India Property Fest offers New Investment Avenues for NRIs

The 4th edition of India Property Fest kicked off on Friday, May 29 at the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi showcasing ongoing and upcoming projects from developers and builders of repute across India.

The two-day property fest was inaugurated by Dr B R Shetty, managing director and CEO, UAE Exchange in the presence of leading property builders, real estate professionals and a crowd of eager visitors to the property show.

India Property Fest which targets the needs of NRIs in the UAE, provides an unrivalled access to the greatest number of property leaders, development projects, different investment options, financing sources and much more. It brings together everyone and anyone that you might need to meet, talk to or just have a good old natter with investments that you intend to make.

With over 52 exhibitors at the show, customers can choose properties from several projects with varying options ranging from apartments, plots, farm houses, villas and much more with prices to suit all budgets. The show brings together top notch property developers from Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Goa, Kerala, Mangaluru, Gurgaon, Baroda, Noida and more cities across India who are exhibiting their projects with exclusive offers for the visitors.

There is anything and everything for every individual at the show and you can be rest assured of the best property deals and investments to help realize your dream of owning your dream home back home.

India Property Fest makes it possible for buyers or investors who are keen to consider investing in real estate, to meet and talk to some of the leading developers in this sector. Many buyers and investors lead busy lives so the property fest has brought together some of the most interesting and iconic developments from all over India, enabling visitors to view a large number of projects all showing together under one roof.

Among the major real estate participants at India Property Fest are Lodha, Sunteck, Radius Developers, Purvankara, Ansal Housing, Karle Infra, Godrej Properties, L&T, Propshell, Asset Homes, Ekta World and many more.

Pradeep Pinto, organizer of India Property Fest said, “Whether you’re a first time buyer or looking to invest in the property market, India Property Fest will be a brilliant way to get all the information you need about the Indian property market – direct from a handpicked selection of the region’s well known developers.”

Day one of the show was very positive and India Property Fest will remain open for property buyers till Saturday, May 30 from 10 am – 9 pm and entry is FREE! Here’s a great opportunity to meet and talk to the developers in a quite environment, and to find out all about owning a dream property in India.

Come along and take the temperature of the Indian property market at Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi.

Long Wait Ahead For HomeBuyers

The notification of ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) on August 19, 2015, notified that the eco-sensitive zone around Okhla Bird Sanctuary was to be 100 metres from the eastern, western and southern boundary of the Okhla Bird Sanctuary and 1.27 kilometres from the northern boundary of the Sanctuary.

Long Wait Ahead For HomeBuyers Earlier, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had directed authorities not to issue completion certificates for construction projects within a 10-kilometre radius around the sanctuary even where construction was complete, till the boundary of the eco-sensitive zone was notified by the government. Due to this, apartments located within 10-kilometre radius of the Okhla bird sanctuary have not yet been handed over to allottees due to non-issuance of completion certificates, despite construction of these apartments being complete. This notification gave respite to many flat owners who had booked apartments in these residential complexes and were waiting to receive possession.

As per the Uttar Pradesh Apar tment ( Promotion of Construction, Ownership and Maintenance) Act, 2010, in order to transfer an apartment, a completion certificate has to be obtained by the builder/developer and further possession cannot be handed over without executing an appropriate transfer deed which has to be duly registered.

In furtherance of this legal requirement, Noida Authority in its recent statement had clarified that the builders/developers had to comply with the provisions of the Act and the rules framed thereunder before handing over possession to the allottees.

Since the land in Noida had been allotted to builders/ developers on perpetual lease or longterm lease basis, they needed to comply with the terms of their respective lease deeds. As per the statements of the Noida Authority, in order to receive a completion certificate, the builders/developers had to clear all their dues pertaining to their respective land parcel. Further, in case the builders had made any changes or deviated from the project’s layout plans, they would have to obtain a no-objection/ consent from the allottees. Therefore, to apply for a completion certificate, the builders should have cleared all dues pertaining to their land parcels and obtained no objections from each of the allottees, if applicable.

