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Guide For NRI's


A Step By Step Guide For NRI/PIO To Buy A Home In India

By living abroad you have worked very hard, saved up all your money, and are now looking for a good investment opportunity in your home country. Whatever the reason might be, may be you are moving back to India to live with your family and friends, may be you are just looking for a good investment, India has got all potential and hence it stands in the forefront of the world’s economy. Taking a plunge into the real estate of India demands high considerations before you buy a property because the list of people cheated by fraudulent developers is very big. On the contrast there are also people who have seen great success in this market with over 95x appreciation in just couple of years. This article is focused on to help you know the real estate in India better and make you one among the successful people.

Who can buy property in India?

When it comes to a non- agricultural land, Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Person of Indian Origin (PIOs) have no restrictions in buying a property. NRI is an Indian citizen who lives in abroad for an imprecise period of time and Person of Indian Origin (PIO) is a person of Indian origin who is not a citizen of India but a citizen of some other country. NRI’s are eligible to buy a property in India and PIOs are eligible to buy a property in India only if

In this article NRI's is referred to as both as a means to produce a simple understanding.

Choosing a Property

Before choosing to buy a property, get to know the purpose of the purchase. Are you buying a property in India to live with your family or you buying a property for your parents back home or is it just purely for investment purpose? Determine the purpose first as your decision will directly affect on where to choose and which developer to choose. Next determine your budget. When it comes to the price of the property there are many things to consider, it is not just the base sale price. Reputed builders come with extra charges including preferential location charge (PLC), external development charge (EDC), infrastructure development charge (IDC), parking charges, club membership fees, maintenance charges, etc. In addition to all this there are some charges which has to be considered before the possession of the property including stamp duty charges, registration charges, legal fees, brokerage fees (if applicable), yearly taxes and more.

Next is the crucial step where you will have to decide the city or region where you want your house to be. In case if you are looking to buy a home in Chennai also consider the regions in and around Chennai including Thiruvallur, Kanchipuram because there is a huge choice of new developments in these regions. Check whether the region you have chosen has got a good infrastructure including connectivity to road, rail and air, good growth rate and employment opportunities and also on the quality of life the place will provide. In case if you want to go for future rentals house or above all the appreciation value the location of the house will play a major role.

When you choose the builder, do a complete research on the builder including the builders’ reputation in the market, ease of transaction, on time delivery of the project, quality of construction and delivery of the promises made including amenities, security and other facilities. If you are going for a home loan then make sure the bank is approving loans for the particular builder. There are some builders who do homes with modern amenities so depending on your budget you can choose the builder. Finally just make sure your builder prices are not very high when compared to the market price.

Buying Process

The most advantageous fact in buying a property in India is you can buy a property in India without even leaving your country of residence. You are allowed to appoint power of attorney to someone in India and they can sign the papers at the time of property possession and registration.

The booking amount for the property is just between 10 to 15% of the base sale price and it can be done through wire transfer or INR from any established NRE/NRO accounts maintained with banks in India. There are also some developers who provide the option of paying the amount in USD check thus eliminating an additional step for many NRI buyers. There are two plans for payment, down payment plan and linked plan. In the down payment plan buyers pay 85% of the total sale price in a very short span of time usually within 30-60 days of booking and they pay the remaining amount of 5% at closing. In this payment the buyer is given a substantial discount as a means of incentive to pre pay. In the linked plan the payments are made in installments during different stages of construction. For example if the hand over period is three years then the installment payments are done every 2-3 months. In this type of payment the capital is not blocked due to delays in construction.

If you are going for a bank loan you have many banks offering home loans for NRIs including Citi, State Bank of India, ICICI, Kotak, HDFC and more. There is a good credit history system in the country and the average time the bank takes for approval of bank loan is same as the time taken for a US -based mortgage. The borrower should be able to pay 30% of the cost of the property by himself/herself and the term amount does not exceed 15 years. Initially the rate is quite low as 8% but eventually after a year the rates can rise to 9.75%.

It is not necessary to submit your PIO/OCI card at the time of purchase; it is more than enough if you can just establish your NRI status. The card is mandatory only at the time of the sale and during repatriation of funds. NRIs can obtain up to two houses by way of gift from an Indian citizen or a person of Indian origin whether resident in India or not, provided gift tax has to be paid.

Repatriation of Funds

Repatriation of funds from the rental income and eventual sale of the property is the final step involved in buying a property in India while being abroad. At present NRIs are allowed to repatriate up to $1million per person each year. In case if you don’t have a PIO/ICO card, you can apply through Indian embassy and it can be obtained in 7 days. Capital gain taxes are applicable at the time of sale, and are considered long-term after 36 months of ownership, ending up in a significant tax break. It is to be noted that if the tax is paid to India then the income is not subject to tax in the residence country with proof of payment. Rental income must be credited to an NRO account, maintained by an Indian Bank. HSBC, Citi and others.

Ask your property developer if they have property management arm to assist you after possession of the property. The property management company will manage everything including security, maintenance, rental agreements to quality tenants.