HARSH ROONGTA | Tue, 29 Mar 2016-09:22am | dna
Shrinking interest rate margins have made several lenders to insert hidden charges to increase their margins by stealth.
The home loan industry has come a long way from the time when the only charges that you had to watch out for were the processing charges taken under various heads and pre-payment charges. Regulation has ensured that there are no pre-payment charges and competition has ensured that there is a greater degree of transparency around the processing fee, legal fee, valuation fee or technical charges. Competition has also ensured that there is hardly any difference in the interest rates charged by various home loan lenders. Unfortunately, the shrinking interest rate margins have made several lenders to insert hidden charges to increase this margin by stealth.
Here is a list of these charges:
Charge interest on the loan which is disbursed late – This is a common practice. The lender prepares a cheque, but it is not to be handed over till certain documents are received from the borrower and/or the seller. These documents normally may take a few days to a few weeks, and meanwhile, the interest meter is ticking for the borrower. This is not as small as it looks. On a loan of Rs 1 crore, the interest @9.50% works out to Rs 2,600 daily.
The cost of a 10-day delay in handing over the cheque (which is pretty common) means an additional cost of Rs 26,000 or 0.26% of the loan amount. You should negotiate with the lender that you will only pay interest from the day the cheque is actually handed over to the seller and not from the date mentioned on the cheque.
Advancing the EMI payment date – The EMI amount is calculated assuming that the payment will be made at the end of 30 days from the date of disbursement. If this EMI is paid earlier than 30 days, the cost becomes much higher than the stated cost. An example will illustrate this. If the disbursement is made on February 15, 2016, and the EMI is payable on the first of every month then typically you should pay interest equivalent to 15 days’ interest (from February 15, 2016, to March 1, 2016) and the EMI should start from April 1, 2016, only. However, most lenders will start off the EMI from March 1, 201, and still charge you for a full month’s interest. Again, the difference is not as small as it sounds. 15 days’ extra interest for a Rs 1 crore loan @9.50% works out to Rs 39,000 or 0.39% of the loan amount. Again, you can negotiate with the lender to make sure that this additional hidden interest is not charged to you. Unlike the first point which is easily understood, this point is technical and the lender can run loops through the borrower while explaining how the EMI is calculated.
Forcing borrowers to buy expensive insurance products – Lenders have tied up with life and general insurance companies to provide life, disability and property insurance to borrowers and they force you to take these policies. The lenders earn fat commissions on the sale of these insurance policies and even though officially not permitted, they force the borrowers to sign up for these policies. It is a good practise to have such type of insurance policies when you take a loan, but the problem is that the policies being hawked by the lenders are hugely overpriced, reflecting the captive base of borrowers and the fat commissions for the lender inbuilt in such policies. To avoid having to pay for these overpriced policies, you can negotiate with the lender that you will buy these policies on your own. In all probability, you will get the exact same policy from the same insurance provider as what the lender is pushing at a fraction of the cost that the lender will charge.
Forcing borrowers to take a credit card or some other add-on products – In most cases this is offered for free while not stating that it is free only for the first year and would have an annual fee every year after that. You can easily negotiate your way out of this one.
Whilst these are the “extra” charges that lenders take from borrowers, there is a charge that they are unfairly accused of taking. For example, in Maharashtra, you have to pay a stamp duty of 0.20% of the loan amount on the document creating the security in favour of the lender. It is obvious that this charge will be recovered from the borrower (it is also mentioned in the loan agreement as recoverable from the borrower), but I have heard many borrowers complain that this is a hidden charge sprung upon them. This document is in favour of the borrower as it is conclusive proof that documents have been handed over to the lender. This is extremely useful when the loan period ends because there have been increasing the number of cases where the lenders have misplaced the title deeds and claim that these were never deposited with them in the first place. A stamped and registered document will prevent the lender from making any such claims.
In this new age, the lenders depend on the borrowers lack of attention to slip in the extra charges. It makes eminent sense for the borrowers to take the help of professionals to help them navigate through this process. The fee payable to such professionals will be more than made up by the savings in these “extra” charges.
Source : http://goo.gl/ImwYEb