Thus, completion certificate would be issued by the appropriate authority only after the builders/developers, whose residential complexes are located outside the eco sensitive zone, have complied with the above stated conditions.

Upon obtaining the requisite completion certificates, the builders/developers can proceed with executing transfer/conveyance deeds and handing over possession to the allottees.

After the MoEFCC notification, the general public assumed that the possession of their apartments will be handed over.

However, even if the residential complex is no longer within the purview of the ecosensitive zone around Okhla Bird Sanctuary, due legal process is required to be followed by the builders/developers.

Prior to handing over possession, a completion certificate for the project is a legal necessity and for that the requirements under the Act need to be complied with.

Five Ways to Lower Your DTI

dti ratioYour debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is one of the three most important factors that lenders look at when deciding whether or not to approve you for a mortgage (the other two? Your FICO score and the loan-to-value ratio, which varies with the price of the house you plan to buy).

DTI is considered especially important in determining your ability to repay the mortgage.

It is computed with your total monthly debt payments and gross monthly income (before taxes are taken out). It is expressed one of two ways, either including your estimated monthly mortgage payments (”back end”) or your debt obligations before you take out the mortgage (“front end”).

In 2014, an important new rule promulgated by the Treasury Department had a major impact on DTIs. Known as the QM Rule and designed to toughen ability-to-repay requirements, it had the effect of limiting DTIs to 43 percent. That means borrowers with DTI’s above 43 won’t get loans.

In practice, lenders are actually even more conservative; the median back end DTI is about 37 percent for approved mortgages. That means most monthly debt payments including mortgage payments total no more than 37 percent of total monthly gross income.

DTI can be a killer for young adults making sizable student loan payments or for consumers who have run up debt. However, even those with long term debt payments like student loans, auto loans, or back taxes can get a mortgage if they improve their DTI.

Here are five steps anyone can take to lower their DTI.

1. Pay off your smallest debts first. Even a hundred dollars on a credit card requires a minimum monthly payment, which will increase your DTI. Pay these off in full. Dollar for dollar, you will get more debt reduction with this tactic than any other.

2. Refinance high APR credit card debts with a low APR card. APR means annualized percentage rate—the actual interest you pay over a year. It’s a way to look at the interest you are paying without focusing on special introductory rates, which can be misleading. Many lenders offer cards with very attractive APRs to customers who have good credit ratings.

If you have cards that are past their introductory period, though, you may be paying a higher APR than you need to. Contact one of the major credit card lenders to see what they will offer in the way of a lower APR card. When you find one, consolidate your high APR debts under your new low APR card. You will reduce your monthly debt load and pay at a lower rate of interest. In a year, review where you stand. If the marketing rate that made your new card attractive has expired, consider finding a new one and consolidating again.

3. If you thought you outfoxed the dealer and got a great deal on a new or used car, check again. You might be paying interest at a rate much higher than you need to. The median APR for car loans today is 4.38% for a 60-month loan (five years) on a new car and 5.2% on a 36-month loan a (three years) for a used car[1]. Refinance your car with the most competitive rate you can find from an online lender.

When you refinance, you can increase the length of time of the loan if you have had your car for a reasonable length of time. Lowering the interest and stretching out the principal over a longer period of time could significantly reduce your monthly payments.

4. Refinance long term debt to lower your monthly debt payments by stretching out the term of your loan and take advantage of lower rates. If you graduated more than three years ago, chances are good you can find a better interest rate today, depending on your credit rating. Remember, if the interest rate is the same, when you refinance a loan to lengthen its term, you will be paying more in interest over the long term than you would have if you had not refinanced.

5. Borrow from your 401K retirement plan at no interest to pay off smaller debts or pay down larger ones. As you make future monthly contributions to your plan, a portion will go towards paying off the amount you withdrew. You will also have to pay taxes on your withdrawal. Repay the withdrawal as soon as you can to keep your retirement savings on track.

