, landlords and tenants. The provisions laid under this model policy, are intended to serve as guiding principles while drafting a rent agreement. According to the union housing secretary, the policy, which is likely to replace the existing laws on rental housing across India soon, will unlock over one crore units in India’s rental housing markets.

With the expiry of the October 31, 2020, deadline to send their suggestions on the policy document, the draft model tenancy act may soon become a law. The Chandigarh union territory administration has already started the process to implement the model act. 

Legal validity of rent agreement

To save costs, tenants and landlords sometimes reach a verbal agreement about the tenancy and avoid executing a rent agreement. Some may also document the arrangement and put terms and conditions with respect to the tenancy but decide not to register the document. This is because both parties will be responsible to pay a registration charge if a rent agreement is created and registered. The landlord will also be obliged to report his rental income, once the rent agreement finds legal validity. However, entering into a rental agreement without registration is illegal and could prove to be a risky business for both parties, especially in case of a future dispute.

Until a rent agreement is registered with the sub-registrar’s office, it has no legal validity. It is in the favour of both the parties, to draft an agreement with specific terms and conditions and to get it registered. After drafting the rent agreement, the landlord should print it on stamp paper. Once the tenant and the landlord sign the documents in the presence of two witnesses, they should register it at the sub-registrar’s office, after paying the required fee.

After states set up rent authorities in cities following the implementation of the draft law, landlords and tenants would have to be present before the authority to get the rent agreement registered. 

Documents needed for rent agreement registration 


Two passport-sized photos.

Aadhaar card.

Identity proof (driving licence, voter card or passport).    


Two passport-sized photos.

Aadhaar card.

Voter ID card.

Passport for people from outside India.  

Details to be included in the rent agreement

Key details included in a standard rent agreement are:

Names and addresses of the tenant and the landlord.

Signatures of the tenant and the landlord.

Monthly rental amount.

Security deposit.

Maintenance charges.

Period of stay.

Responsibilities/rights of the landlord.

Responsibilities/rights of the tenant.

Stamp duty on rent agreement

You have to pay a stamp duty while registering the rent agreement, which will vary, depending on the city where it is registered. This amount is paid, by purchasing the stamp paper of value you owe to the government. In Delhi, the stamp duty is payable at 2% of the average annual rent, in the case of lease agreements for a term of up to five years. In Noida, one has to pay 2% of the annual rent as stamp duty, for rent agreements of up to 11 months. 

e-stamping of rent agreement

In some states, where the e-stamping facility for rental agreements is available, you do not have to physically buy the stamp paper. You can log on to the Stock Holding Corporation of India Ltd (SHCIL) website and check, if the state where you reside offers this facility. Presently, Assam, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Delhi-NCR, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, allow e-stamping of rent agreements. 

Rent agreement: Important terms and conditions

For tenants

Security deposit and token amount: The agreement must clearly mention the security deposit and what happens to it, when you leave the premises. It should also mention the token amount that the landlord has received from you.

Number of occupants: The agreement must state what happens, if your family members join you in future.

Repairs: The agreement must mention who will bear the costs associated with wear and tear.

Maintenance: The agreement must clearly state who will be liable to pay the monthly maintenance charges.

Visitors: The agreement must include a clause on who can visit you and at what time.

Pet policy: Do check out if your landlord will allow you to keep pets, if you were to adopt one.

Rent receipt: To get the tax benefits on the HRA component of your salary, you will have to submit the rent receipts with your employer. Make sure you take these receipts from your landlord, after making the payment. These do not necessarily have to be taken every month and could be taken on a quarterly, half-yearly or an annual basis.

For landlords

Conditions to vacate your property.

Visiting hours.

Damages to property and its consequences on the tenant.

Rules on subletting. 

Rent hike

Under the provisions of the Draft Model Tenancy Act, 2019, landlords cannot implement any hike in the pre-fixed rent for the entire period for which a rent agreement has been signed. If the rent agreement expires after 11 months, for example, the landlord cannot hike the monthly rent during this period. It is only after this period and at the time of the registration of the new rent agreement that the landlord is legally empowered to effect a hike in rate, typically not exceeding 10% of the existing amount. Also, the landlord will have to give three months’ notice to the tenant, before increasing the rent according to the draft act.

Penalty for delay in rent payment

The draft law also states that tenants extending their stay in a rented accommodation as mentioned in the agreement ,will be liable to pay double the rent amount for the first two months and four times the rent in the subsequent months.

Is it compulsory to register a rent agreement?

Note here that notarised rent agreements are not the same as registered documents. In case of a dispute between the landlord and the tenant, the court will not admit a notarised agreement as proof. Hence, it is important to get the rent agreement duly registered.




10 things housing societies must know to fight Coronavirus

10 things housing societies must know to fight Coronavirus

The COVID-19 or Coronavirus outbreak has brought the world to a near-halt situation. We discuss rights, responsibilities, powers, dos and don’ts for RWAs and housing society residents.

The Coronavirus scare is getting more and more attention every day. The exponential growth of outbreaks such as this, calls for preparedness and not panic. Over two lakh people globally have been caught in the grip of this virus while thousands have lost their lives. World-over, schools have shut their gates as have gyms, swimming pools, cinema halls, parks and such other social areas where people come together. Offices too have tried experimenting with the work-from-home method and housing societies have seen people staying indoors. Do all of these steps add to your worry?

Housing societies and apartment complexes are bringing in rules to ensure that every family is safe. Take for example, Prestige St Johnswood in Bengaluru. The rules laid out in this society has asked every resident to self-declare if he/she suspects or is tested positive for COVID-19. Not just government and medical officials, housing societies too are insisting that strict measures should be followed. Here’s a guide to help you navigate these uncertain times.

1. Rules to follow if you are suspecting a coronavirus infection reached out to Dr Gaurav Singh, Senior Medical Officer, Central Hospital, Central Coalfields Ltd and Ex-Resident, AIIMS Bhubaneshwar, to help our readers with medical solutions. “Those who do not have the symptoms but were exposed to an infected person should go in for quarantine. This is different from self-isolation. The latter is for those who are already sick. You isolate yourself so that you do not pass on the infection to anyone else. It is recommended for a period of 14 days when a sick person should refrain from going outside the house or using public transport. If you need medicines, get them delivered to your home and don’t run unnecessary errands.” The self-isolation period can stretch depending on how long the person is showing the symptoms.

2. Rules to be followed by family members of a person infected by Coronavirus

 “Minimum interaction is the key but it is not totally possible especially if you are living as a family,” says Dr Ratneshwar Prasad Singh, Communicable Diseases Officer at Sadar Hospital, Chhapra. He has the following advice for such families:

• Only one family member should help the infected person if the latter needs help.

• Do not handle the used-clothes of such a patient directly with your hands. Do not wash these in the washing machine along with clothes of other family members.

• Use a sanitiser before and after meeting the infected person. Change your clothes if they have touched you by mistake.

• In case a family member is tested positive for COVID-19, it is important that all other family members also quarantine themselves for a period of 14 days even though there may not be any symptoms. If there are symptoms, immediately get yourself tested too.

• All items and surfaces touched by the infected person should be disinfected. This includes table, chairs, shelves, toilets, clothes, utensils, etc.

• Separate personal care items like soaps, shampoo, towels. Do not use the same bathrooms, if possible.

• Self-declare the condition to your housing society or neighbours so that you do not have any visitors during such a period.

Additionally, if possible an isolation room in your house should also be equipped with gloves, hair cover, masks, gowns, hand-rubs, liquid soap, single-use towels, disinfectants and surface cleansers, large disposable bags with instructions on it to be handled with precaution.

In case of an emergency, call on the coronavirus helpline number in your state for the way forward.

3. Rules for other residents in the housing society to help prevent spread of Coronavirus

 “First of all, there is no need to panic. If you are maintaining a social distance, there are least chances of an infection,” says Dr Gaurav. For housing society residents who are in the know of an infected person or a suspected case near them, the following steps should be taken:

• Do not visit or come in contact with anyone who has a recent history of having travelled back from a corona-affected region.

• If you have, by chance, come into contact and show certain symptoms, quarantine yourself till you feel alright and the lab results are negative.

• Avoid assemblies and congregation to maintain a safe distance from other people.

• Depending upon your state authority, if COVID-19 cases are being reported from a particular colony, town, settlement, the district administration may even ask to seal the area, bar entry and exits, ban vehicular movement in the area, initiate passive and active surveillance, designate certain buildings for isolation. If you feel that this must be done, do not hesitate to inform the authorities.

4. Expectations from housing society residents to help prevent spread of Coronavirus

Dr Nileena Koshy, Additional Professor of Community Medicine at Government Medical College, Manjeri, Kerala, says “A stand-still is not possible but should be adhered to as much as possible.” While housing society residents continue to inhabit the neighbourhood, there are some tips you should follow to ensure that you are not traumatising the family in any way.

• Do not ostracise an affected family. It is harassment and causes trauma to everyone in the family.

• You can always help by giving provisions or any medical supply, to the family. Just leave it at their doorstep. Don’t enter the premises.

• Quarantine is just physical isolation. Do keep in touch with the family by means of other mediums such as WhatsApp or phone calls.

• Respect their need for privacy.

“In cultures where social-distancing is common, such as in Singapore, the coronavirus outbreak can be checked. It is not so easy in India where people like to meet and greet closely. Therefore, quarantine and self-isolation may be difficult but should not be ignored,” emphasises Koshy.

5. Tips to use common utilities to help prevent spread of Coronavirus

Delhi’s Mayur Vihar I, Pocket 1, Resident Welfare Association’s vice-president Man Mohan Singh says that their staff is monitoring the use of common areas and facilities in the locality. It is advisable that:

• Playgrounds with swings and slides should be closed temporarily so that children who are at home these days are not tempted to use these.

• Indoor sports areas, gyms, common yoga or meditation rooms should not be frequented now.

• Avoid going to clubhouses even if it is within your society.

• Do not use common taps, public washrooms and toilets as much as possible.

• If your apartment/building is provided with lift, restrict the use. If that is not possible, ensure that you are using a handrub or a sanitiser immediately after.

• Ensure that reception areas or lounges within such societies should be used only if necessary. Ensure that the housekeeping staff are in proper gear to clean such areas.

• Medicial and other waste from an infected person should not be dumped in open dumping grounds either. Alert sanitation workers and secure the waste in multiple bags so that the workers do not come in contact with these. Unfortunately, while some societies insist on segregating bio-degradable, non-degradable and medical waste, some others do not. This prevents thorough treating of infectious waste.

• Be careful while using or handling milk bags, elevator buttons, door knobs, door bells, newspapers, car doors, counters at shops, couriers, shared cabs, public transport, shoes, garden seats, grocery items, currency notes, ATMs, etc. It has been estimated that coronavirus can live on certain surfaces up to three days and therefore, it is better not to take risks.

