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Should one buy property post-lockdown?



Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic crisis engendering high volatility in the capital markets is leading to investors losing their hard-earned money, at least for the time being. Most of the sectors have been badly affected due to the COVID-19 economic crisis

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic crisis engendering high volatility in the capital markets is leading to investors losing their hard-earned money, at least for the time being. Most of the sectors have been badly affected due to the COVID-19 economic crisis. According to analysts, property prices after have declined by two to nine per cent after March, when the lockdown first came into effect. Even though the property prices have come down, the pandemic and the resultant lockdown have put a brake on people’s aspirations of owning a house of their own.

Image Source :PTI

Among those affected are homebuyers who decided to buy a property in the new financial year by taking a home loan. But these people are now no longer sure if they would be able to afford the equated monthly investments (EMIs). Their reasons vary, ranging from layoffs, lack of business earnings to salary cuts, among others. The real estate sector has been hit by the lockdown, as construction activity all but came to a grinding halt with looming uncertainty over project completion dates.

Although the Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, took major steps to contain the fallout, still there are certain factors beyond her control as well, including lack of available manpower at construction sites. 

The macro-economic uncertainty coupled with job cuts has left the buyers confused. We have come up with a piece of consolidated advice for homebuyers, if they are after owning a property in the post-lockdown economic scenario.

What a homebuyer should do?

  • It would be best for the potential buyer with capital to wait for a couple of months and keep a close watch over the liquidity situation of the market.
  • “Supply chain issues, labour availability and issues of raising any form of institutional capital will have their impact on projects and development timeline. Therefore, it would be prudent for buyers to pick up units in completed projects or wait till the construction activity on the site is resumed when it comes to under-construction projects,” says Ajay Sharma, Managing Director, Valuations (India) at Colliers International.
  • It is prudent for a buyer to stick with prominent developers with a good track record with both customers and financial institutions. This will ensure safety in capital invested by them. “Given that residential pricing will be under pressure, good deals will come the buyer’s way but the timing of the buy should be prudent and not delayed in hope of more discounted pricing,” added Sharma.
  • Buyers should evaluate their financial position, both current and in the next five years. They should carefully gauge if they are ready to take on any more loan liability, especially if they are solely dependent on monthly income from jobs.
  • It would be important that they access all information from the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) sources to evaluate any buying-decision.
  • It would be better if they take professional opinions from registered RERA brokers for a property before embarking on the decision to buy a project.
  • “Buyers should closely work with their financial partner (banks or NBFCs) to obtain all information regarding the project they are evaluating,” said Sharma.
  • Also, buyers should keep a sharp eye out for interest rates and take advantage of low-interest regimes at the same time. According to Adhil Shetty, CEO, BankBazaar, “With interests at an all-time low, this is a good time to buy a house. We’re currently in a low inflation period, and there are few triggers for an interest rate spike. Therefore, with rates falling regularly, a repo-linked loan will work to the borrower’s advantage.”
  • A ready to move-in flat is more advisable to buy as compared to under-construction ones. Avoid putting your money into incomplete projects.
  • Check the builders’ detail and then go and buy ready to move-in flats. Check all RERA rules before buying a flat. “Opt for a longer tenure if possible. While this means a higher interest rate, it means smaller EMIs. You can start putting together a small kitty towards your home loan, which you can pre-pay from time to time. This will reduce the impact of your increased tenure,” adds Shetty.
  • For example, assume a loan of Rs 40 lakh at 8 per cent interest. For a 20-year loan, you will be paying an interest of Rs 40.3 lakh. For the same loan, you will have to pay an interest of Rs 65.7 lakh if the tenure is 30 years. However, a prepayment of Rs five lakh at the end of the third year will bring down the interest payable to Rs 41 lakh. Use a calculator to understand how you can prepay your loan to get maximum benefits.
  • Consider opting for a smaller house with fewer premium amenities. This will bring down the costs for now. Over time, you can upgrade to a bigger premium home.
  • With respect to any purchase decision, it is advisable to bring in financial consultant and take informed calls based on one’s ability to take liabilities.
  • If the buyer is to dispose of a property to buy a new one, it would be best to complete the deal before signing on for a new apartment. This will ensure cash flow continuity and no hard surprises.
  • It’s a common practice to monetise long-term savings like PPF to finance buying of the property, but in current times, it would be sensible to leave at least 9-12 months equivalent of monthly income in savings before buying a new property.
  • Fiscal prudence should be paramount and it will help in making the right decisions for buying property.

