Choose right investment location to reap the best returns for your money

Remember the good old fable where the grasshopper sang all winter while the ant laboured away. Think of the moral behind that story, albeit you may find it a bit childish. Nonetheless, the lesson holds true for a lot of things in life, especially in reference to investment planning. When planning your investments it is always better to think in fast forward mode.

Assuming you are somewhere in your mid twenties or thirties, you need to assume the time in your life when you’re going to be fifty or sixty. What will your liabilities be then? What responsibilities will you have at that time? What health benefits should you plan for? Recreation and leisure, how much will that cost? Answer these questions and you’ll come to a solid ground on what your financial goal should be and how you need to plan for it.

Why invest in the first place?
The freedom of being financially independent is the one of the strongest reasons for anyone to consider in today’s time and age. If you’re among those who has just started saving money, consider it all the more pertinent to start saving now. The power of compounding is a very important wealth generation tool and it holds in good stead during times of contingencies.

Determine how much and how often you want to save. For some, investing small amounts once in a month can mean a lot and for some a stipulated quarterly or annual saving works best. Do consider the snowball effect- a method of saving in which small amounts gain in size and momentum and ultimately lead to exponential growth.

Let us explore some investment avenues that will throw a light on which investment vehicle to choose.

Stocks and Shares: When you have only a small amount to invest, risky investments can mean the possibility of losing all your money. It is often thought that shares and direct stock market investments are not just risky but also very oscillating by nature.

Mutual funds on the other hand provide a broad spectrum exposure and one can choose to go into high, low or medium risk categories. Track the record of the past few years and compare the gains made. Exercise diligence and discipline and reinvest the dividends and capital gains made and you will be pleasantly surprised by the amount you actually end up with.

ETF- Exchange Traded Funds: An exchange-traded fund is an investment fund that is easily traded on stock exchanges. ETF’s come in different categories and typically hold assets such as gold, stocks, commodities or bonds. This vehicle has become very popular of late because of their low costs, tax efficiency, and stock-like features. The downside of ETF’s is that they are subject to volatility in the stock market. Where a mutual fund is actively managed by a portfolio manager, the ETF’s is pretty much on its own.

Gold: The most popular and all-time favourite investment vehicle of Indians, gold never seems to lose its sheen. However, do remember that gold prices do correct themselves and it is prudent to maintain gold as an investment option for a limited period of time and park your remaining investments in another vehicle altogether.

Real Estate Investments: The good thing about investing in real estate is that the house can be rented or leased out, can be resold or kept as a nest egg for a rainy day. Whichever way you look at it, real estate seems to be the investment king. If you’ve got a house in a great location and fantastic project with good amenities you can be sure that the house will increase in capital value and give you good returns when you sell it.

There are many tax benefits that make real estate investments an attractive option. Especially in the case of working couples, applying for a joint home loan means eligibility for a higher loan amount. The benefits in a joint home loan are many, namely, the division takes place in the same proportion in which the asset is owned by each co-applicant, besides the tax benefits get divided among the co-applicants.

As a wise investor you should gauge the pros and cons and ensure due diligence before taking any financial decision.


Why investors are pumping in funds in real estate properties in Vandalur

Buzzing with action
Long infamous for being home to the Arignar Anna Zoological Park or the Vandalur Zoo, Vandalur had nothing else to its credit. Today, the tables have turned and how. The proposed monorail project has put Vandalur back into action and investors are eyeing this area with a renewed vigour. Moreover, the immediate connectivity to ORR (Outer Ring Road) and GST Road (Grand Southern Trunk Road) have made Vandalur the hottest new realty destination.

What’s more, the Rs. 27-crore Vandalur-Walajabad flyover, spanning a distance of 1.48-kms has gone on to cement Vandalur’s position as a top real estate haven.
Location Benefits
Positioned in the south-western part of Chennai city, Vandalur is easily accessible via the rail or road network. It is a mere 5 kms from Tambaram, Urapakkam, Perungalathur, Mudichur and Padappai. No other suburb in Chennai affords quick accessibility like Vandalur does; in fact it is a very significant station, with the Vandalur railway station connecting to the Chennai Suburban railway line, Egmore and Tambaram (one of the most important railway terminus’ in Chennai)

Frequent direct buses operate to and from Poonamallee, T. Nagar, Tambaram, Broadway, Mandaiveli and take under its ambit the Vandalur bus stop as well. This provides a convenient mode of daily travel for many residents living here.

Furthermore, investors are upbeat about the proposed monorail project that will connect Vandalur to Chennai in a two-pronged approach. The route will connect Poonamallee in the northwest of Chennai and Vandalur in the far south through two corridors that will meet near the Kathipara intersection.
The government is soon expected to announce the alignment for the second corridor between Vandalur and Kathipara, via Perungalathur, Irumbuliyur, Tambaram East, Sembakkam, Medavakkam and Velachery. In effect the first will connect Vandalur to Puzhal and the other will connect Vandalur to Velachery.