6. A code of conduct to be practised in society premises to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus

• Do not assemble in large groups, postpone any celebration your housing society might have planned.

• Ensure that kids are taught about hygiene. Give them alternative play options at home or engage them in creative and entertaining ways.




Decor tips for compact homes

A small home should not dampen your enthusiasm to decorate it. There are many creative ways to
make one’s home comfortable and appear spacious. Here are some useful tips

Due to the high cost of living, soaring property rates and growing number of nuclear families, the
demand for compact homes is on the rise. However, the main challenge, vis-à-vis compact homes, is to
ensure that the small space is designed aesthetically. The trick lies in optimising the available space, for
a comfortable home.

“The interiors should be designed in such a way that the house doesn’t look overdone or cramped with
various elements. A minimalistic design approach, will not only give a subtler look to the house, but also
make it appear spacious,” says architect Ricky Doshi of ARD Studio, Mumbai.

Keep the decor simple to make the home look bigger

The various spaces in the house, should be well-defined and serve the intended purpose. “Simplicity
doesn’t mean that one must adopt only contemporary design concepts. Even classical designs can be
achieved with simplicity,” maintains Doshi, adding that home owners should avoid filling their homes
with a lot of furniture and only use pieces that are unobtrusive and leave ample floor space.

Multi-functional furniture

Furniture that can be folded away and multi-functional units, such as a wardrobe-cum-study unit, are
ideal for small homes, points out Gita Ramanan, founder and chief designer, Design Café, Bengaluru.
“One can also choose sofa-cum-beds or Murphy beds that fold into the walls or a trundle bed below a
single bed, in place of traditional beds,” Ramanan advises.

Compact storage

“Every home needs adequate storage space but it should not be an eyesore. One can try innovative
ways to add storage – for example, the four inches of space below wardrobes, which is left as a skirting,
can be converted into drawers to add 15% more space,” suggests Ramanan.

Use mirrors and glass

“Glass is one material, which not only adds a sleek look to the décor but is also ideal for a minimalistic
design. One can use glass on wardrobe shutters and bathroom doors. Smaller spaces can also be made
to look larger, by simply positioning a mirror in the right place,” adds Doshi.

Light and colours

Light shades and soft textures give depth to a small space. In a small home, the entire interior will be visible in a single sweep of the eye. Hence, home owners should be careful, to select the right colour scheme for their home’s interiors and also plan the home’s lighting, accordingly.

This can be achieved through a combination of direct and indirect lighting, mood lighting, backlit wall panels and lamp, to create an interesting effect.

Tips, to make a small home appear large

  • Choose one colour that is repetitive in the room (for example, in artifacts and furnishings) and introduce a contrast colour in one striking piece.
  • Opt for bunk beds that include a study table, wardrobe or storage space for books. You can also choose models where the lower bed can be folded away, to create space for the children to play.
  • While selecting important furniture pieces like dining tables or sofa sets, choose models that have built-in storage options. If there is no space for side tables, opt for beds that have storage in headboards.




Gift deed or a will: Which is a better option to transfer property

Gift deed or a will: Which is a better option to transfer property

Properties can be transferred to someone you love, without any consideration, by way of a gift or through a will. We examine the pros and cons of each method

Transfer of property by way of gift

If you wish to transfer a property, so as to make the donee enjoy the property immediately, this can be done by way of a gift. You can gift a self-acquired property to anyone, as long as you are competent to contract, as per the provisions of the Indian Contract Act. Any person who is of sound mind and not a minor, can enter into any contract, as long as he is not an undischarged insolvent. An immovable property can be gifted, by executing a gift deed. You need to pay stamp duty on the market value of the property, as on the date of execution of the gift deed. In case the gift is to be made in favour of certain close relatives, some states like Maharashtra have provisions for concession in payment of stamp duty.

A gift may be made in favour of any person who is living at the time of making the gift. The gift also has to be accepted by the donee, or anyone else on his behalf, during the lifetime of the person making the gift. As per the provisions of the Transfer of Property Act, every transaction, which involves transfer of an immovable property, over the value of one hundred rupees, needs to be registered with the office of the registrar of the area. Moreover, in case the gift is intended to be made in favour of a person who is not your relative as per the definition of the provisions of Section 56(2) and the value of the property which is the subject matter of the gift exceeds Rs 50,000, as on the date of the gift, although you do not have any tax implications for such gifts, the recipient of such property has to include the market value of the property in his total income in the year of the receipt and has to pay appropriate tax on such gifts.

Transfer of property through a will

A transfer of any property can also be made by way of execution of a will but the vesting of the property will take effect, after the death of the person executing the will. As per the prevalent laws, a will is neither required to be stamped, nor is it required to be registered. So, a will is the cheapest mode of transferring your property, to the persons whom you wish to.

Although registration of a will is not mandatory, it is always advisable to register the will, to minimise any litigation with respect to succession of your properties. There is no estate duty payable by the person who succeeds to the asset of the deceased. Moreover, any asset inherited, either under a will or through the laws of succession, is exempt from income tax laws, as well as Section 56(2), which treats certain transfer of assets without adequate consideration or with an inadequate consideration, as income of the recipient.

After one’s death the assets can be inherited by people in two ways. The assets owned by the person at the time of his death, will pass on to his relatives as per the provisions of succession applicable to the deceased, in case no will is executed. In case a will is executed by the deceased, the assets will be inherited by the people named in the will. In case all the assets are not covered under the will, the assets that are not covered, will be inherited by the legal heirs of the deceased as per the succession law.

Under the law of succession applicable to Hindus, there are no restrictions on a person in bequeathing his assets to anyone to the exclusion of his legal heirs. Under the Muslim laws, a Muslim cannot bequeath more than one-third of his assets under a will.

Gift versus will: Which option should a property owner choose?

The answer to this question is difficult, as circumstances for every person are different. However, one can consider certain points, before deciding on a specific course of action. If your wish is only to ensure that the assets owned by you pass on to persons of your choice, only after death and you want to enjoy and have control over those assets during your lifetime, then, bequeathing your assets through a will is advisable. A will is also advisable when you want to ensure a smooth succession of your assets after your death and where your purpose is to let your nominees inherit your properties.
However, if you want to help someone who is in need of immediate help, it can only be achieved through the execution of a gift. Transfer of properties through a gift, should be resorted to only when it is needed under specific circumstances. If you transfer all or a substantial portion of your assets to your legal heirs, it may leave you in a difficult position in your old age.

Likewise, it is not advisable to transfer your properties just for the sake of tax planning, as it would be unwise to lose control of your assets, just to save some money in taxes. However, in case you wish to transfer a part of your estate during your lifetime, to avoid any litigation around the properties, then, resorting to a gift is advisable.




How can I transfer my home loan?

How can I transfer my home loan?

A borrower who wishes to transfer his/her home loan, should keep a watch on the interest rates that one is paying, as well as periodical offers made by banks, from time to time

A borrower can shift the home loan to any other lender, who is willing to offer better interest rates. At times, a home loan applicant may also want to increase the loan’s tenure, due to various reasons. A customer may also want to transfer the loan, if s/he wants a top-up loan on the existing loan and the present lender is not willing to offer the same.

What is the process for transferring a home loan?

To transfer a home loan, the existing lender needs to be paid first, before it releases the original documents of the property. However, the new lender will not issue a cheque, unless it receives the original property documents. So, how does one resolve this catch-22 situation? A borrower can request his/her existing lender, to issue a letter to the prospective lender. This letter should mention the list of documents related to the property lying with the present lender, the outstanding loan amount, and an undertaking that the bank will hand over the property documents to the prospective lender, on payment of the outstanding amount.

The new lender will also carry out a due diligence check on the property and the customer, to assess the title of the property and the repayment capabilities and track record of the borrower.
The new lender may not be willing to transfer the loan, unless you have a good repayment history and your credit report is also good

What are the charges involved for transferring a home loan?

For shifting your home loan from one lender to another, you may have to pay charges to both lenders.

The existing bank may levy prepayment charges on the loan. Banks and housing finance companies are not allowed to levy any prepayment charges on floating rate home loans. Even in case of fixed rate home loans, housing finance companies cannot levy this penalty, if the borrower prepays the loan out of one’s own funds, other than by borrowing from any financial institution.

The borrower may also have to pay the processing charges to the new lender. This may vary from 0.2% to 0.75%, from one lender to another and also depends on the applicant’s profile. At times, banks may waive the transfer fee or charge a nominal amount.

Applicants should remember that the processing fee payable to the bank is negotiable and consequently, they should bargain to minimise the amount or for a waiver of the transfer processing fee.
Although the new lender may not charge you anything for processing of your balance transfer application, you may still have to pay the stamp duty and registration charges for the mortgage. One may also have to pay the valuation charges, in case the bank decides to go for a fresh valuation of the property, either for top-up loans or where the property is not approved by the lender.




Top 5 mistakes to avoid when investing in commercial real estate

Top 5 mistakes to avoid when investing in commercial real estate

There are some common mistakes you can avoid, to make the best of your investment in commercial property. Here’s our top 5.
Real estate investment is more of a science than an art and requires careful planning and assessment of various factors. All the more care is needed if you are investing in commercial real estate since the ticket size of investment is usually high and there are lot of factors that determine the returns and price appreciation in such type of property. The commercial real estate market is dynamic and various aspects that determine the rent earning potential and even property price rise, change from time to time. Change of government or change of policies can also have a huge impact on the potential of the property to earn for you. Environmental impact in a particular area and consequently new laws relating to the protection of Mother Earth in a particular locality or zone, can also affect the earning potential of a building.

We take a look at some of the common traps or even oversights that investors should avoid when investing in commercial real estate:

1. Use of the word Proforma

Sellers or brokers usually offer documents and reports of the earning potential and income-generating capacity of the property. There are times when the word ‘Proforma’ is attached alongside the earning projections. This is a Latin phrase and it  means ‘for the sake of form or appearance’. The reports and documents elaborating future income generation capability of the property is based on imaginary factors. Be very realistic in assessment of the income earning potential of the property. This can be done by looking at the neighbouring properties and overall real estate market scenario in the area.

2. Not surveying the property completely

Most sellers and brokers will take you to only the best parts of the building when you visit the property before making the investment. These parts will either be free of damages or renovated after an event like a fire. You must insist on looking at the whole building and every corner of it. If the property is used for industrial purpose, look at all the warehouses that store raw material. The stores, where raw material is kept are usually the worst parts of the property and may require huge renovation soon after you purchase the property. You must also carefully look at a recently renovated part of the building, if any, and see if the repair work has been done with due diligence or will cause a problem soon after you have purchased the property.

