Does size re­ally mat­ter?

Along with your fi­nan­cial abil­ity, you need to fac­tor in your cur­rent and future re­quire­ments while choos­ing an apart­ment

HT Estates - - HTESTATES -

When you fi­nall y de­cide t o in­vest in a flat of your own, there are many fac­tors to con­sider. How­ever, one area that con­founds most In­dian buy­ers is: should I buy a big­ger flat or a smaller one? One of the big­gest con­trib­u­tors to the con­fu­sion is that home pur­chase is rarely, if ever, done with­out con­sult­ing oth­ers.

The out­come is that while you may feel that a 1 BHK is per­fectly ad­e­quate for your cur­rent needs, your fam­ily, friends and col­leagues may be of the opin­ion that you can and should pur­chase a larger unit. Here are some guide­lines to help you re­solve the con­fu­sion. As of now, In­dian families are di­vided into two broad cat­e­gories – the joint fam­ily and the nu­clear fam­ily. Though the joint fam­ily sys­tem is made up of more than just one fam­ily, there tends to be a high de­gree of over­lap between th­ese units. Mem­bers of in­di­vid­ual families en­gage in a lot of in­terunit so­cial­is­ing, and there are a lot of shared re­spon­si­bil­i­ties re­lated to chil­dren and el­ders in­volved. If you be­long to a joint fam­ily and firmly be­lieve in the re­lated val­ues that you have grown up with, a larger home is def­i­nitely a wiser choice.

The nu­clear fam­ily is a fairly re­cent in­tro­duc­tion to the In­dian so­cio-cul­tural land­scape, but it is now a rapidly grow­ing trend. Nu­clear families de­velop as in­de­pen­dent units that have lit­tle or even no over­lap with a larger fam­ily con­fig­u­ra­tion. In­her­ently small, they ei­ther have one in­come earner or are dual-in­come house­holds.

When a young cou­ple, with both part­ners as earn­ing mem­bers, ap­ply for a home loan, they of­ten find them­selves at the re­ceiv­ing end of de­ter­mined ef­forts by brokers and hous­ing fi­nance com­pa­nies to con­vince them to opt for a larger flat. “Why limit your­self to a 1 BHK when you can eas­ily af­ford a 2 BHK?” is the ar­gu­ment put forth. A small nu­clear fam­ily should not be in­flu­enced by such rea­son­ing. Rather, they should take such a de­ci­sion only on the ba­sis of: How many chil­dren they in­tend to have Their pre­ferred style of so­cial­is­ing - some families place more value on pri­vacy, while oth­ers get more sat­is­fac­tion out of having a lot of peo­ple over fre­quently Their fi­nan­cial plans and as­pi­ra­tions other than home pur­chase. Do they plan to do a lot of trav­el­ling? Will they want their chil­dren to have the op­por­tu­nity to study abroad? Is early re­tire­ment an at­trac­tive propo­si­tion? There are also other fac­tors to take into con­sid­er­a­tion while de­cid­ing on what size of flat to take. A larger flat def­i­nitely of­fers more liv­ing space and, there­fore, con­ve­nience. How­ever, apart from the higher cap­i­tal cost, it also en­tails more ef­fort and ex­pense to main­tain. A young cou­ple with­out chil­dren and at the start of their re­spec­tive ca­reers may not wish to al­lo­cate a lot of money to­wards hir- ing out­side help, and may even pre­fer to do a lot of house­hold chores them­selves.

Fi­nally, In­dia has also seen the emer­gence of the ul­tra-in­de­pen­dent young sin­gle who has no im­me­di­ate plans to marry and is fully fo­cused on his or her ca­reer. Un­less they hap­pen to al­ready be in a very high pay bracket, a larger home at this point in their life may turn out to be noth­ing but a mill­stone around their neck.

A flat should be cho­sen on the ba­sis of cur­rent re­quire­ments and fi­nan­cial abil­ity – ‘right siz­ing’ is def­i­nitely an op­er­a­tive con­cept. A larger flat should ideally be the re­sult of up­grad­ing rather than ini­tial choice, since up­grad­ing is always an op­tion for peo­ple with up­ward mo­bil­ity.

A 2 or 3 BHK is def­i­nitely the right choice to make to­wards mid- ca­reer. By this time, the chil­dren have ar­rived, their ed­u­ca­tion is fairly well-mapped and there is good over­sight of all fi­nan­cial as­pects.

This pe­riod, and the pe­riod close to re­tire­ment, is the ideal point in time to de­cide on the fam­ily’s fi­nal home. In most cases, big­ger is def­i­nitely bet­ter at such a point.

THINKSTOCK

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