Housing Finance Rates Effects
When buying a home many questions arises in a buyers mind regarding the home loans, interest rates, home loan process, EMI, which bank to opt for home loan and many such. Here are the simple answers for your queries.
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 vari- ables 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 in- terest 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.
However, many banks offer a special facility whereby customers can choose the installments they wish to pay for under construction properties till the time the property is ready for possession. Anything paid over and above the interest by the customer goes towards Principal repayment.
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. Stepdown loan option is useful for borrowers who are close to their retirement years and currently make good money.
6. What is monthly reducing balances method?
Borrowers benefit more from a loan that’s calculated on a monthly reducing basis than on an annual basis. In case of monthly resets, interest is calculated on the outstanding principal balance for that month. The principal paid is deducted from the opening principal outstanding balance to arrive at the opening principal for the next month and interest is computed on the new, reduced principal outstanding. In case of annual resets, principal paid is adjusted only at the end of the year. Hence, you continue to pay interest on a portion of the principal that has been paid back to the lender.
7. How does tenure affect cost of loan?
The longer the tenure of the loan, the lesser will be your monthly EMI outflow. Shorter tenures mean greater EMI burden, but your loan is repaid faster. If you have a short-term cash flow mismatch, your bank may increase the tenure of the loan, and your EMI burden comes down. But longer tenures mean payment of larger interest towards the loan and make it more expensive.
8. What is an amortization schedule?
This is a table that gives details of the periodic principal and interest payments on a loan and the amount outstanding at any point of time. It also shows the gradual decrease of the loan balance until it reaches zero.
9. What is pre-EMI interest?
Sometimes loan is disbursed in installments, depending on the stages of completion of the housing project. Pending final disbursement, you may be required to pay interest only on the portion of the loan disbursed. This interest called pre-EMI interest. Pre-EMI interest is payable every month from the date of each disbursement up to the date of commencement of EMI.