3. Environmental laws and limitations

Be very careful about the  environmental laws are applicable in the locality or zone where you are contemplating investment. Usually, the seller or the broker will not even talk about it. It is for the buyer to know the kind of activities that are allowed in the locality and the zone. Blocking your money in a property to carry out a certain type of business and then finding out that the activity is not even allowed in the locality, can be really unfortunate. Hiring an expert for this purpose and cross-checking with a neutral broker in the locality, will be a good idea.

4. Not looking at tenants and their earnings

If you are investing in a building that already has tenants, then have a close look at the tenancy. What are the kind of stores there and what is their sales on a monthly and annual basis. Knowing the rent to sales ratio will also give you an idea whether there is a good possibility of the tenants to stay on for long periods or not. A rent to sales ratio of under 5 per cent is considered good. This means that the rent should not be more than 5 per cent or so of the sales. If the rent to sales ratio is more than this threshold, you could avoid investing in the building since the tenants may move out sooner than later. A closer look at the lease durations and lease deeds of each tenant will also help. If most tenants in the commercial building have signed short term deeds, then there are greater chances of you sitting with vacant showrooms and office spaces in the building in a few years or months down the line, which means lower income for you. Usually it takes a while to find a new tenant for an outgoing one and the space sits vacant for the intervening period.

5. Hidden charges

There are a lot of fees and charges that are sometimes hidden in the property documents and the sale terms by the seller of the property and by the broker. These can be statutory and local taxes that the seller is responsible for paying. There can also be impending repairs but the seller is trying to pass off the repair burden to you. There can be insurance of the building that is still continuing and the seller may be billing you for the premium. There is usually no harm in buying a building that is under insurance by the previous owner but the insurance policy would have been taken according to the needs of the previous owner and may not be fruitful to you and for the kind of use you will put the property to. For example, the previous owner might have stored some kind of raw material in the building and taken insurance for that particular substance or raw material. You may not be storing such raw material at all and hence, that policy may not be meaningful to you.





Things to do, before starting your property search

Things to do, before starting your property search

There is always a time gap between the decision to buy a house and actually buying it. We look at the preparatory work that home seekers need to do in the interim period, for the funding of the house

Selecting the house of your choice may take its own time but you need to plan for the finances to fund the purchase, in advance.

Obtain your credit report

It is almost impossible for one to buy a house, without borrowing either from friends and relatives or by taking a home loan or a combination of both. When you apply for a home loan, the lender accesses your credit history, from a credit information bureau like CIBIL. The credit report/score obtained from the credit bureau, is a reflection of your credit behaviours. The credit report contains historical data about applications and transactions pertaining to loans, credit cards, etc., and the score is prepared on the basis of information reported by various financial institutions

The lender takes decisions on whether to lend or not, based on your credit history. It is possible that a default by someone else, may be reflected in your report, thereby, adversely affecting your credit score. This may jeopardise your chances of borrowing temporarily, till the error is rectified. In case any such transactions are included in your report, you need to approach the credit information bureau, as well as the bank, to rectify such mistakes. This process may take some time. Therefore, it is in your own interest to access this report in advance, which is available for free to you, to understand the data in it about you.

Frequent enquiries for personal loans and credit cards, adversely affect your credit score. Hence, one should refrain from applying for too many credit cards or for personal loans, in case you wish to take a home loan in the near future.

In-principle approval for home loan

There is a general perception that you cannot apply for a home loan, unless you have identified the property to be bought, which is not true. Once you have ensured that you have a good credit score, you can apply for a home loan, without having to wait for the finalisation of the property purchase. It is always better to apply for the home loan, even if you haven’t yet identified the property which you wish to buy.

Applying for a home loan before finalising the property, will give you a broad idea on whether you will get a home loan or not and also about the amount you are eligible for, based on your income. Once you know your home loan eligibility and the resources at your disposal, you will be able to arrive at the budget for the property. This will also help you to reduce the time required for disbursement of the home loan, after the property documents are submitted. The presence of a sanction letter, will also reassure the seller, ensuring that the deal is finalised at the earliest and smoothly. The sanction letter issued by the lender for the home loan, is generally valid for a limited period, beyond which you may have to pay nominal commitment charges.

Arrangement of funds to buy the property

Once you have decided on the budget for your house and have ascertained your home loan eligibility, you have to arrange for the balance amount, which is called as the ‘margin money’. As banks are allowed to fund only up to 80% of the cost of the property, excluding the stamp duty and registration charges, you are required to arrange the remaining 20% and the expenses towards stamp duty and registration charges. In all probability, you may have already invested your funds in the past, in different asset classes. In order to ensure that the property purchase goes through smoothly, you need to collect the margin money in one place. If you do not wish to take a home loan, you will have to arrange for the entire fund.

If your savings have been invested in equity shares or equity mutual funds, it is advisable to liquidate these saving well in advance. This is because equity investments are very volatile and it is impossible to predict the market levels, at the time you need to pay the seller. The markets may fall, resulting in a substantial reduction in the value of your investments. So, liquidate your equity investments and put the money in funds such as saving accounts, which earn you as much interest as fixed deposits.

In case your savings have been given as loans, you should liquidate these loans, as well and put the money in a liquid fund. This is because you may not be able to recover your loans in full, when you need the money.




A quick guide to choosing between a ready-to-move-in and under-construction house

A quick guide to choosing between a ready-to-move-in and under-construction house

When it comes to buying a house, should a property seeker choose a ready-to-move-in house or an under-construction one? We explain the crucial differences between the two, to help you arrive at a decision

While buying a property is no easy task, another decision that compounds the dilemma for home buyers, is whether to choose a ready-to-move-in house or an under-construction one. While there are advantages and disadvantages to both options, the choice will depend on various aspects like, what the buyer is looking for, his needs/requirements an whether one is buying for investment or end-use.

According to Amit B Wadhwani, managing director of Sai Estate Consultants, buying an under-construction property makes sense, if one is looking at it from an investment perspective, while a ready-to-move house makes more sense, if the buyer is looking for accommodation. “As the buyer is also spending his earnings on the property, it should bring profit. The investment should help the buyer in the long run, wherein, he can sell the property, if need be,” adds Wadhwani.

Points to consider, while choosing a ready-to-move-in property

Choosing a ready-to-move-in flat, helps the buyer to avoid costs associated with living in a rental accommodation and the long wait in big cities, for an under-construction project to be completed. It also gives the home buyer a sense of security. Moreover, the buyer can check the neighbours and the infrastructure in the vicinity of the house, before buying the property.

“When opting for a ready-to-move-in house, a buyer gets what he sees, without the risk of any potential changes in the future. Other factors that influence buyers to purchase ready-to-move-in flats, include the construction quality, which can be verified before purchase, the social and physical infrastructure, availability of loan facilities and the low overall risk. Lastly, buyers do not have to have to wait or face the risk of delays and escalating costs,” explains Hiral Sheth, head of the department, marketing, Sheth Creators.

Manish Kadam, an assistant account manager in a media agency, who bought a house in Virar, in Mumbai, states that the best part of buying a readymade house, is the absence of a waiting period. “There is a lot of inventory in the real estate sector, which gives the home buyer a broad choice of location, configuration and low risk, as the ready-to-move-in segment has no construction delays. The GST (Goods and Services Tax) is also applicable on under-construction properties. So, even if one books an apartment, where the builder asks for 10 per cent and the balance after possession, one will still have to pay GST on the full amount,” points out Kadam.

However, the disadvantage of a ready-to-move-in house, is that it usually has a higher price than an under-construction property. Hence, it may not be an ideal choice from an investment and appreciation potential standpoint. Moreover, the buyer will not have the flexibility to choose the floor or configuration, as compared to an under-construction property.

Points to consider, while choosing an under-construction property

“Under-construction properties are generally in the non-established parts of the city and hence, the potential for price appreciation due to future development is good. However, this is not true in each and every case. One has to look at the location and future plans around that area. Moreover, in an under-construction project, a buyer also has flexibility in payments, with options like construction-linked plans, subvention schemes, flexible payment plans, etc.,” states Wadhwani.

The implementation of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) and other buyer-friendly policies, aimed at bringing about greater transparency and compliance from developers, could boost home buyers’ confidence in investing in under-construction projects. However, in places where the RERA is not yet implemented, it is must for a home buyer to check the credentials of the developer and choose a reputed builder.

The biggest risk in an under-construction property, is that of delayed possession, maintains Sheth. One may also have to incur additional expense on an under-construction house, towards development charges, GST, etc., adds Sheth.

Irrespective of whether one is investing in a ready-to-move-in house or an under-construction one, Wadhwani suggests that home buyers should be mindful of the following:

• The property that you intend to purchase, should have all the necessary approvals and licences.

• Get all the information regarding the external parties connected with the project, like banks, advisories, etc., to get a better sense of project’s feasibility and quality.

• Identify your desired location, keeping in mind your regular commute requirements.

• Check online and on social media for user-based reviews on the locality, project and developer.

• Consider the total budget for buying the house and plan your finances well.




How to deal with indoor air pollution

With air pollution in several cities across India reaching alarming levels, we look at what
home owners can do, to keep the indoor air clean and free of pollutants

Rising air pollution is a big worry in India. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India has six of the top 10 polluted cities in the world with air quality index (AQI) in the ‘severe’ or ‘severe plus’ categories, several times in a year. Indoor air pollution occurs when particles and gases contaminate the air of indoor areas. “Contaminants like animal dander, dust mites and bacteria can put you at risk of asthma, throat irritation, flu and infections. One may also get allergic reactions, eye irritation and bronchitis, various respiratory diseases or even lung cancer,” says Dr Arvind Kate, a pulmonologist at Zen Multispecialty Hospital.

Outdoor pollution can also have an impact inside the house and fill it with toxic gases and contaminants. According to Pawan Gadia, CEO, online and retail, Ferns N Petals, people are now more health conscious and aware of the risk of respiratory infections. Hence, they have started keeping air-purifying plants in their homes, to combat indoor pollution.

“Ideally, one can keep around six plants up to a height of three ft in the house. Peace lily, snake plant, spider plant and areca plant, are some of the plants that cleanse the air. Peace lily has the ability to break down and neutralise toxic gases found in the air, such as formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide. Snake plant converts carbon dioxide into oxygen at night. According to the studies conducted by NASA, the spider plant was the best of the lot and can remove contaminants such as ammonia and benzene from the air,” Gadia elaborates.

Impact of plants on air quality

Research has ignited a debate on the impact of plants on indoor air quality. One research stated that ‘Plants are great but they do not actually clean indoor air quickly enough to have an effect on the air quality of your home or office environment’. This study by researchers at Drexel University in the US said claims about the ability of plants to improve the air quality, are vastly overstated. According to Michael Waring, an associate professor in Drexel’s College of Engineering, the key finding is that ‘Natural or ventilation air exchange rates in indoor environments, like homes and offices, dilutes concentrations of volatile organic compounds – the air pollution that plants are allegedly cleaning – much faster than plants can extract them from the air’. Another study by researchers from The Ohio State University, however, shows that plants may be cheaper options than technology, for cleaning the air near a number of industrial sites, roadways, power plants, commercial boilers and oil and gas drilling sites.