The bottom line?

Take a hard look at your debt situation before you start applying for a loan. Compute your DTI. Count only income you can document with pay stubs or tax returns.  If you find yourself close to the 37 percent threshold, take steps now to reduce your monthly debt payments.

Should You Save for a Down Payment, or Pay Off Debt?

saving_picThese days, debt free is the end game for a significant chunk of the population.

But if you’re still not quite there yet and you’re itching to start building equity in a new house, you may be wondering where exactly your priorities (and your savings) should lie: in an account marked “future down payment” or in your creditors’ pockets.

The quick answer? It depends.

If your debt is high interest, then pay it off as fast as possible. That generally means any debt with an interest rate over 7%, like most credit card debt. The logic behind this is pretty simple—at the moment, interest rates on mortgages are still on the low side, and low-interest debt is generally preferable to high-interest debt.

If you’re if you’re investing your savings or keeping them in a high-interest account, then go ahead. keep on saving. So long as your savings are growing at a faster rate than your debt, there’s no problem with it.

If you’re concerned about how much loan you can qualify for, then paying down your debt may help. This is because lenders take into account your debt-to-income (or DTI) ratio when calculating the size of the loan they’re willing to offer you, and your interest rate.

The Third Option

Of course, if you’re still on the fence, you could always wait a little longer until you’ve both saved up enough for a down payment and paid down your debt.

For many, this may actually be the ideal path. Most financial experts advise that you have enough liquid assets to cover 3-6 months of living expenses in the event of job troubles or emergencies. Without that cushion, you may find yourself strapped for cash if your new home suddenly needs a new septic tank.

4 Fast Solutions for Last Minute Mortgage Problems

problem-solvingGetting a mortgage can be stressful, especially when last-minute issues crop up that can stop the process in its tracks. These surprises are unpleasant, but they don’t have to spell disaster for your mortgage if you act quickly.

Problem: Additional Documentation is Needed

Your lender calls you days before closing and requests additional documentation. This most often occurs when the lender needs to verify closing funds or requires proof that all conditions for approval are satisfied, such as settling a debt.

Solution: To rectify it quickly, take the required paperwork to the lender in person, if possible. If not, see if you can send it by email or other digital means. The final option is to send a fax directed to the attention of the loan officer who is working on your mortgage.

How To Avoid It: Contact your lender no less than one week before closing and make sure there’s no additional paperwork you need to turn in.

Problem: Paperwork Error

An error in your paperwork has brought the loan process to a halt. This issue can range from the misspelling of a name to erroneous financial figures.

Solution:Include all necessary supporting documentation when you submit the corrections to increase your chances of a timely closing.

How To Avoid It: Review all of your application and loan paperwork well ahead of closing and keep an eye out for errors, no matter how trivial. Be especially diligent about the loan amount, down payment, interest rate and closing costs.

Problem: Unavailable Payments

Lenders require you to pay the funds for your down payment and closing costs on closing day from certified funds, and this is often done by a direct bank transfer. However, bank errors and other delays can cause this option to fail, leaving you unable to close.

Solution: You can’t use personal checks for this purpose, so your only option to fix this situation fast is to request a certified or cashier’s check from your bank and bring it with you to closing.

How To Avoid It: Arrange for the transfer to happen a few days in advance of the closing date to leave room for possible hiccups.

Problem: Unexpected Problems During Final Walk-Through

Lenders require assessment of the property before signing off on a mortgage. This is often done near the end of the process, which can be trouble if the condition of the property has deteriorated since the first appraisal inspection.

Solution: After discussing the extent and costs of the repairs with the inspector, talk to your real estate agent about having the sellers pay for any necessary repairs. This is usually negotiated by requesting the seller’s escrow funds or by increasing their closing costs to cover the expenses.

