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FAQ on Home loans

FAQ on Home loans

1. For what purposes can I seek a first time home loan?

You can generally seek a first time home loan for buying a house or a flat, renovation, extension and repairs to your existing house. Most banks have a separate policy for those who are going for a second house. Please remember to seek specific clarifications on the above-mentioned issues from your commercial bank.

2. How will your bank decide your home loan eligibility?

Your bank will assess your repayment capacity while deciding the home loan eligibility. Repayment capacity is based on your monthly disposable / surplus income, (which in turn is based on factors such as total monthly income / surplus less monthly expenses) and other factors like spouse’s income, assets, liabilities, stability of income etc. The main concern of the bank is to make sure that you comfortably repay the loan on time and ensure end use. The higher the monthly disposable income, higher will be the amount you will be eligible for loan. Typically a bank assumes that about 55-60 % of your monthly disposable / surplus income is available for repayment of loan. However, some banks calculate the income available for EMI payments based on an individual’s gross income and not on his disposable income.

The amount of the loan depends on the tenure of the loan and the rate of interest also as these variables determine your monthly outgo / outflow which in turn depends on your disposable income. Banks generally fix an upper age limit for home loan applicants.

3. What is an EMI?

You repay the loan in Equated Monthly Installments (EMIs) comprising both principal and interest. Repayment by way of EMI starts from the month following the month in which you take full disbursement. (For understanding how EMI is calculated, please see annex).

4. What documents are generally sought for a loan approval?

In addition to all legal documents relating to the house being bought, banks will also ask you to submit Identity and Residence Proof, latest salary slip ( authenticated by the employer and self attested for employees ) and Form 16 ( for business persons/ self-employed ) and last 6 months bank statements / Balance Sheet, as applicable . You also need to submit the completed application form along with your photograph. Loan applications form would give a checklist of documents to be attached with the application. Do not be in a hurry to seal the deal quickly.

Please do discuss and seek more information on any waivers in terms and conditions provided by the commercial bank in this regard. For example some banks insist on submission of Life Insurance Policies of the borrower / guarantor equal to the loan amount assigned in favour of the commercial bank. There are usually amount ceilings for this condition which can also be waived by appropriate authority. Please read the fine print of the bank’s scheme carefully and seek clarifications.

5. What are the different interest rate options offered by banks?

Banks generally offer either of the following loan options: Floating Rate Home Loans and Fixed Rate Home Loans. For a Fixed Rate Loan, the rate of interest is fixed either for the entire tenure of the loan or a certain part of the tenure of the loan. In case of a pure fixed loan, the EMI due to the bank remains constant. If a bank offers a Loan which is fixed only for a certain period of the tenure of the loan, please try to elicit information from the bank whether the rates may be raised after the period (reset clause). You may try to negotiate a lock-in that should include the rate that you have agreed upon initially and the period the lock-in lasts.

Hence, the EMI of a fixed rate loan is known in advance. This is the cash outflow that can be planned for at the outset of the loan. If the inflation and the interest rate in the economy move up over the years, a fixed EMI is attractively stagnant and is easier to plan for. However, if you have fixed EMI, any reduction in interest rates in the market, will not benefit you. Determinants of floating rate:

The EMI of a floating rate loan changes with changes in market interest rates. If market rates increase, your repayment increases. When rates fall, your dues also fall. The floating interest rate is made up of two parts: the index and the spread. The index is a measure of interest rates generally (based on say, government securities prices), and the spread is an extra amount that the banker adds to cover credit risk, profit mark-up etc. The amount of the spread may differ from one lender to another, but it is usually constant over the life of the loan. If the index rate moves up, so does your interest rate in most circumstances and you will have to pay a higher EMI. Conversely, if the interest rate moves down, your EMI amount should be lower.

Also, sometimes banks make some adjustments so that your EMI remains constant. In such cases, when a lender increases the floating interest rate, the tenure of the loan is increased (and EMI kept constant).

Some lenders also base their floating rates on their Benchmark Prime Lending Rates (BPLR). You should ask what index will be used for setting the floating rate, how it has generally fluctuated in the past, and where it is published/disclosed. However, the past fluctuation of any index is not a guarantee for its future behavior. Flexibility in EMI:

Some banks also offer their customers flexible repayment options. Here the EMIs are unequal. In step-up loans, the EMI is low initially and increases as years roll by (balloon repayment). In step-down loans, EMI is high initially and decreases as years roll by.

Step-up option is convenient for borrowers who are in the beginning of their careers. Step-down loan option is useful for borrowers who are close to their retirement years and currently make good money.

FAQ on Home loans

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