Factors that contribute to indoor air pollution

Poorly maintained floors, walls and furniture, may trap pollutants like dust particles, fumes and moisture. “It has been reported that indoor air can be more polluted than outdoor air, as this air is trapped within the house. Airborne pollutants in the indoor air include a plethora of bacteria, allergens, pollen and other injurious particles that can cause severe health issues,” cautions Himanshu H Shah, business head – air coolers and air purifiers, Voltas Ltd.

Dr Kate advises that one should monitor the home for potential indoor asthma
triggers. He suggests several ways in which one can deal with indoor pollution:

  • Chemical odours and fragrances tend to increase indoor air pollution and may trigger symptoms of asthma like breathlessness.
  • Deal with any source of musty smell and ensure that it is removed, to enhance the indoor air quality.
  • Keep the home dust-free, to deal with pollution.
  • Using a mask or covering the face while doing activities like dusting or cooking, can be helpful.
  • Increase the intake of vitamin C intake in the diet and do yoga exercises like bhasri pranayama, or kapalbharati, under the guidance of a yoga teacher, to fight seasonal challenges and prevent recurrent cough and cold.

Difference between air purifiers and humidifiers

An air purifier can be helpful, in getting rid of harmful particles and can improve the air quality. A common misconception is that air purifiers and humidifiers serve the same purpose and can be used interchangeably.

“While air purifiers clean the indoor air by removing dust, allergens and smoke, humidifiers mainly improve the moisture level in the air. Some home owners use both, for improved well-being. However, considering the dangerously high pollution levels, priority should be given to an air purifier, as it filters all types of toxins and helps to tackle health issues like allergies, asthma, headaches, congestion and poor sleeping, caused due to polluted air,” Shah explains.

How to select the right air filter

One of the most important aspects to consider, is the filtration system of the air purifier. “For the best possible improvement in air quality, look for models with HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters that eliminate 99.97% of common airborne allergens sized at 0.3 microns and larger,” suggests Shah. Minute pollutants that cannot be seen by our naked eyes, when inhaled, can cause respiratory issues over a period of time, warns Mario Schmidt, managing director, Lingel Windows and Air Purifiers.

Opt for air purifiers that can filter PM 2.5 air pollutants. Filters with UV rays also help to kill airborne pathogens, thus, improving the quality of the air we inhale. The HEPA filter also sterilises the pathogens and viruses, making the air we breathe pure, elaborates Schmidt.

Also consider the room size and the CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate), the international standard for calculating the air purifier’s efficiency. Germicidal UV lamps, air quality indicators and air purifiers with remote controls, are some of the other features that one can check for. Over time, the filters collect pollutants and begin to lose efficiency. Hence, it is advisable to change the pre-filters every four to five months and the HEPA filters every two to four years, depending on the pollution levels around the place of usage.





5 steps to buy a house, for first-time home buyers

Planning to buy your dream home in 2019? We look at some of the dos and don’ts that can make it easier for home seekers to raise the down payment and service the EMIs

Finance is one of the most important determinants, when it comes to buying a house and most of the other considerations revolve around this. As a property purchase is often a once-in-a-lifetime decision, it is essential to evaluate your funds accordingly. To buy a house, one nowadays has to utilise their savings and also opt for a home loan. The process of taking a loan has also become simpler, with a majority of people opting for it. Nevertheless, there are some basic principles that one can follow, to plan your finances for buying a house this year.

1. Pay off all your existing debts

You can never assess your net worth, if you are debt-laden. Any partial payment towards this debt, will show up poorly in your credit ratings and this may affect the home loan process. Paying off your debts completely, will help you move ahead in the direction of home buying. Besides relieving one’s tension, it can help you to properly allocate money for your basic needs and for your big real estate purchase.

2. Invest in multiple assets

One should learn about the different financial instruments available in the market. This can help you to invest your money wisely and use the returns, to fund the purchase of your home. Financial experts always stress on having a mix of different asset classes in one’s portfolio, as this will help you during big-ticket purchases, like property. “Before making the decision to buy a house, one needs to ensure that the current asset allocation is not skewed towards a risky asset class like equities. If that is the case, one needs to shift a chunk of those assets to less risky ones that are also liquid. Mutual funds can be a great avenue for such temporary parking of funds,” says Rakesh Nair, an independent financial advisor.

3. Track your spending

Real estate is an expensive investment. However, with modern buyers being exposed to global standards, they refuse to settle for anything but the best. In such a scenario, every penny counts. Experts suggest that an individual’s monthly budget should be based on the 50/30/20 thumb rule, where one spends 50 per cent on basic necessities, including groceries, utilities, medical expenses, etc., 30 per cent for indulging yourself and your family, while the remaining 20 per cent should be saved. This 20 per cent will help you in your down payment, getting home loans and also in case of any other emergency. “After following the real estate market for the last three months, for buying our own apartment, we found something better than what we were looking for. So, we are trying to channel our funds in this direction. Buying a house requires a huge amount of self-control, to avoid spending money on other temptations and instead, develop a habit of saving money for buying an apartment,” says Vihaan Verma, a house hunter from Delhi, who intends to buy an apartment this year.

4. Standing instructions for automatic transfer of money

Initiate standing instructions at your bank, for transferring money from your salary account to your savings account, every month. This will keep you in check and you will only spend what is left after savings. Going forward, when you take a home loan, you can follow the same method, so that monthly EMIs are taken care of, right at the beginning and you avoid getting into any financial mess.

5. Maintaining a balance between rent and EMIs

Proper planning is especially important, when one plans to buy a house while also living in a rented accommodation. This will entail an outgo of EMI, as well as the rent for your current house.

“Once you avail of a home loan, the EMI starts immediately. This can become a burden, when you are paying it along with the rent for your current house. You have to maintain a proper balance, between the EMI and the rent, so that once you get the possession of the new house, you can increase the EMI amount and move into your dream home. In 2019, there is hope of a reduction in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for real estate, as well as further reductions in the repo rate, which will directly reduce the pressure of repayment on buyers. In the meantime, buying a ready-to-move-in property can be a viable option, as this will enable you to avoid the rental outgo and the GST,” advises Harvinder Sikka, MD of the Sikka Group.

Fund allocation, for buying a dream home

  • Plan the monthly budget using the 50/30/20 thumb rule, where you spend 50 per cent on basics, 30 per cent on luxury and the remaining 20 per cent towards savings.
  • Change your asset allocation predominantly from risky assets to liquid assets, so that when you zero-in on a property, you can immediately proceed and not let go of an opportunity because of unavailability of funds.




Co-borrowers: The fastest way to enhance loan eligibility

Co-borrowers: The fastest way to enhance loan eligibility

Only a few people are eligible to become co-borrowers to a home loan and claim the tax benefits on such a loan, provided other conditions are also fulfilled

With the prices of houses rising significantly faster than salaries, it has become increasingly difficult for individuals to buy a house on their own. Consequently, most people now opt for home loans. To enhance the loan eligibility, once can opt for a loan with the longest available tenure or, additionally, get someone to join you as a co-borrower.

Persons who are generally accepted as co-borrowers

When it comes to adding a co-borrower to a home loan, lenders give first preference to the borrower’s spouse. It is presumed that the income of both individuals will be pooled for the purpose of household expenses, including for paying the home loan EMIs. The second category includes sons, daughters and parents. This is also considered as a relatively strong relationship, from a financial point of view. Please note that in case you add your parents as co-borrowers, their age shall be crucial in determining the overall eligibility.

The lender will only take the remaining years of their earning life into account, while computing the overall eligibility. So, in case your parents have already retired, including them as co-borrowers will not help you, as they do not have any income to help you service the home loan.

Few lenders will be willing to let a daughter join as a co-borrower because the dynamics change once the daughter gets married and her ability to help you in servicing the home loan does not remain certain.

Lenders have to take this reality into account. In case a son or daughter joins you as a co-borrower, the lender would insist on them being the first owner of the property, to ensure that the loan is serviced properly.

Persons who are generally not accepted as co-borrowers

Brothers and sisters of an applicant are generally not accepted, as co-borrowers for a joint home loan. However, if the brother/sister is able to convince the lender that the incomes of the siblings are pooled together, then, the application may be considered. This may be possible, if the brothers/sisters are staying together and are past their general marriageable age. However, the decision is made by lenders on a case-to-case basis.

People who are not eligible to be joint borrowers for a home loan

Banks generally do not approve of friends, partners or unmarried couples living together and other relatives, to join as co-applicants to a home loan. Lenders avoid granting home loans in such cases because these relationships are not considered to be strong. However, lenders may grant business loans to people who are partners in a business.

Tax benefits for joint borrowers

A co-borrower’s eligibility to claim tax benefits is not automatic. A co-borrower may not necessarily be a co-owner of the property. All the joint borrowers can claim the tax benefits, only if they are also co-owners of the property and are actually servicing the home loan. The ratio in which you can claim the tax benefits for the home loan, shall be according to the ratio in which you are servicing the home loan. This may be different from the ratio in which you own the house property, as each co-owner may not service the home loan.




Design tips for elderly-friendly homes

Design tips for elderly-friendly homes

As the inhabitants of a house age, the décor of the home may need to be modified to suit their needs. We look at some simple design dos and don’ts, vis-à-vis safety, accessibility and aesthetics that can make the home comfortable for senior citizens

As one ages, simple chores like reaching high shelves, climbing the stairs or getting up from the chair with ease, can become a task. Home owners who are ageing or have elderly parents or grandparents living with them, may need a home décor that is suitable for senior citizens. As comfort, safety and accessibility become key concerns, incorporating simple design changes that do not hinder the aesthetics, is essential.

“Studies have found that doing household chores, gives seniors a sense of purpose and contributes to both, their physical and mental well-being. In terms of design, one has to focus on helping active seniors to be as independent as they can. This means ensuring that they can carry out their activities with ease, simplicity in maintenance and housekeeping, reducing everyday risks and creating a safe home that supports active aging,” explains Nagesh Battula, founder and managing director, FHD (Fountainhead Design Group).

Many seniors continue to contribute to their professions, through advisory or consultancy, even after their retirement. In such cases, a spare room can double-up as a home office, as well as a guest bedroom for visitors or extended family. “Interior decorations should, ideally, reflect the family’s aspirations and preferences. The overall décor of the room should be positive, relaxing and not remind one of ill health,” adds Battula.

Home security for senior housing

In today’s world, safety and security are key concerns. “To ensure the safety and security of the elderly, without compromising on enjoying a quality lifestyle, it is important to install basic amenities like security cameras, smart locks, burglar alarms, sprinklers, etc. Elderly residents living in top levels of a high-rise building, are at higher risk during medical emergencies, fire breakouts and other natural calamities. Hence, the builder or housing complex’s administration, should regularly coach and educate the ground level administration staff on quick, easy evacuation processes for the elderly during times of crisis,” maintains architect Alankrutha C, of N’Hance.