Vandalur-Walajabad flyover
The Rs. 27-crore Vandalur-Walajabad flyover, spanning a distance of 1.48-kms was constructed in order to replace the level crossing near the Vandalur railway station. It was an ambitious project that was successfully implemented by the state government. Built at a cost of Rs. 22 crore, the railways jointly allotted Rs. 5 crore towards the construction. The flyover connects the east and west side of the Vandalur railway station.

Arignar Anna Zoological Park
The Arignar Anna Zoological Park or Vandalur zoo is a zoological garden home to over 170 species of mammals, birds and reptiles. It is credited with being the first public zoo in India and even today continues to attract tourists from all over the country.

Appreciating the appreciation
To fully understand the implications of the gargantuan development and its effects on real estate profitability, one must get a feel of the connectivity that defines Vandalur.

The Vandalur-Kelambakkam, 18 km stretch of road starting from the IT corridor in Kelambakkam to the Grand Southern Trunk (GST) road junction connects Vandalur to the GST and Old Mamallapuram road (OMR). This stretch connects it to the various areas inside and outside the city. The Vandalur-Kelambakkam stretch of road is approximately 24 kms away from the airport, 44 kms away from Chennai Egmore station and 46 kms from Chennai Central. The Vandalur LRT station will be 13 kms away from the road.

Further, the ORR connects Vandalur in NH-45 (GST) placed in the South-Western edge and close to the Ennore Port and other industrial developments in the Northern areas. The road will run via Nazarathpet on NH-4 (Bangalore Highway), Nemellichery on NH-205 (Chennai-Tirupati-Anantpur Highway) and Padayanallur on NH-5 (Chennai-Calcutta). The Vandalur to Nemillichery (on Chennai-Tiruttani highway) stretch comprising of 29.65 km is being implemented as Phase-1 of development. The ORR (Vandalur – Minjur) is an epicentre for all major transportation networks and it is being developed along the border of Chennai Metropolitan Area by the CMDA. There are expectations that a proposed satellite corridor will be developed along the Outer Ring Road (ORR) for commercial development.

The government has also proposed to open a 65-acre terminus between GST road and ORR (Outer Ring Road) in Vandalur. It is estimated to be twice the size of the CMBT (Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus). It aims to reduce traffic congestion in the Koyambedu facility and effectively manage the south bound long distance buses.

This rapid road progress will ease travel for the thousands of daily commuters working in the IT/ manufacturing industries in and around OMR, Oragadam, Perungalathur, Guduvancherry and Tambaram and who pass through the IT corridor everyday.

The proposed overhaul of infrastructure and transportation may seem like it is a work in progress and that there are no immediate gains to be made. Market pundits believe that per sq. ft. rates here are very reasonably priced and one can get a 2 BHK flat of size 900 – 1100 sq. ft. within a typical price range of Rs.3, 500/- to Rs. 7,000/- per sq.ft. Reasonable, isn’t it? Besides, it is usually seen that the price trend tends to appreciate steadily in this suburb, rather than experiencing heavy fluctuations like other areas.

With all this heavy duty development in process, the future for Vandalur real estate definitely looks bright and lucrative.


Gold v/s Real-Estate – A difficult investment decision for the Indian retail investor

The traditional Indian’s investment routes are characteristically bi-directional, with preferences swaying towards either gold or real estate. The very mention of stocks brings up a feeling of hostility and mistrust, unarguably; because of the various stock market fluctuations and unit-linked investment scams. Usually thought of as risky and perhaps a tad inconsistent, this topic is best left for another time, another day.

Let us delve into the investment avenues of Gold and Real Estate, generally considered as safe and reliable options with a fair debate on the pros and cons of both.

To get an insight as to how much gold has influenced purchasing behavior among Indians let us take a sneak peek at the figures mentioned herein. The total value of gold in the Indian market is estimated to be roughly more than 30 lakh crores; an amount close to twice the foreign exchange held by the RBI.

Gold is purchased in various forms with the most common one being jewelry. Some investors also prefer to own this precious commodity in the form of gold coins. The rest of the camp prefer to hold an investment in ‘non-physical’ form such as Gold Exchange Traded Funds (these are units like a mutual fund which represent physical gold in paper or dematerialized form and are traded on the exchange like a single stock of a company).

Investors have options of investing in Land, Apartments or Commercial premises such as offices, ware-houses etc. Land is a strategic portfolio and usually involves various legal and tax implications. The most common preference has been an apartment for personal consumption or as an additional home. The key decisions that need to be made are knowing to buy a house / land at the right time and the right price.

Having understood on how to go about making these investments, we shall now explore the market and risk factors on each of them to help make the right decision.

Income Generation
Property has the potential to generate income by renting and leasing it out to prospective buyers. This can be accounted as a monthly cash-flow on a year-to-year basis (the minimum lease period in India is close to 13 months) which could prove as a valuable hedge against property borrowings or any personal hedging needs of the investor. Gold ETF investors, on the other hand, stand to benefit marginally in terms of dividends announced on the ETF’s. Other forms of gold investment generate no income when retained.

