‘Planning to build a home…’ – that sounds like serious business, but I have been given only few hundred words to convey this concept... that is like asking a mountaineer to demonstrate the experience of climbing a mountain while walking on Linking Road.
Looks difficult, however, I shall give it my best shot.
To build a home, you first need a plot of land, unless you are lucky enough to inherit a piece of land – in which case you should sell it immediately and put the money in the bank. (This will help you avoid the extremely difficult journey of building your own home). Or, you can ignore my advice, in which case you will have to read the rest of this article.
So let us see how to acquire a plot of land. Location selection is important and it should be near amenities like shopping, school, hospital etc. More importantly, you should make sure that the land is in an “approved” layout. This will make it easy for you to obtain your building approvals as well as utilities like electricity, water, gas connection etc. Plot developers are common in upcoming areas in the edge of the city.
A developer referred by a known person will ensure peace of mind. When you register the land in your name, also ensure that the ownership is changed in the revenue records which go by various names like “patta”, “khata” etc
To build a home, you must find someone who knows how to do that, who is also called respectfully as “contractor”, “mason”, “mistry” etc.
Here again, references will help. Make sure you carry out reference checks diligently. Some aspects you should evaluate are his ability to understand you and prepare a layout of your choice, the reputation of delivering within the committed budget (this will never happen!), the reputation of delivering within the timeline, etc. It will be useful to arrive at a rough budget on your own before you meet the contractor. You can do this using online construction calculators available on sites of Ultra tech cement Ashiyana of Tata steel etc.
It is also useful to learn some jargon like footing, rebar, plinth, lintel, plaster, etc so show off to your contractor that you are not to be taken lightly (just joking, the wrong usage of jargon will make it even more obvious to the contractor that you are actually clueless!). On a more serious note, it will definitely help if you have a basic knowledge of all the steps involved in constructing a house. You can gain this very easily by doing some very elementary desk research – again using the help of websites like the above ones, YouTube videos, etc.
Okay, plot and a contractor – check! It is time to make the budget. The main purpose behind making a budget is to keep track of how much you are exceeding the budget - (obviously, that is not the real purpose) but that is what usually happens! Again, on a serious note, after your deep research on the internet and some hard conversations with the contractor, you should prepare a detailed step-by-step budget with all the key milestones.
The budget is normally exceeded due to two reasons: 1. Because you want to, - ie., you decide to increase the area or use more expensive materials 2. Because of wastage. If you keep a close watch on these two aspects, you should be able to manage within your budget. But a friendly word of advice is that you should set aside 10 percent of your budget for ‘add-ons’ that you would like to indulge in - this will enable you to derive a few moments of joy in an otherwise intense journey.
Now that you have your budget, you have to plan how you are going to fund it. A loan is a good option since you also get tax benefits on a housing loan. Look for a housing finance company or bank that will allow you to pre-pay your loan easily. This will help you become debt-free soon. If the company has the flexibility to fund your budget over-runs as you approach the completion stage, that will be another plus. Avoid taking personal loans or borrowing from relatives etc, as these are short-term loans and will put undue pressure on your monthly cash flows.
Plot-done, Contractor-done, Budget-done, Funds-done. Now it is time to sit back and watch your home come up. Except that you cannot sit back. You have to always be 2 steps ahead of your contractor which basically means that you have to anticipate problems before they occur. You can do this with your common sense and close involvement in all the steps right from boring for water, getting electricity connection, building small storage for cement, etc. Try to find a contractor who does not get annoyed with your constant intervention. The equation you enjoy with your contractor will make all the difference in the experience. You need a contractor who can see, understand and implement the plan from your perspective and not his. You need a Karan Johar not an Anurag Kashyap.
If you had the patience to read till here, then most probably you will also have the determination to construct your house. Congratulations. Remember me when you do your Grihapravesh!
The author, Manoj Viswanathan, is Managing Director and the Chief Executive Officer at Home First Finance Company India Ltd. The views expressed are personal