Home lighting for the elderly

Elderly people may also not have the same vision as other people in the house. “Eyesight changes and common eye ailments, may require brighter and cooler lights and fewer yellow lights. Ensure that there is adequate ambient general lighting for safe movement around furniture, obstacles, etc. and focused lights for activities like reading books or instructions on medicines, etc.,” adds Battula. With technology, it is also possible to operate the lights, fans and air-conditioners using a single remote, which can make it easy for seniors.

Senior-friendly furniture

Furniture in the house, should be arranged such that there is sufficient space for seniors to move about freely. Keep items that are used often in lower cabinets, within easy reach. The furniture should enable seniors to carry on their daily lives easily. For example, a small shelf or table besides the bed, can be useful for keeping spectacles, phones, medicines and water. “High chairs or sharp-edged tables can be dangerous. Furniture with rounded edges and seating options with a good hand and neck rest, are ideal. Avoid fancy rocking chairs or furniture with a straight back, as this can cause uneasiness. Instead, opt for a sofa/chair that has a reclining back and sufficient cushion support. Lighting inside a cupboard, can also be useful,” says Alankrutha.

Flooring options for homes with senior citizens

The main criteria, when selecting flooring for home with seniors, is to ensure that it is not slippery, is easy to walk on and easy to maintain. Fashionable bathroom tiles or marble/ ceramic flooring in the house that is slippery, may not provide sufficient grip. In the bathroom, one can use anti-skid tiles. “Alternatively, use honed tiles or premium vinyl flooring in bathrooms that have a smooth base, as these are water-resistant materials. In the living room, it is better to avoid polished stone flooring or ceramic/ porcelain tiles, as it can be slippery when wet. If one already has such flooring and replacing the same is not possible, then, consider placing a carpet on the floor,” advises Alankrutha. The building should also cater to the mobility needs and safety requirements of the seniors, with ramps for wheelchairs and stairs with handrails or safety bars.

Décor tips for homes with seniors

  • Avoid any loose rugs and floor carpet. You can secure the rugs, carpets and door mats, using anti-slip rug underlays.
  • Dry bathrooms reduce the possibility of slipping. Ensure that the areas near the WC and wash basins are dry and that the wet area is confined to the shower area.
  • A showerhead with adjustable height, is better for seniors.
  • Provide good, even distribution of ambient lighting across the floor space, without creating glare.
  • A comfortable and attractive area, for elderly to do their exercise, pray or pursue hobbies such as reading, knitting, painting, gardening, etc., can be a bonus.




Simple solutions to create storage space at home

Simple solutions to create storage space at home

Every home needs ample storage space to ensure that the décor looks clean. We look at ways in which home owners can create sufficient storage spaces that are stylish and also gives a spacious feel to the interiors

A home should not only have visual appeal but should also have sufficient space, to keep things. For this, it is important to plan storage spaces well and use the existing space wisely, when designing your home décor. In any home, large or small, one can tackle storage issues, with a little creativity.

Use vertical surfaces for storage

If one lives in a small space, one has to think about how to use every part of the home. “If there is lack of floor space, use the walls, as this space is usually wasted. Many of the items that are not needed on a daily basis, can be stocked here,” says Mikita Laad Gupta, senior designer, Bonito Designs. Opt for vertical furniture, like floor-to-ceiling shelves. Instead of bookshelves on the floor, optimise the space by using shelves on the wall. These can even be visually attractive, with shelves shaped like tree branches.

Tall shelves make the space appear less cramped. “In the kitchen, vertical space can be put to good use, especially to store smaller items. Similarly, baskets can be lined up behind doors, to store things in the kitchen. Vertical cubby holes in the bathrooms wall or niches in the living rooms, can also be used to create storage space at home,” adds Astha Khetan, founder, The House of

Make optimum use of space

Every house has spaces that are less noticed, which can be used in a better way. “The space behind the door is an unused space in most homes. In children’s rooms, laundry bags can be hung up on hooks. Similarly, books or toys can be placed in bags and hung on hooks. The space under staircases, can be used for storing shoes, with pull-out shoe racks,” suggests Gupta.

A corridor/passage in the house, depending on where it is, can be used for a wall-mounted bookshelf or shoe rack. In the bedroom, opt for a bed with concealed storage in the headboard and use boxes under the bed to store items. Use a dining table or centre table with sliding drawers, for storing napkins and cutlery.

“Choose furniture pieces that meet your storage requirement and also add to the style quotient of your home. Lofts and alcoves in the room, foyer or even bathroom are ideal spaces to build storage units. In the kitchen, opt for smart solutions within the cabinet, for example, drawer dividers for cutlery, trays and pull-outs for spices. Pegboards can be used on a kitchen wall, to store essential stuff. You can even hang a family photo or your children’s drawings on the board, to add to the visual interest,” states Khetan.

Create space for small items

Some items are difficult to store, even if space is not an issue. “Whenever one plans storage, a lot of small items like jewellery, hair accessories and other knick-knacks, tend to be ignored. Storing them in regular drawers, can lead to a mess and wastage of space. To avoid this, use the walls to store such items in a small space. You can make your own jewellery holder, with a painted cork sheet or a hanger near the dresser, or even use ice cube trays in drawers, to store rubber bands, clips, cufflinks, earrings, etc.,” adds Gupta.

Plastic storage drawers or folding shelf organisers that can be easily moved, can be useful additions to a closet. In a linen closet, use them to stack small clothes like socks, handkerchiefs, lingerie and towels. Use bright and bold-coloured fancy trunks, to store away things in the bedroom, while also a unique décor element.

Creative storage ideas

  • Use glass for making shelves and partitions, as it makes the house appear spacious. Shelves fixed at an eye-level, are good for keeping knick-knacks.
  • Use multi-purpose furniture – for example, a chest which doubles as a center table, a sofa with storage space for books in the armrest, or a dining table bench with storage for cutlery.
  • An openable full-length mirror in the bedroom or bathroom can have concealed storage behind it.
  • The bathroom basin can have storage units under the counter. Use colourful baskets on the bathroom wall, to keep toiletries.
  • Use the space above wardrobes to create a loft, where you can store suitcases. You can stuff extra bed covers or blankets in the empty suitcases.
  • Space underneath the window seating can be used for storage.
  • Homes are often filled with needless items that one has collected over the years. Hence, de-clutter and clean the house regularly.




Should you prepay your home loan or make new investments? The answer may surprise you

Should you prepay your home loan or make new investments? The answer may surprise you

Invest or repay? This is a question that never has an off-season. Here's an example. A reader mailed me, saying that he has a housing loan on which he is paying an interest of 11% a year. There's no problem—he is able to pay the EMI comfortably out of his income. However, he now finds that he also has some cash accumulated which he can invest. He wanted to know what was the better option:  Repay some of his housing loan before schedule, or invest the money in an equity mutual fund for the long-term.

This is not an uncommon dilemma. In fact, it's possible that practically every salary earner who takes a housing loan faces it at some point. You take a loan at an EMI you can afford. Eventually, your income increases and you find that can pay back more of the loan than you had originally planned. If you were to ask this question of a financial planner, the chances are that he would tell you to repay the loan first. That advice is based on what is a first principle of personal financial planning—clear your debts before you save. That principle is a sound one and should almost always be followed. I said 'almost' always. If the choice were between clearing expensive credit card debt and saving, then clearly, one should do that. The same probably holds for most consumer loans, including big ticket ones like cars and such. This principle is most relevant to people who try to borrow and invest.

However, there are some caveats to the standard advice. On the face of it, long-term investments in an equity mutual fund will possibly fetch higher returns than the interest that savers are paying on housing loans. In the past, SIP returns have been higher for most 10-year periods. This situation is roughly true for everyone who is trying to save while servicing a housing loan.

In the case of a housing loan, the effective trade-off is even more in favour of not repaying the loan early because of the tax breaks one gets on the interest paid. If you compensate for that and calculate the real effective interest rate, then you’ll find that your savings have to cross an even lower bar. The actual advantage you get from having taken the loan would also include the fact that you no longer have to pay rent. It's only when someone has built up a large enough financial saving that is liquid and accessible, and is in a situation where no great expense is anticipated that it would be justifiable to retire the loan instead of saving.

On top of that there's another side to this, which is human psychology. If someone has little or no savings at all, then no matter what the situation, no matter what the interest rates, he or she would prefer to carry the loan but have some savings. In such a situation, it would make sense to have access to the savings if they are needed, even if the savings are fetching the same or less returns than the one is paying on the debt one has taken. In other words, the rules for the first bit of saving you do—emergency money, so to speak—are different. Having instant access to an emergency fund is worth any kind of disadvantage that an interest rate differential brings.




Décor tips for a peaceful and calming home

Everyone desires a home, which is a private haven, relaxing and a place to rejuvenate oneself. We look at how home owners can, with just a little bit of planning and a few décor aids, create a serene atmosphere

In today’s frenetic world, it is important to create a calm and peaceful home, to recharge and begin a new day, refreshed. Every personal space has a calming vibe and every home reflects the personality of the people living in it, says Sameer AM, founder and CEO of Bonito Designs. “Sometimes, one just needs to give it a few additional touches, in order to bring out the best,” Sameer adds.

Organise and de-clutter

Clutter produces physical chaos and is an unwelcome visual distraction. “When one’s eye can skim smoothly across clean, clear surfaces throughout one’s home, it becomes easier to stay focused on the present and avoid stress. Clean, clear floors and surfaces, streamline one’s life. Hence, home owners should make storage for items, so that they can either be organised better or hidden away. For example, tangled cables and cords can be an eyesore. Have one area, where the chargers can be stored out of sight, when not in use and if cables and wires cannot be concealed permanently, find a way to disentangle and organise various cables neatly and hide them behind the appliances,” suggests Sameer.

Home lighting

Light not only helps in illumination but also aids relaxation and creates the right ambiance. Using natural light, is an easy way to create a peaceful home. “Mood lights can work wonders, in creating a calming atmosphere. It sets the right mood, leaving one cheerful and relaxed. Opt for blue, amber or even off-white colour lights, as these can improve sleeping patterns. It is best to position the lights facing downwards, to ensure that the light does not hit the eyes directly. A slight tilt will also work, as the glare will not fall on your eye directly,” states Tuhin Roy, founder, Jumping Goose.

Dedicated recreation space

Dedicate one space for yoga or meditation, exercising, painting or anything else that relieves stress. “Create a reading nook in your balcony and add a cane swing or a low seating, with lots of throw cushions that are bright,” adds Roy. The colours used in the house should be soothing for the mind and soul. Avoid excessive use of black and grey colours at home. Bedrooms can be done up in soothing colours such as pink, peach, light yellow, green and other light colours. These colours create tranquil vibes and invite healing energy. “Go for pastel shades or plain white. Lighter hues work well, in creating a calming ambience and help in de-stressing the mood in one’s home. One can also opt for sea-green, to depict the tranquility of the sea,” states Roy.