How To Avoid It: Request the inspection a few weeks before closing to ensure that any problems are found and dealt with before you’re at the table.

Starter Home, or Dream Home?

Dream-HomeIf you’re like most first-time homebuyers, you have a long list of must-haves and a tight budget. But while it can be tempting to hold out for a house that has everything you want (even if it comes at a price), there’s a lot to be said for the starter home.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re weighing the pros and cons.

A starter isn’t forever. Most people only stay in a starter home for five or so years, or until they need more room for a growing family. If you see yourself changing jobs or moving to a better school district, then there isn’t a lot of sense in buying something to grow into.

Just because you’ve been approved for a larger loan doesn’t mean you should use it. When lenders do the math on your mortgage, all they care about is whether you’ll be able to make your monthly payments, not whether you’ll be able to make them and have enough left over to take a vacation or renovate the bathroom.

Buying at the upper end of your limit may get you the features you want, but the heftier down payment could deplete your savings in the short term, and monthly payments could keep you from building them back up in case of emergencies. Whatever option you choose, make sure to do the math.

Even if the home you really want is out of reach, you can still build equity. Depending on your area, buying a small starter home can be cheaper than paying rent, and you get to build equity (at today’s fairly low interest rates) for your later move.

Starter homes can be good investments. A lot of starter homes have plenty of room for improvement, which means room for you to increase the value of your property. Plus, with real estate prices on the uptick in many areas, choosing wisely now may mean dollar signs down the road, even without a lot of work.

The bottom line?

It doesn’t pay to take on more house than you need, or can afford. If you have the income and the desire to stay put for twenty or more years, go ahead and buy your forever home. If not, there are plenty of other options, from cute bungalows to condos that could make you the perfect starter home.

Open Houses: Are they Worth the Effort?

Open-house-sign1Now that internet listings have become the new normal, you may be wondering if holding a traditional open house is worth it at all. Industry veterans have debated just this for years, with some insisting that internet pictures will never replace the seeing real thing, and others claiming that any truly interested buyer will make an appointment anyway.

If you find yourself lost, this quick rundown of the positives and negatives can help you decide if an open house works for you.

Let’s start with the negatives:

Finding a buyer via an open house is rare. A lot of people show up at open houses, but not all of them are interested in buying your house. Visitors may be trying to get a feel for a neighborhood, or they may be even earlier in their search and just figuring out what they want in a house. Nosy neighbors are also known for putting in appearances.

Your agent may not be selling your house at all. Real estate agents often use open houses to meet new clients and direct them to other houses in their inventory. However, remember there’s a flip side to this. Your realtor is probably doing the same for your property at other open houses.

Thieves target open houses. Open houses can get a lot of traffic, and sometimes it’s hard for agent to keep an eye on every person in the house—creating a golden opportunity for thieves. Of course, there are ways to deter this. Locking up your valuables is one smart move, and some require visitors to sign in with ID.

There are a few positives to keep in mind, though:

You cast a wider net. Sometimes, selling is just a numbers game. Get enough people to see your house, and odds are good, one of them is going to be interested. So even if none of the visitors at your open house make an offer, they may know someone else who’s looking. Or maybe the signage your agent puts up leads someone to make an appointment later in the week.

They can help you gauge the market. There’s nothing like getting an opinion firsthand, and if your agent does his or her job right, an open house can be a great way to get a handle on the things a potential buyer will notice—and on the things you need to change, price included.

It’s convenient for you. Let’s face it. Having one open house is a lot easier than having ten individual showings. If you and your agent advertise correctly, you may be able to draw in the people who might make an appointment anyway, saving yourself some hassle.

The bottom line? Whether or not an open house will benefit you depends largely on your house and the market you live in, and some agents have more success with them than others.

How to Avoid the Emotional Roller Coaster of Buying a Home

Style: "Sharp_25_3"Buying a home can be an emotional roller coaster. Although the experience is different for everyone, you can anticipate several emotional highs and lows. You’ll feel excited, frustrated — and sometimes, disappointment.

