Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pondering Over the Best Books of all Time

Writing about the best books of all time, I want to mention something first here. Just recently dropped in at Crossword Book Store in Pune and was astounded and happy to find a whole range of new authors which included Indian ones too in a fair number.  I refrain myself a lot of times from stepping into a bookshop as I have this overpowering urge of buying the whole bookshop! All the same just going through these books I came across ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ (which I grabbed pronto!), which is considered to be a classic and one of the all time popular books. Unfortunately, there are so many books which are worth a read, it is intimidating! I mean every time someone asks have you read this book? It is a classic! And there I go. Another dent to my reading career! But here with this blog atleast I now know what am I missing out on, to some extent! Here is the list!

  • ·         To Kill a Mocking Bird – Harper Lee
  • ·         Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky. 
  • ·         War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
  • ·         Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
  • ·         Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  • ·         Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
  • ·         Madame Bovary  - Gustave Flaubert
  • ·         The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • ·         Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
  • ·         The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
  • ·         Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  • ·         Ramayana - Valmiki
  • ·         Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
  • ·         Ulysses – James Joyce
  • ·         Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
  • ·         Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
  • ·         One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • ·         The Sound and the Fury - William Faulkner

All these are some of the greatest books of all times and you are neither ahead of your time nor behind for reading these books! I have had the good fortune to have been able to get my hands on a few amongst these. I read some when I was an awkward teenager, while others after I became an adult. There were a couple of them I read again after a few years. That time there was a whole new perspective! It is amazing how we interpret and perceive the same book or a film after a gap of a few years! It is like you are almost watching a new film or reading a new book! This said, I think I have loads of work to do, finishing reading as much as possible of this list! So I will get going while all you bookworms can also tally what all you might have missed reading! Ciao! Hope you liked these best books of all time, fiction and non-fiction and others!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Things to Check Before Buying a House

Was just wondering how it would be if I want to buy a house in India. I have no clue what goes into the whole process of signing a house agreement. So I thought I would dig some info.
Buying a house is definitely not a cake walk. What with a zillion documents to sign (and an equal number required for the purchase), formalities to be done and basically running from pillar to post, any home buyer would tell you that it surely gets to your nerves. But hey, where is there ever any gain without pain? So for those looking for their heavenly abode, going through these scary motions of getting affidavits, loan approvals, registration etc is inevitable. The only good news is that if you know what all to take care of before signing house contract, then the whole process will be a tad easier. So what all should a first time home buyer be looking at prior to signing on the dotted line? Here are a few basics.

The Good ‘Deed’
Checking the title deed of the property is of utmost importance, to begin with. Title deed refers to a legal document proving the ownership of property.  Here, from the point of view of buyers, we have to ensure that we get an original document, which is in the name of only the seller and no one else. This will mean that the person selling the property has the sole right to sell it. It is also a good idea to get the deed reviewed by a lawyer.

Buddy Budget
Fixing on the budget is of utmost significance. To avoid any financial issues in the future and to make sure you have some money left in the kitty, chalk out a budget and stick to it. Home buying is a huge investment, so act and think smart. Likewise when you have to go for a loan, make sure you have all the umpteen documents you might require.  Once that is done, it is essential to secure a loan approval before taking the final plunge.  First, it makes the entire process a lot less complicated before and after signing house contract. Secondly, it also gives you a clear picture about your investment.

Small can be Ugly
When you want to buy a house, the major things like registration, ensuring that all the papers are in order, etc notwithstanding, minor things are important too. Drainage, plumbing, ventilation, flooring and other seemingly minor aspects also have to be checked, incase they need to be fixed. In the excitement and humdrum of living in a bigger home and in a better locality, these things could be sidelined and then fixing them can make a darned big hole in your pocket.

Stamp Stomp
Stamp Duty and registration are very tricky issues and we need to be very careful about these buggers! Getting yourself updated about the rate and charges in your locality will be a plus. To know the market value of the property you are buying and the stamp duty on it, you would most probably need to contact the Ready Reckoner to understand your valuation zone and sub zone.  Then there are umpteen additional costs, for instance, real estate agents, Lenders or mortgage broker, home inspector, lawyer or notary etc, which will completely throw you off track. But keep a watch on them and hang in there. Then there are features, like parking. Is car park provided and do you have to pay extra for the same? In cases of lifestyle amenities these days, enquire beforehand how much are you are going to be charged for that.

Insurance, the Best Medicine
Insuring the property soon after signing house contract is a point to ponder. The property insurance will aid in protecting your financial feature, in case of an occurrence of damage to the property. The good thing about this is that it is relatively inexpensive and ensures coverage in case of problems with the property title, any damages or any legal issue. Getting an insurance expert’s help on this will make it easy to choose the most appropriate policy from the various types of property insurances available.

A Few Good Things
Checking if your property will get a good resale value, making sure that neighbourhood is decent and safe enough and to ensure that the deed or sale agreement is in place are a few other things to be looked into on your checklist prior to signing the house contract.  Measuring the area and getting a heads up on the detailed plan of the property before signing the property agreement is another thing to be considered.

Well, these are the basic things. Eventually, all I can say is that there are a zillion things which need to be looked into when you are buying a house. It is always a great idea to have a legal expert be in touch with you to guide you through this rough way ahead, before you sign house contract! Most importantly, chill, and don’t let the hassles get better of you! All the best!