Curb the noise

To reduce traffic noise, soundproof the walls and ceilings, by doubling up on drywalls and caulking the gaps from where sound enters. Soundproofing can be done, by adding insulation and sound-dampening fillers, such as perforated gypsum boards and glass wool between partition walls or in false ceilings. Carpets, drapes and other soft materials, also help to absorb sound. “For walls, a cheap, sound-muffling solution is 4×8-ft fibre-boards, a recycled cardboard material that is available at reasonable prices. Moreover, these can be painted, to add colour,” says Sameer.

Music can have a substantial impact on your mind. “Some people experience a calming effect by listening to classical music. For others, familiar tunes from their past, can make them feel happier and more at peace. A room with good acoustics that allows the music to reverberate, while also cutting out unnecessary background sounds, can create a calming space in your own home,” explains Sameer.

Create a natural environment

Bring natural elements like plants into the house, which help to clean and oxygenate the indoor air, making it easier for you to breathe. Arrange some fresh flowers in pots, to make the home more cheerful. Indoor water fountains can also lend peace and calm to the interiors. The sound of trickling water has a tranquil effect and connects us to nature. Other natural materials, like fabrics, furniture, etc., can also affect one’s mood. Add natural materials like rough jute, linen, old leather, pure silk and raw wood in the home.

Bharti Bansal, a homemaker from Mumbai shares that “I have a corner in my study, where I have my deities and also a Buddha idol and a huge metal hanging bell, gifted by my grandmother. In the morning, I light a diya and ring this bell. It makes me feel peaceful and in harmony with my inner self. The idol of a meditating Buddha, creates an aura of calmness all around.”

Tips, to create a soothing ambience at home

  • Create a purifying, rejuvenating atmosphere in your home, by choosing natural scents like those from beeswax candles, essential oils and fresh flowers.
  • Opt for candles and tea lights, to provide a soft, warm glow that can help you to unwind.
  • The bathroom can have a shower curtain with soothing colours or prints. Avoid clutter on the counters in the bathrooms and instead, opt for closed storage. Scented candles, incense sticks or diffusers, can also be placed to create a tranquil atmosphere.
  • Add chimes to the entrance or balcony areas, for a soft, tingling sound.
  • Display pictures, posters or souvenirs and knick-knacks from trips that remind you of good times.
  • Put up positive quotes around the house, to help you stay focused on your life.




Add greenery to a small space, with vertical gardens

Add greenery to a small space, with vertical gardens

Owing to the dearth of green spaces in urban areas, the concept of vertical gardens is slowly gaining popularity among plant lovers. We look at how smartly designed and compact wall gardens, can accentuate one’s décor

There are many ways, in which one can beautify a residential or commercial space. One way, is through the use of plants, which not only add beauty to the décor but also bring freshness to the atmosphere. “Greenery helps in de-stressing and relaxation. Plants enhance one’s mood and are natural healers. Green walls can be incorporated in one’s interiors, whether it is an office or a home, to create a blissful atmosphere,” says Pameli Kayal an architect and an interior designer.

A vertical garden is a method to grow plants on walls. It is also known as a green façade or ‘living green wall’.  “Vertical gardens not only look beautiful and add green cover to a barren looking wall but also helps in efficient utilisation of space,” adds Priyanka Amar Shah, founder of iKheti.

There are many ways to create vertical gardens. The simplest options, is to attach plant containers to a wall. Alternatively, one can have a frame made, with horizontal rows where the plants can be placed. It all depends on the space available and whether the wall is in the balcony, terrace, outside or even in one’s living room. The wall or the framework must be strong enough to hold the weight of the vertical garden, especially the bigger ones.

Outdoor vertical gardens

If you plan to grow edibles or outdoor plants, ensure that the vertical wall is outdoors. The produce will always be proportionate to the pot’s size.

Hence, to grow edibles in a vertical format, the size of the pot should be at least five inches, to get sufficient produce. Pot of different sizes and geo bags (made of permeable fabrics) are available, to cater to the growing demand for edible vertical gardens. Micro greens, which are 40 times more nutritious than your leafy vegetables, can be grown in small vertical pots, as well. “Always choose plants as per the pot’s size. Sometimes, people choose to grow huge plants in smaller pots and wonder why they aren’t growing,” cautions Shah.

Indoor vertical gardens

If you are planting indoor plants or air purifying plants, the vertical wall can be in indoors, where there is less sunlight.

“Nowadays ready frameworks for vertical walls are available, which are easy to install. All you need to do is put the plants. Herbs like basil, peppermint, etc., are easier to grow than vegetables. Air purifying plants like peace lily, pothos, ferns and syngoniums are other easy options. Choose the plants, as per the sunlight available in the specific area. If the vertical walls is high, it would require an irrigation system for efficient usage of water,” states Shah.

To create a vertical garden in or around one’s house, one must be a bit creative or take the help of a professional gardener or horticulturist. “If you wish to be adventurous, then, instead of using regular clay pots, you can opt for plastic bottles, fused bulbs, photo frames, shoes, etc., to make such gardens. Ropes, belts, t-shirts and elastic bands, can be used to hang the planters,” suggests Kayal.

Maintenance of vertical gardens

Vertical gardens require regular maintenance, such as trimming and pruning, to maintain the look of the wall. Hence, it is better to opt for low maintenance plants.

“Alternatively, one can grow plants vertically using hydroponics – i.e., growing plants in water. Such vertical walls are lighter and have less chances of infestation by pests, since most of the pests come from the soil. Furthermore, the water can be recycled. The disadvantage of hydroponic system, however, is that it is expensive as water nutrients need to be added at regular intervals,” explains Shah.

Tips for setting up a vertical garden

  • The vertical wall garden should ideally be under a skylight or near a window, to ensure adequate sunlight. Fruits and flowering plants need more sunlight. Lack of adequate sunlight will prevent the plants from bearing fruits and can stunt the growth of the plants.
  • Arrange the containers symmetrically or in some pattern, so that they look lush and vibrant. One can also arrange the plants as per colours.
  • Regularly water, trim and nourish the plants. Removal of drying, wilting leaves and flowers will encourage faster new growth. Add fertilisers in recommended dosages, to keep the plants healthy.
  • One must be observant about the pest attacks. It is easy to control it in the early stages.




Simple energy saving tips for home owners

Simple energy saving tips for home owners

We look at how home owners can decrease the energy consumption in their homes substantially, by making a few simple changes

With climate change affecting people across the globe, energy conservation is no more a choice but a must for all. As buildings are one of the largest sources of energy consumption, conservation should start at home, through behavioural changes that ensure that we have energy-efficient homes.

“Each of us should consciously evolve ways, to avoid wastage of scarce resources such as water and power, in our homes. The problem with urban planning today, is that building structures are guzzlers of energy. Their design is based on the assumption of limitless supply of HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) resources. No effort is being made to tap renewable energy, to meet the need for power. There is an urgent need to revisit climate-sensitive concepts of indigenous architecture, to design and construct multi-storeyed buildings, while making appropriate use of advanced building technologies,” says Anthony Raj, founder-director of the Center for Indigenous Architecture.

Opt for energy efficient appliances

According to Pune-based NGO, Prayas Energy Group, residential electricity consumption has gone up by 50 times since 1971 and now forms about a quarter of India’s total electricity consumption, up from about four per cent in 1971.

Aditya Chunekar a fellow of Prayas Energy Group, in the research area of energy efficiency, maintains that consumers should opt for energy-efficient appliances.Citing an example, he says that an energy-efficient 1.5-ton split air-conditioner can utilise 30-40 per cent less electricity than an ordinary 1.5-ton split air-conditioner, used for the same amount of time. “The total residential energy consumption can decrease, with the use of energy-efficient appliances. Studies reveal overall savings of 15-25 per cent from the use of efficient appliances. Air-conditioners consume much more energy than all the other appliances combined. Refrigerators can also contribute to 25-50 per cent of the electricity consumption in a household. An inefficient refrigerator can increase the annual electricity bill of a household by as much as Rs 4,000-5,000, in some cases. So, it is important for a consumer to choose appliances with five-star rating,” Chunekar explains.

Energy efficiency in homes, where the construction is complete

The challenge with ready-made homes, is that the buyer has no control over the exterior façade design, like shading structures and type of windows installed in the homes. “If the buyer has control over these features during the construction phase, well and good. Otherwise, there are a few things that can still be done, to reduce energy consumption in the home,” points out Mathan Ramaiah, director of design, Fountain Head Design (FHD) Group.

“Replace light fixtures with CFL (compact fluorescent light) or LEDs (light-emitting diodes) if they are not already installed. Proper size of the AC is also important. An AC that is too small, means that it will run at full load, which wastes energy and during peak hours, it cannot produce enough cooling. Oversized ACs will also lead to loss of energy. The best practice is to set the temperature at around 24 degrees and wait till the room cools down,” says Ramaiah.

Home owners can even use shading devices over the windows, to reduce the heat gain. “For example, one can have bamboo blinds on all the balconies. This reduces the exposure of walls to direct sunlight and improves the thermal comfort within the house,” Raj elaborates.

Solar panels for electricity generation for all common areas and common amenities, can also help energy conservation, adds Ramaiah. “It is more economical for a community to install solar panels than an individual home. As a community, one can also install biogas plants, where all kitchen waste can be segregated and put into the plant to generate electricity. The advantage of biogas plants is that they store energy in the form of gas that can be used whenever required,” suggests Ramaiah.

Dos and don’ts for saving energy at home

  • Opt for energy-efficient appliances, BEE (Bureau of Energy Efficiency)-labelled or Eco-star products.
  • Clean the filters in air-conditioners regularly. Insulated walls and roofs decrease the heat gain and reduce load on air-conditioners.
  • When doing laundry, only run the washer when there is a full load. Once done, hang the clothes out to dry under the sun instead of using the dryer.
  • Unplug any battery chargers or power adapters and switch off devices completely, when not in use.
  • When leaving the house ensure that all lights are off. Have a master switch at the entrance, to switch off the lights.




Chennai real estate market sees revival

Chennai real estate market sees revival

Around 450 new apartment units were added to the Chennai real estate market in the last three months, posting a 17% increase in comparison with the same quarter in 2018.  This indicates a revival in the real sector in the city which has been going through a rough patch in the last five years.

A recent report by ANAROCK Property Consultants Pvt Ltd found that the realty market of Chennai added 3,170 units    during the first quarter of this year, while the same period in 2018 recorded 2,720 units. It is an increase by 17% over the same quarter in 2018.