Pandemic affect from a buyer’s perspective:

  • There will be two types of home buyers after the lockdown period, those who have capital at hand and those who have secured job but need a home loan, says Sharma.
  • The former will look for properties that are complete and compliant from all perspectives as it would be a safe investment though buy-in price may not be much discounted.
  • Investors will have to look at buying for the appreciation of capital value with low consideration for yields that are already very low
  • The push of government for rental housing might see investment into residential units. Potential buyers could be at an advantage in view of the financial sops that could result in decent returns. 
  • Buyers will need to carefully assess two risks- liability risk and property risk. Liability risk will entail the loan taking ability and servicing ability in light of macro-economic issues.
  • Property risks will entail the development stage, progress, solvency of the developer and the ability to complete the project. A delay in raising capital and progress in work will spill over into liability risk and buyers will carefully look at de-risking themselves.
  • Buyers’ cautious approach will defer their buying and preference shift depending on the pricing of the units. Both buyer types will expect discounts from developers and push for box prices that could land them a good deal. “A fair amount of paperwork and verification are also involved. So, also utilise this time to keep these ready, says Shetty.

Things to keep in mind post-COVID-19 lockdown:

  • It is important that a potential buyer of residential real estate have their PPEs on at all times when going for on-site inspection.
  • It is best to wear gloves and avoid touching surfaces to minimise transmission risks.
  • It would be advisable to carry out all documentation online.
  • With respect to any purchase decision, it is advisable to bring in a financial consultant and take informed calls based on one’s ability to take liabilities. “If the buyer is to dispose a property to buy new one, it would be best to complete the deal before signing on for a new apartment. This will ensure cash flow continuity and no hard surprises,” says Sharma.
  • It is a common practice to monetise long term savings like PPF to finance buying of property but in current times it would be sensible to leave at least 9-12 months equivalent of monthly income in savings.
  • Fiscal prudence should be paramount and it will help in making the right decision for buying property.
  • Make sure you have a good credit score. Check there are no misses and pay special attention to ensure that you pay your bills on time in full.
  • There will be a certain amount of credit tightening, and a good credit score can go a long way in ensuring that you get a good deal on your loan.
  • Increase your emergency fund, so that it covers six months to an year of salary as a security. This will ensure you have more funds at hand in case of an emergency. This also gives you sufficient time to get another job in case of a job loss.
  • Read and understand all the property-related documents before you finalise your purchase. Take legal help if required. This will save you heartache in the future.
  • It would be anywhere between a couple of weeks to a couple of months before you can actually go ahead with the purchase. Take this time to understand how home loans work, especially external benchmark-linked ones.
  • Different banks have different loan qualification criteria such as the borrower’s age, job profile, employment stability, credit history and others. Use calculators and eligibility charts to understand your eligibility with a particular lender to avail the best possible offers.
  • Lenders set terms and conditions pertaining to the repayment of home loans. So, you need to clarify the terms related to settlement/foreclosing the outstanding amount, transferring the balance to another lender’s account, pre-paying a part or full amount of home loan before finalising a lender.


Empowering Women in Dubai’s Real Estate Market: The Vision and Journey of Leedwells Real Estate and Boon Stay



In the dynamic and competitive real estate market of Dubai, where male dominance has traditionally been the norm, a new wave of female empowerment is making significant strides. Among the frontrunners of this movement is Leedwells Real Estate, a company established in 2021 with a mission to revolutionize the property market. Recently, in 2024, they expanded their vision with the launch of Boon Stay, a company dedicated to the holiday home concept. Together, these sister companies are committed to fostering a more inclusive and diverse industry.

Leedwells Real Estate: A Clear Vision for Real Estate

Founded in 2021, Leedwells Real Estate has consistently demonstrated excellence in the property market, leveraging over 12 years of industry experience. Led by CEO Aman Kaur and Managing Director Arshe Noor, Leedwells Real Estate has solidified its reputation as a reliable and innovative real estate agency in Dubai. Their dedication to client satisfaction and market expertise ensures that clients receive personalized services tailored to their unique needs.