However, there are ways to avoid the emotional roller coaster.

Know what you’re looking for

If you’re buying a home with a partner, know what you’re looking for before beginning the search. It’s important that you and your spouse remain on the same page regarding all aspects of the buying process — including the neighborhood, the type of house and the price range. Home buying is stressful enough, and the last thing you need is a battle with your partner.

Before meeting with a realtor and looking at the first property, narrow down a list of needs and wants with your partner and agree on the right type of home for your family based on location, size and price.

Know what you can afford

Some people start the buying process excited, but this excitement quickly leads to disappointment. In many cases, buyers fail to get pre-approved for a mortgage before shopping for homes. And unfortunately, this decision often contributes to the emotional roller coaster. You may find a house, think it’s the perfect place for your family, submit an offer, and then a mortgage lender doesn’t approve the amount you need because the sale price is too much for your income. Or if you find the perfect house and submit an offer, the seller may accept an offer from another buyer who’s pre-approved.

A pre-approval lets you know whether you qualify for a house, and how much you can afford to spend. Additionally, a pre-approval letter is preferred by home sellers. It’s safer for sellers to work with buyers who’ve secured financing.

Choose your realtor wisely

Not all real estate agents are the same. You need someone who’s not only professional, but someone who will listen to your needs and have your best interest in mind. Unfortunately, some realtors are only interested in their bottom line. For that matter, they might encourage you to spend more than you’re comfortable spending. They may show homes that are higher than your personal price point, betting on the fact that you’ll fall in love with the property and pay more.

Even after you’re pre-approved for a specific amount, you may decide to spend less than what you’re approved for, and if you fall for a realtor’s trick and purchase a more expensive property, you could end up house poor. This is when the majority of your income goes toward the house payment, and there’s little money left for other expenses.

Be flexible

Truthfully speaking, you’re not going to get everything you want in a house, unless you work with a builder and design your own home. With that said, you need to be flexible and compromise on certain features. If you go into the house search looking for the perfect house, you’re going to be disappointed and never satisfied with the inventory.

Save enough cash

You can have a perfect credit score and steady income, but if you don’t save enough money, the home buying process can come to a screeching halt. There’s nothing cheap about purchasing a property. You need cash for a down payment, closing costs and other mortgage-related fees, such as the appraisal, the earnest money deposit and the home inspection. You may be excited and ready to close on your new home, but the lender may postpone closing if you haven’t saved enough money. Typically, you need about five percent for a down payment and between two percent and five percent for closing costs.

The home buying process isn’t smooth sailing, but if you prepare and understand how buying works, you can get through the process without any major mishaps.

5 Factors That Help You Qualify for a Mortgage

approved-mortgage-loanHomes are sold every day. So while it’s harder to qualify for a mortgage, it’s not impossible. If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you may think you can’t qualify for a home loan. However, just because mortgage lenders don’t offer easy financing doesn’t mean a bank will reject your application.

If you want to buy, here are five tips for walking into any bank and getting approved for a loan.

1. High Credit Scores Rule

If you want to walk into any bank and get approved for a mortgage loan, pay close attention to your credit score. Lenders prefer applicants with high ratings. These people know how to manage credit, and excellent credit means they’re less likely to miss payments or make late payments.

A high credit score is any score over 700, but the closer you are to a perfect score of 850, the better. You can’t achieve an amazing credit score overnight, but if you pay your bills on time, pay off debt and limit your number of credit inquiries, you’ll slowly increase your rating and become a prime applicant.

2. Strive for Stability

Of course, getting a mortgage loan isn’t just about credit scores. You can have a perfect credit score, but if lenders feel your income is too irregular or unstable, this can kill the mortgage deal. Lenders aren’t willing to take risky chances, and they take into account thestability of your income and job.