However, the number of new units has dropped when compared with the previous quarter. As per the data, in the fourth quarter of 2018, 3,900 apartment units were added to the city real estate market. 

Sales in Bengaluru and Chennai increased by 5% and 4% respectively over the previous quarter and were recorded at 15,580 units and 3,430 units respectively, the report added 

The sector is currently riding on a new wave of optimism following the triple benefits it received from the government in the first three months of 2019. These sops  have not only increased homebuyers’ sentiments but will also boost the confidence of builders and long-term investors,” the report said quoting ANAROCK Property Consultants chairman Anuj Puri.




Six myths about buying a home in India you need to stop believing

They could be true for buyers with unique needs. But when taken as thumb rules, they are very misleading.

Every home buyer thinks there are some truths about the process that cannot be questioned because they are believed by so many people. Sometimes these nuggets of wisdom could actually be myths people do little to question and verify and follow blindly. Below is a selection of six of such widely prevalent myths about buying residential property. These myths could be true for certain buyers depending on their unique circumstances and preferences but when taken as eternal truths they could be misleading.  







FM rides to real estate's rescue

FM rides to real estate's rescue

The slacking economy and the slump in various sectors including automobiles, housing and MSMEs was a grave concern – not just for industry stakeholders but also for the government. In a major boost to the slowing economy that comes literally in the nick of time, the FM today has hit a sixer with a slew of announcements for the banking and financial sector including NBFCs, HFCs and even MSMEs.

The government is taking a heads-on approach to addressing issues, supporting the key drivers of the economy and giving each of the sectors - including real estate – a massive shot in the arm in these stressful times.

The announcement to offer more credit support for purchase of homes, vehicles and consumption goods is an extremely welcome move which does not come a moment too soon. This move gives a major liquidity support of an additional INR 20,000 crore to HFCs and this will significantly improve the momentum of lending to cash-strapped developers by the NHB. Many developers will now be able to complete their projects stuck or delayed which were languishing due to lack of funds – thereby benefiting their buyers directly.

* INR 4lakh liquidity infusion

* INR 70,000 cr for bank recapitalization – NBFCs to get more money and passing it on

* Banks to pass on rate cuts to buyers

* Capital Loans to Industry cheaper

* Tax withdrawn on capital gains

* Tax on super rich rolled back




Carpet Area, Built-up Area and Super-Built-up Area

What are Carpet Area, Built-up Area and Super-Built-up Area?

Nowadays, finding a home of one's choice has become both easy and risky because of the wide variety of options available to choose from. A number of builders are out there providing you all that you require in a dream home in terms of construction, infrastructure, and much more.

However, finding out a home that matches your taste is not enough. Knowing a bit more technical details about your future home will keep things in your favour.

Carpet Area

Technically, carpet area is the net usable area measured wall to wall from its inner surfaces. Thus the thickness of the inner walls is not included. Carpet area is the actual usable size of the flat/villa minus the thickness of the wall.

This also includes the bathroom and kitchen. Any common areas outside the apartment like staircase, lift, security room, etc., are excluded from this calculation.

Built-up Area/Plinth Area

This is the gross area of the flat which comprises the carpet area as well as the thickness of the walls and the ducts. The built-up area can be 15-25 per more than the carpet area and sometimes known as the plinth area

Super Built-up Area

It includes common amenities such as the area of lift shafts, lobby, and corridor, proportionately divided among all flats. The common usable areas, such as swimming pool, garden, and clubhouse may also be included in it. In other words, super built-up area is the total saleable area.




RBI's rate cut will help if banks pass on benefit to end-users, say realty players

RBI's rate cut will help if banks pass on benefit to end-users, say realty players

The RBI, which has lowered the repo rate by 1.1 percentage points this year, maintained its "accommodative" stance that means an increase is off the table.

The real estate industry on Wednesday said the MPC's decision to cut the repo rate would help the sector if banks pass on the benefit to end-users in the form of lower lending rates. 

The Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) Monetary Policy Committee on Wednesday cut the interest rate by 35 basis points (bps) -- the fourth successive reduction -- to a nine-year-low level, in an attempt to boost an economy growing at its slowest pace in nearly five years. The repo rate is the rate at which the RBI lends to banks. 

CREDAI Haryana spokesperson Prashant Solomon said the reduction of the repo rate by 35 bps was on the expected lines. CREDAI is the apex association of real estate developers. 

"Given that there was no rate cut after the Union Budget, this move was highly anticipated," he said. 

Solomon added that the fall in interest rates would be of great benefit to the real estate sector. "Now, we expect that the benefits of  reduced rates are transmitted to the end-users by banks at the earliest." 

Manoj Gaur, managing director of Gaurs Group and chairman (affordable housing committee) of CREDAI, termed the RBI move "constructive". 

"With the fourth consecutive rate cut, we expect the demand of housing sector to rise marginally. The rate cut is expected to further bring down interest rates on home loans and auto loans as the monetary transmission of previous policy easing have been limited. It will also help boost credit growth in the banking system," he said. 

Mohit Goel, chief executive officer of Omaxe Ltd, said that with inflation well within the RBI range and economy showing signs of slowdown, the repo rate cut of 35 bps to 5.4 per cent is on the expected lines. 

"Despite repeated cuts in policy rates by the RBI, fourth since January 2019, commercial banks have not passed on the cut to borrowers. As a result, lending rates continue to remain high. The slowdown in economy coupled with high lending rate has accentuated the slump in housing demand," he said. 

Sagar Saxena, project head for Spectrum Metro in Noida, said the rate cut along with infusing liquidity in the banking system will also result in reduced burden on banks' resources, which will further bring down interest rates on home loans providing the much-needed boost to the real estate industry. 

Ashok Gupta, chairman and managing director of Ajnara India, said that apart from the RBI's rate cut, also important is the enhanced exposure limit of banks for a single non-banking financial company (NBFC). The move will ensure greater funds for NBFCs and it would help realty sector a great deal, he added. 

Amit Modi, director of ABA Corp, said the benchmark rate is now at the lowest since April 2010, but "unfortunately, there is still no major effect" on the ground, and this is mainly due to the fact that despite the repeated reductions, the majority of banks are not passing the benefits of the rate cuts to end-consumer. 

Rather than making sure that consumers are offered reduced interest rates on home loans which will result in lower EMIs, there is still an ongoing tendency of cushioning the bottom lines by the banks, which ultimately turns out to be counterproductive to the move itself," he said. 

Real estate consultancy CBRE said the move, if transmitted to the customers by banks, will spur investment and boost consumption activity in the economy in a scenario where there is pressure on the gross domes .. 

We believe that this announcement might result in a further reduction in home loan rates and will provide an impetus to the government's initiative of affordable housing," said Anshuman Magazine, chairman and chief executive officer (India, South East Asia, Middle East & Africa), CBRE. 

The RBI has reduced its growth projection for the Indian economy to 6.9 per cent for the current financial year, from 7 per cent forecast in June, due to a slowdown in demand and investments. 

The RBI, which has lowered the repo rate by 1.1 percentage points this year, maintained its "accommodative" stance that means an increase is off the table. 




Advantages of buying a property in joint names

Advantages of buying a property in joint names

Does it make sense to buy a property, by registering it with a single owner or with multiple owners? We look at who can be joint owners to a property and its implications

Home owners are often ignorant about the implications of buying a house property in single name, instead of joint names. One of my colleagues had bought a flat in his name before marriage. After marriage, the EMI was serviced by the couple, in equal parts. However, he was shocked to learn that his wife could not claim the income tax benefits on the home loan.

Who can be a joint owner?

There is no law that governs who you can add as joint owner. It can be a close relative (spouse, parents, children, brother or sister), your partner in business, or even friends.

Even if you are financing the property alone, it makes sense to add a close relative, like spouse or children if you are married, or parents in case you are a bachelor. A person, who is added as a joint owner in the agreement, need not contribute towards the purchase of the property.

Taking a home loan jointly

While giving a home loan, lenders insist that the joint owner be included as a co-borrower. Lenders tend to favourably consider home loan applications, where the co-borrower is a close relative, like spouse, parents or children. A majority of the lenders do not entertain loan applications, where the co-borrower is not one of these close relatives. As the joint owner has to join the applicant as a co-borrower, you may not get a home loan if the joint owner is a friend, partner, or a brother or sister.

Smooth succession of the property

As most of the residential properties purchased nowadays, are apartments in housing societies, it is better to buy in joint names. In case anything happens to one holder, the society will generally transfer the flat in the name of the remaining joint holders, without insisting on a probate or a no-objection certificate from the other legal heirs.

Income tax benefits of joint home loans

The income tax benefits, whether for principal repayment of a home loan under Section 80C or for interest on a home loan under Section 24b, can only be claimed by the owner or the joint owner of the house. Consequently, the benefits of a home loan cannot be claimed by you, unless you are an owner of the property, even if the loan is being serviced by you.

Buying a house today, may require a minimum home loan of Rs 50 lakhs. The interest on this loan would be around Rs 4.75 lakhs per annum @ 9.50%. In case the house property is used for self-residence and is owned and being serviced by you only, you will only be able to claim Rs 2 lakhs and the tax benefit for the balance Rs 2.75 lakhs will be lost. However, in case the same property is purchased in joint names and the loan is serviced by both the holders, both of you can claim the tax benefit of Rs 2 lakhs each, on the interest payment.

Similarly, for repayment of the principal home loan amount under Section 80C, if the property is jointly owned and the home loan is equally serviced, then, both of you will be able to claim this benefit of up to Rs 1.5 lakhs each, presuming you do not have any other investment or expenditure qualifying for Section 80C.




Consumers Put More Faith in Real Estate than Stocks

Consumers Put More Faith in Real Estate than Stocks

Real estate has surpassed stocks as Americans’ favorite long-term investment, according to a nationwide Bankrate survey of about 1,000 respondents. Thirty-one percent of survey respondents named real estate as their favorite investment for building wealth that they don’t need access to for a decade or more. That is the best that real estate has performed on Bankrate’s annual survey in the last seven years. In 2018, stocks were the most popular investment.

Millennials, at 36%, were the most likely age group to call real estate their top long-term investment choice, according to the survey. Other generations also favored real estate, including generation X (31%), baby boomers (30%), and the silent generation (23%). “Millennials are higher on real estate than any other age group, have cooled a bit on cash, and still aren’t keen on the stock market when investing for more than ten years,” says Greg McBride, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst.




Lost your property papers? Here are the steps you should take

Lost your property papers? Here are the steps you should take

An application with these documents must be made to the property registrar to obtain duplicate copies of the sale deed.

The sale deed is critical evidence of property ownership. No transaction concerning the property can take place unless the original papers are furnished. 

Hence it is important to keep the papers carefully. However, if the papers cannot be located due to some reasons, immediate steps need to be taken. 