Championing Women Empowerment

In an industry largely dominated by male professionals, Leedwells Real Estate stands out for its commitment to empowering women. Aman Kaur and Arshe Noor recognize the success and contributions of numerous female professionals in the real estate sector. By promoting diversity and inclusion, they aim to pave the way for more women to achieve remarkable milestones in their careers.

Expanding Horizons: Boon Stay

Building on the success of Leedwells Real Estate, Aman Kaur and Arshe Noor launched Boon Stay in 2024 to address the growing demand for holiday homes in Dubai. Recognizing the city as a global travel hub, Boon Stay offers a comprehensive platform where travelers can find luxurious accommodations and curated experiences. The company’s approach mirrors popular services like Airbnb, but with a distinctive focus on luxury and personalized service.

Boon Stay’s unique business model not only caters to holidaymakers but also serves investors looking to capitalize on Dubai’s lucrative real estate market. The company offers comprehensive investment opportunities, enabling clients to generate substantial revenue through strategic property investments. This dual approach of catering to both travelers and investors sets Boon Stay apart in the competitive landscape.

A Holistic Experience

For visitors to Dubai, Boon Stay promises a seamless and luxurious experience. From arranging premium accommodations to organizing bespoke luxury trips, the company ensures that every aspect of the client’s stay is meticulously handled. This all-encompassing service guarantees a memorable and stress-free holiday, allowing guests to fully immerse themselves in the vibrant culture and opulence of Dubai.

Future Prospects

As Leedwells Real Estate and Boon Stay continue to expand, their vision remains clear: to create a more diverse, inclusive, and successful real estate market in Dubai. By empowering women and providing unparalleled services to both travelers and investors, these companies are set to redefine industry standards and contribute to Dubai’s reputation as a premier destination for real estate and luxury living.

In conclusion, Leedwells Real Estate and Boon Stay exemplify the transformative power of diversity and innovation in Dubai’s real estate market. Through the unwavering commitment of Aman Kaur and Arshe Noor to excellence and empowerment, they are not only achieving remarkable growth but also inspiring a new generation of female leaders in the industry.

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The WittyFeed Triumph: Vinay Singhal, Parveen Singhal, and Shashank Vaishnav’s Journey to Content Dominance



Vinay Singhal, Parveen Singhal, and Shashank Vaishnav have created a stunning success story with WittyFeed in the digital world, where content is king. Rising from the ashes of failed businesses, these computer experts changed course and built the second-largest content platform globally, only surpassed by BuzzFeed. This piece explores the story of these visionary founders and how WittyFeed rose to prominence in the content industry.

In 2013, faced with the setbacks of two unsuccessful ventures, Vinay, Parveen, and Shashank decided to stay the course. Ditching and FollowMe247, they envisioned a content platform that catered to the needs of content creators, distributors, and consumers. This vision materialized in September 2014 with the launch of WittyFeed—a platform that rapidly ascended the ranks to become the third-most visited website in the Indian entertainment category.

For Vinay Singhal, WittyFeed is not just a content platform; it’s a technology play. Leveraging robust technology and analytics, WittyFeed ensures its content goes viral by intricately guiding content selection, creation, distribution, and monetization. Real-time data analysis and insights into user behavior empower thousands of influencers to disseminate content, making WittyFeed a formidable player in the global content arena.

WittyFeed’s strategic foresight extends to its strong network of influencers, positioning the platform years ahead of its competitors. Recognizing influencers as the distributors in the digital world, WittyFeed created—an influencer platform with around 15,000 influencers. These influencers, with millions of followers, redirect traffic to WittyFeed, creating a symbiotic relationship that propels the platform’s reach.

WittyFeed’s impact transcends borders, with a presence in Spain, the US, and the UK, while rapidly gaining traction in India. The platform boasts over 100 million sessions and 60 million unique visitors monthly, generating revenues of ₹30 crore in FY17. Programmatic advertising forms a significant revenue stream, complemented by sponsored content collaborations with around 70 brands, including Uber, Coca-Cola, and Zee Studios. By endearing itself to brands, WittyFeed aims to derive 40 percent of its revenues from brand partnerships.

While WittyFeed has thrived, the platform remains vigilant about potential challenges, especially as Facebook’s algorithms evolve. Vinay emphasizes the importance of steering clear of click-bait and focusing on quality content to maintain a symbiotic relationship with Facebook. Future strategies include the integration of video content, fostering collaborations with mobile apps, and seeking a series A funding round for expansion.

