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A Simple "Homebuyer's Regret" Prevention Checklist

Buying a home as an end user isn't a decision to be taken lightly. It is in fact a long-term decision involving a serious outlay of money

Photo Credit : Bloomberg

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Ever heard of the "homebuyer's regret" syndrome? This phrase is used to describe a situation where homebuyers go through feelings of deep regret over their decision to purchase a home. Considering the copious amounts of time, energy and resources that go into the process of finalizing a home purchase, this is definitely something to be avoided at all costs. With interest rates coming down, and the recent budget lending a fillip to affordable housing in general, we're likely to see more and more middle-income Indians moving out of their rented homes and into their own homes in the months to come. The homebuyers regret syndrome tends to be more pronounced in purchase decisions that are purely cost-driven - when it comes to real estate, there's no denying that you get what you pay for! Oftentimes, homebuyers get caught off guard when they buy cheaper homes, only to realise later that they've been short-changed on one or more critical factors. It's not uncommon to see the homebuyers regret syndrome kicking in even before moving into the newly purchased property! Here's a simple checklist that could help you avoid it.

Is the infrastructure setup up to the mark?
Inadvertently buying a home with a poor infrastructure setup would surely rank among the top regret inducers for inexperienced home buyers - particularly when it comes to water supply and uninterrupted electricity/ power backup. Unscrupulous property dealers have become notorious for camouflaging these important issues, and so their assurances cannot always be taken at face value. Worst of all, the quality of these parameters are often seasonal in our country - many areas of Delhi, for instance, suffer from water shortages and unnerving power outages only in summer months. Best to speak to a trusted source or two (scout from them through your personal network) to get an unbiased picture of the infrastructure support available in the proposed location.

Does it add more than 45 minutes to your overall daily commute?
Commuting to work can become a serious stressor - the traffic, rains and long work hours can come together to form a deadly cocktail that could affect your wellbeing and your work productivity. No wonder, there have been talks in some countries of considering commute time as part of one's work hours! With a six-day work week in most offices in India, anything more than 45 minutes of extra commute can drain the joy from you home purchase and leave you sullen and regretful of your decision over time.

Is it too far-flung from all of civilization?

Moving out to the outskirts of a city could become a reason for regret. Areas which fall outside the municipal bounds of a city could potentially suffer from deep and irreparable (at least in the short term) infrastructure issues. Also, people who move too far away from the core of a city often find themselves socially disconnected and suffering for want of basic amenities such as groceries or quality medical care. Think twice before you move into a home that promised you "complete peace of mind" because there's nobody living around you for miles!

Are there good schools nearby for your kids?

If you're newly married and plan to have kids - or already have kids - make sure that there are good schools or creches within a stones' throw (or at the very least, within comfortable driving distance) of your new home. Not ensuring this can lead to a nightmarish situation where you'll constantly fret over the safety of your kids; not to mention the added dose of morning stress you could face as soon as you wake up.

Is the neighbourhood safe?
Undoubtedly, the last thing you'd want is to move into a neighbourhood with a high crime rate. While housing projects provide at least basic security within their four walls, you simply cannot confine yourself to the gated community at all times! The last thing you'd want is for your family to be plagued by fear of theft - or worse - every time you step out. The destruction of peace of mind in such a situation wouldn't quite be measurable in rupee terms.

End Note: Buying a home as an end user isn't a decision to be taken lightly. It is in fact a long-term decision involving a serious outlay of money. If you find your proposed home not fitting at least four of the five checkpoints detailed above, you'll be better off waiting for a more opportune time. Divert the saved EMI's into a debt fund through an SIP for the time being, and use it to maximize your down payment when you do finally chance upon your dream home!


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