  • Filing an FIR

The first step is to visit the nearest police station and file a first information report (FIR). The FIR needs to mention that  the papers are lost. A copy of the FIR should be taken by the owner and preserved for future reference. 

  • Notice in newspaper

A notice should be published in English and regional language newspapers stating particulars of the property, documents lost and contact details should anyone find the missing papers. 

  • Share certificate

In case the share certificate allotted by a housing society is misplaced, one has to apply for reissue of the same. The FIR copy and newspaper notice have to be furnished with the application.

  • Undertaking

The owner has to make an undertaking on stamp paper, to be submitted at the registrar’s offi ce, with details of the property, lost documents, copy of FIR and copy of the newspaper notice. The undertaking must be registered, attested and notarised. 

  • Application for duplicate sale deed

An application with the following documents must be made to the property registrar to obtain duplicate copies of the sale deed. The prescribed fee for obtaining a duplicate will have to be deposited in the registrar’s office. 

  • Copy of FIR
  • Copy of newspaper notice
  • Copy of share certificates issued
  • Notarised undertaking

Points to note 

  • Some states/cities allow FIR to be lodged online for certain complaints. You can explore if such options are available.




Legal documents you need to buy property

Legal documents you need to buy property

Property buying can often be messy. Jargons float around and you can be confused with all the legalese. We made it simple for you. Use this handy guide to help you navigate the real estate pitfalls you may encounter while buying a home. While purchasing property, it is essential to check that the following documents are in order:

Agreement to sell

It is the first document prepared in anticipation of a sale of the property. It contains a detailed description of the property and states the terms of conditions between the buyer and the seller, including the purchase price as agreed upon.

Absolute sale deed and title deed

The sale deed or title deed is the most important document that records the actual transfer of ownership of the property. It needs to be registered at the sub registrar’s office under whose jurisdiction the property would fall.

Title search and report

Property title search is a process of retrieving the chain of documents relating to the history of the property that has been registered with the concerned authority. It includes a description of the property and names of title holders, joint tenancy, etc. It is especially important for procuring a home loan.

Khata certificate

This document is known by different names in different states and it provides proof that the property has an entry in the local municipal records.

Receipt of property tax

The receipts of property tax hold that the previous owner or occupier had paid all the taxes and none have been left as due. They also establish the legal status of the property and therefore serve as an important document of evidence.

Encumbrance certificate

An encumbrance certificate states that the property is free from all encumbrances or loans. It is a key document for procuring a loan against property from banks. It has all the details about transactions relating to the property.

Occupancy certificate

An occupancy certificate or completion certificate is given by the municipal corporation after the construction of a building to establish that it was constructed according to a sanctioned plan and that it is ready to be occupied.

Statement from bank if loan outstanding

If any loan is outstanding on the property that is being purchased, it is safe to procure the statements relating to the loan so that there is full disclosure in that regard.

Non-objection certificates

It is important to ask the developer to produce copies of various NOCs that must be procured from various departments such as the Sewage Board, Pollution Board, Environment Department, Traffic and Coordination Department, etc. This forms the ‘intimation of disapproval’ for the construction of the building

Sanctioned building plan by statutory authority

This is to ensure that the buyers are cautious about any deviations from the sanctioned plan made by the developer.

Power of Attorney/s, if any

A Power of Attorney is required in original if any person is acting on the authorization of the owner of the property. It could be general or specific.




How Does A Public Transport System Affect Your Home Buying Decision?

How Does A Public Transport System Affect Your Home Buying Decision?

Property investment is one of the most important decisions to be taken in any household and everyone has their own parameters on which they grade their dream home. However, a few aspects are given more importance by home buyers. And the most important parameter that most of the modern home buyers take into consideration is the vicinity to the Public Transport system. When buyers decide to purchase a home, they are making a sensible life-choice decision, hence it is paramount that their criteria fit in with their purchasing decision. Let’s look at some of the reasons how a Public transport system affects a home buying decision?

#1. Saves money, Saves time

If your house and your workplace are situated miles apart, then travelling every day using a cab may be quite an expensive affair not to mention the waiting time in traffic. Instead, if you have an excellent public transportation system around your area, you can afford to save a lot of time and money. You can go for monthly passes which could cost much less than your daily cab fees.

#2. Signals positivity, growth & development

If the locality is having 24/7 bus service, then it’s an indicator for good connectivity. Assuredly even the roads will be well developed. This is a sure sign that the locality where you are searching for your house is well developed. The area will be booming with development, which will be marked by the presence of a number of shopping malls and commercial complexes.

#3. Highlights excellent connectivity

Properties which are accessible to bus stands and metro rail stations are considerably more expensive. Good connectivity highlights that the place has well-developed roads. Proximity to metro rail also means that heavy congestion of traffic could be easily negated. A well-connected locality will entice more people to invest which undoubtedly will increase the land value. One key point is that the rest of the regions in the city are easily accessible. Many suburbs and other peripheral areas are struggling for development due to poor roads. These places will have low property value and even the resale value reduces. As the connectivity in these suburbs improves, prices will naturally increase.

#4. Increased demand due to infrastructures

As mentioned above, property rates get hiked in regions where public transport is efficient. This is due to the increased demand for the properties in those particular regions. Hence, new properties with big developers are bound to arise, this makes way for excellent infrastructure development in these areas.

#5. Ensures quick access to shopping, healthcare and educational institutions

Since most of the families which reside in cities are nuclear families, they are self-sufficient and independent. Hence, they prefer to live in areas where everything which is necessary for the family is close by. Areas with good roads and an effective transport system will have an extensive reach to hospitals, reputed educational institutions, and popular shopping complexes.

A Public transport system is a vital contributor to the growth of the local economy and the communities that live nearby. It revitalizes the entire region, providing a host of opportunities to the individuals who live in the nearby regions. A sound public transport system is paramount for the healthy development of a locality as it will boost the property values and will invite more development. Therefore, sensible homeowners will make their decision based on the access to public transport.




Housing sales hikes up in the first half of 2019 in 8 cities

Housing sales hikes up in the first half of 2019 in 8 cities

Housing Sales in eight major cities increased marginally by 4 per cent to 1.29 lakh units during the first half of this calendar year, largely driven by rise in demand of affordable homes

The supply of new homes rose by 21 per cent to 1.11 lakh units during January-June 2019 from 1.24 lakh units in the year-ago period, "India Real Estate' that tracks demand, supply and prices of residential and office properties in eight cities -- Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune and Ahmedabad.

Housing sales increased to 1,29,285 units from 1,24,288 units, while new launches rose to 1,11,175 units from 91,739 units during the period under review. Unsold inventories lying with the developers dropped by 9 per cent to 4,50,263 units. "The India sales improved by 4 per cent in H1 2019 making this the third consecutive quarter to record sales improvements, The trends conclusively show a general arrest of a declining trend that can well be the inflection point leading to growth of sales in the market,

According to the data, National Capital Region saw maximum increase in demand with sales rising by 10 per cent at 19,852 units during the first six months of this year, followed by Bengaluru with 9 per cent increase at 28,225 units. Housing sales in Pune were up by 6 per cent at 17,364 units, 5 per cent in Chennai at 8,979 units, 4 per cent in Mumbai to 33,731 units, 2 per cent in Ahmedabad at 8,212 units. Demand was flat at 8,334 units in Hyderabad.

However, sales declined in Kolkata by 30 per cent to 4,588 units. This is primarily due to the procedural delays caused by the West Bengal Housing Industry Regulatory Authority and the pronounced dependence of developers on the distressed non-banking financial company sector.

"The concerted efforts by the government and the incentives given have resulted in substantial demand in affordable housing which has resulted in an overall boost to residential sales. This also seems to be in line with the government vision for 'housing for all' The weighted average prices have stagnated across cities with Mumbai, Pune and Chennai seeing prices fall by a further 3 per cent, 4 per cent and 3 per cent year-on-year (YoY), respectively. Hyderabad continues to see exceptional price growth at 9 per cent YoY due to the high proportion of ready inventory and very little supply coming online during 2018.

During the last four years, the growth in residential prices in most of the top eight cities of India has been below retail inflation growth and the gap has progressively increased since




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Home loan and tax benefits if you own multiple homes

Although a person can avail of multiple home loans, the tax benefits on the interest paid on the loan for a second house, are different from that available for the first house

People are generally under the impression that one can own any number of properties but one cannot take more than one home loan at a time. This is not true. As there is no restriction on the number of properties you can own, there is also no restriction on the number of houses for which you can take home loans and claim tax benefits. The amount of home loan that you can take, for all the properties taken together, shall depend on your earning and your ability to service the loan.



Tax benefit on interest payment

You can claim deduction for interest payable on a loan, taken for purchase, construction, repair, or renovation of any property under Section 24b. In case you own only one residential house property which is occupied by you, the maximum deduction that can be claimed on interest repayment on a loan for that property, is restricted to Rs 2 lakhs per annum. However, in case the money is borrowed after 1st April 1999 and construction of the property is not completed within a period of five years from the end of the financial year in which the money was borrowed, the deduction in respect of the interest claim shall be restricted to Rs 30,000 only.

See also: Long-term capital gains tax: Exemption on buying multiple houses

In case you have let out any property or properties owned by you, you can claim deduction for the entire interest paid, without any upper ceiling against the rent received in respect of each such property. However, in case you own more than one house property and more than one houses are occupied by you, then, you have to choose any one property as self-occupied and the other property/properties are treated as let-out for which a notional rental income, based on the rent the property is expected to fetch, is required to be offered for taxation. So, once any such property is treated as let-out, you can claim the tax benefits for full interest paid, for money borrowed in respect of any of the property that is treated as let-out.

This deduction on interest payment is available, for any residential or commercial property owned by you. It is also available, irrespective of whether the money is borrowed from a bank or housing company, or from friends or relatives, for the purpose of repairs, purchase construction, reconstruction, etc.

Any interest paid during the construction period can be amortised and can be claimed in five equal instalments, beginning from the year in which the construction is completed and possession of the house is taken.

However as per the amended law w.e.f. April, 1, 2017, the aggregate of loss under the head ‘Income from house property’, cannot be set off by more than Rs two lakhs against other income for a year. Any loss remaining unadjusted, can be carried forward and be set off against income from the same head, for eight subsequent years.


Tax benefit on repayment of principal

As per the provisions of Section 80C, you can claim up to Rs 1.5 lakhs for repayment of housing loan taken from specified institutions, including cost of registration and stamp duty of a residential house. Although you can take home loans for more than one property, the amount of deduction shall be restricted to Rs 1.5 lakhs. The overall amount of deduction, includes other items like provident fund contribution, life insurance premium, tuition fees, PPF contribution, NSC, ELSS, etc.

This deduction can be claimed only after you have taken possession of the property. If you have started repaying the principal of a home loan before taking possession, this benefit is not available to you. Please note that repayments of loan taken from your friends and relatives, are not eligible for this deduction.




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