The success of WittyFeed lies in the synergy of its founders—Parveen Singhal, Vinay Singhal, and Shashank Vaishnav. Parveen, the Chief Content Officer, envisions video content as the next growth frontier. Vinay, with a knack for building solutions, steers the technology-driven aspects, while Shashank, the Chief Technology Officer, brings real-time data analytics to the forefront.

As WittyFeed charts a course toward greater heights, its founders remain attuned to the evolving nature of digital consumption. Vinay Singhal encapsulates the essence of their journey, emphasizing the imperative of staying at the forefront of change. The triumvirate’s journey from the brink of failure to commanding one of the world’s largest content platforms is not just a success story; it’s a testament to resilience, innovation, and the power of strategic vision. In an ever-evolving digital landscape, WittyFeed and its founders stand poised for continued impact and influence.

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Rahul Narang and Saurabh Arora: Architects of Healthcare Transformation at Lybrate



Rahul Narang and Saurabh Arora‘s combined genius is evident in the rapidly changing field of healthcare innovation as they lead Lybrate, a ground-breaking online platform for medical consultations. The story takes place against the backdrop of Saurabh Arora, who attended Columbia Business School and IIT Delhi before purposefully changing his course. 2014 saw Arora leave his position as a data scientist at Facebook in Silicon Valley in order to pursue his homegrown business goals. This crucial choice launched Lybrate in 2015, a platform that has the potential to completely transform patient-doctor relations.

Arora’s vision for Lybrate germinated during a visit to India, where he keenly observed the challenges posed by self-medication in rural areas and the inconveniences faced by urban denizens. Fueled by a determination to bridge these gaps, Arora enlisted the expertise of his former colleague and friend, Rahul Narang, who assumed the role of co-founder and chief technology officer at Lybrate.

The platform, operating as an online out-patient department (OPD), strategically deploys technology to enhance the accessibility of quality healthcare across India. Arora’s mission was to seamlessly connect patients and doctors, transcending geographical constraints. In less than three years, Lybrate has garnered over 1 lakh registered doctors, facilitating upwards of 6 million interactions monthly. These interactions span doctor searches, health queries, and appointments for consultations and lab tests.

The triumph of Lybrate can be attributed to its innovative approach and meticulous planning. Arora underscores the critical importance of aligning the product with the workflow of doctors, fostering positive word-of-mouth recommendations. The nascent stages involved securing funding, with Gokul Rajaram, a luminary in developing Google’s AdSense network, playing a pivotal role. Lybrate secured a seed round of $1.23 million from Nexus Venture Partners, Rajaram, and independent investor Vispi Daver in August 2014. A subsequent funding round in July 2015 saw a commitment of $10.2 million from Tiger Global, Nexus Venture Partners, and Ratan Tata, propelling Lybrate’s mission to new heights.

The healthcare landscape in India presents a formidable challenge, marked by a concerning doctor-patient ratio of 1:1,700, as highlighted by a joint report from KPMG and Ficci. What sets Lybrate apart is its unwavering focus on alleviating the doctor shortage. The platform’s workflow begins with anonymous health-related queries from patients, evolving into online or offline consultations as comfort levels with the doctors on the platform grow.

Lybrate’s distinctive patient engagement model places the patient at the center, offering access to a comprehensive spectrum of healthcare services. This strategic differentiator positions Lybrate favorably against Practo, its major competitor, which primarily functions as a doctor discovery platform. While Practo concentrates on appointment scheduling, Lybrate is committed to transforming the patient-doctor interaction and propelling it into the digital realm.

Despite the myriad challenges, Lybrate has achieved a commendable turnover of over ₹22.45 crore in FY15-16, with aspirations to reach ₹25 crore in the current fiscal year. The platform boasts various revenue streams, including ‘Lybrate Consult,’ allowing users to consult preferred doctors for a fee. ‘Lybrate Lab+’ and ‘Lybrate Cube’ contribute significantly to the company’s revenue by facilitating lab tests and providing tools for doctors to enhance their online presence.

As the health tech industry witnesses an influx of competitors, Lybrate’s early entry into the fray positions it as a frontrunner. However, challenges persist, and success in this dynamic landscape hinges on delivering a substantial value proposition for both patients and doctors. The journey of Rahul Narang and Saurabh Arora with Lybrate symbolizes a commitment to quality and innovation, marking the advent of a new era in online healthcare solutions.

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