To qualify for a mortgage loan anywhere, maintain accurate financial records for the past 24 months. Whether you’re an employee, self-employed, or receive regular income from another source like alimony or child support, retain bank statements, copies of checks and tax returns. Also, don’t job hop. It’s best to have the same employer for at least two years when applying for a mortgage. You may not have employment gaps, but switching employers two or three times in two years makes lenders nervous.

3. Apply for Less than You Can Afford

When applying for a mortgage, some people get as much financing as they can afford. However, if you max your housing budget, you may run into trouble down the road. Since unexpected expenses are going to happen, a better approach is applying for less than you can afford. This approach protects your personal finances, and mortgage lenders will gladly approve your application if it’s obvious you’re buying beneath your means.

4. Show the Money

Some banks have provisions to help borrowers with limited resources, such as zero down loans to those who qualify for certain programs (VA and USDA loans) and closing cost assistance. However, these provisions aren’t offered by every lender. If you want to walk into any bank and get a mortgage, save your cash. You’ll need about 3.5 percent to five percent as a down payment, and another two percent to five percent for closing costs.

5. Get Rid of Debt

You don’t have to be debt-free to purchase a home, but you’ll need a low debt-to-income ratio. Basically, all monthly minimum debt payments (including your future mortgage payment) cannot exceed 43 percent of your gross monthly income. To ensure you get a mortgage loan fast, pay off as many debts as possible before applying. This includes credit cards, auto loans, student loans, etc. This speeds the underwriting process, and the less you owe elsewhere, the lower your risk of mortgage payment problems in the future.

Truthfully, most people can’t walk into any bank and get a mortgage loan. Because no one’s situation is perfect, many people get loans from banks that offer programs tailored to their specific needs. However, if you have a high credit score, stability few debts, and plenty of cash, just about every lender will be eager to approve your home loan application.

Mortgage Comparison: FHA vs. Conventional Fixed

compareIf you’re a first-time homebuyer (or even if you’re not), it may come as a bit of a shock to learn just how many mortgage options are out there.

Unless you have served in the military and qualify for a VA loan, or are buying in a rural area and can go with a USDA loan, odds are good that you’re going to find yourself choosing between an FHA or a conventional loan.

Of course, recent changes to both FHA and conventional mortgages mean the decision can be even harder. In December, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced that they’ll start backing fixed-rate loans with as little as 3% down, and in January, the President announced a 0.5% cut to FHA mortgage insurance premiums.

So how do you choose? Here’s the breakdown:

FHA Conventional
-Down payments as low as 3.5%-500 minimum credit score.

-Available to buyers 3 years after a foreclosure or 2 years after a bankruptcy.

-Mortgage insurance required on all loans (recent changes lowered the rate).

-Mortgage insurance required for the life of the loan.

-Eligible for a Streamline refinance.

-Not available for investment or second properties.

-Limited to a few standard loan programs

-Down payments as low as 3% (thanks to new changes)-620 minimum credit score.

-Available  to buyers 7 years after a foreclosure or 4 years after a bankruptcy.

-Mortgage insurance required only for loans exceeding an 80% loan-to-value ratio.

-Mortgage insurance will end once you reach 78% loan-to-value ratio.

-Standard refinance required

-Available for all residential properties.

-More loan program options

So which is more cost efficient?

That’s going to depend on a host of factors—your credit score, your down payment amount, how long you plan to stay with the mortgage, and so on.

I can tell you that FHA loans do sometimes have slightly lower interest rates than conventional fixed-rate, but that comes at a price—namely, mortgage insurance premiums. The recent cut of 0.5% is significant (some estimate it will save homeowners about $900 a year), but remember that you’re still stuck with mortgage insurance for the life of your loan.

The biggest advantage to an FHA? The lower credit requirements.

Oh the other hand, if the only reason you were considering an FHA is because of the lower down payment requirement, a conventional fixed rate loan is now pretty much a no brainer. You can put a minimum amount down and you’re only stuck paying mortgage insurance for a set amount of time.