Gold can be bought in quantities as per the investor’s budget with ease and can also be liquefied quickly, as per investors day, time and situational convenience. On the other hand, a ‘real-estate’ investment is often required (and advised) to be held for a minimum ‘gestation’ period to enable them to appreciate favorably. Liquidity options are tedious to exercise in this case. Thus, Gold wins over in terms of liquidity which is a key factor for investors who are looking to exercise this option over a short period of time.

Real-estate being a ‘fixed’ sort of investment is usually considered highly ’un-portable’ compared to gold, which can be easily traded in local or other regional markets within India.

Collateral Benefits
Real estate scored higher in this area offering investor benefits in the form of mortgages and leases. Having said this, retail investors could elect to opt out of this as they may not want to risk their property taken up by the bank if they are unable to pay their dues. Gold investors can also obtain gold loans from the banks (and even their neighborhood pawn shops) for roughly around 50-70% of the value pledged.

Time Benefits
Gold is considered as an excellent short-term gainer. Historically, gold has appreciated the most between 1999 and 2011 which led the common investor to believe there will be even more appreciation yoy (year on year). However, as witnessed in the past few years, gold prices do correct themselves once in a while. The golden truth, hence, is to maintain gold as an investment option for a limited period of time and retain a real-estate investment of periods exceeding (at-least) 3 years.

Tax benefits
A sizable amount of tax can be saved annually on different types of real-estates owned. For e.g. for a self-occupied property, the investor can claim the interest paid on the borrowed capital under section 24, subject to some conditions. Gold provides very little tax benefit or no benefit at all.

Nonetheless, Gold has proved itself to be the perfect hedge for inflation over a short-term. But to look at it as a hedge avenue, Indians are yet to consider this market actively as the purchases continue to be dominated by jeweler. Gold only beats inflation. It fares poorly when compared to real estate when compared on the basis of real inflation adjusted returns. Investing in gold over a longer period of time would mean a loss on the opportunity cost. Thus, any serious investor is advised to have a certain percentage of investments in gold to hedge inflation and allot a larger percent to real estate or property on account of durability and value-for-money.


Vicinity to IT hubs drives huge demands in Selaiyur real estate

The reason Selaiyur outscores every other place in Chennai

Selaiyur is a suburb located in close proximity to Tambaram, a booming in Chennai. Positioned on the Tambaram – Velachery Road, Selaiyur has developed mainly because of its closeness to Tambaram. However, long before this place was known for its IT industries or its popular mix of cosmopolitan residents, Selaiyur had found its mention in history. In fact, today there still stands a testimony to its historical roots- The Selaiyur Temple Tank.

As per records, the tank belonged to the nearby Perumal temple and was constructed some 400 years ago by Chola king Thribhuvana Chakravarthy Vijaykanda Gopalan. Today, this tank is appreciated for its heritage and is a popular spot frequented by families and historians alike.

A fertile land that is reaping profits

Positioned at the South West of Chennai, Selaiyur is in close proximity to the IT corridors in the OMR, where many large MNC offices are located. The Tambaram / Camp Road as well as the other neighbouring towns such as Madambakkam, Rajakilpakkam, Sembakkam, Chitlapakkam and Medavakkam are nearby. The chief leverage of this locality is that any which way you travel, you are not too far from significant locations. Nonetheless, the growth and development of Selaiyur can be credited solely to the massive expansion of Tambaram. One can find that the success of real estate in Tambaram has created a favourable demand for residential apartments in Selaiyur too.

Today, Selaiyur is up-and-coming and one can find the area dotted with an estimated 40 new under-construction projects and ready possession residential apartments that serve every budget. There has been a healthy absorption of the apartments as builders have kept the prices reasonable and within the reach of all. The aim is to fulfil the requirement for inexpensive housing by targeting migrants belonging to the IT and manufacturing industry.

Reports suggest that Selaiyur property has seen a capital appreciation ofnearly 10% in the last one year alone. Rental values recorded a staggering 23% increment quarter on quarter. As of now, the property rates range from Rs. 4, 200 – 4, 400/- per sq ft and a 2BHK, 800 sq. ft. flat would cost an average of 32.31 lacs. The rental and price appreciation has been especially lucrative in the last year and has attracted many investments in real estate in Selaiyur.

Superb Connectivity and Social infrastructure

Selaiyur has a lush, green environment untouched by rampant urbanisation, besides a well-organised infrastructure set-up. All important banks such as SBI, HDFC and AXIS are located at Camp Road- an important junction here. There is an air force station in the vicinity and the neighbourhood is peaceful and comprises of a healthy mix of people hailing from the northern, western and southern states of India. This is perhaps the reason many retired air force families have chosen to make Selaiyur their home.

The area is well connected via the MTC, besides the Tambaram railway station and bus terminus are merely 5 kms away, the Chennai International Airport at Meenambakkam is roughly about 3 kms from Selaiyur. However, the popular transportation mediums are the frequent buses and share-autos. One can travel easily to central landmarks such as GST Road, OMR road, Koyambedu, Anna Nagar and Ambattur.

There are many temples such as Abhirami udanurai Amirthakadeswarar temple, Arulmigu Adhi Kesava Perumal temple and the Om Sri Skandasramam temple. A host of renowned educational institutions such as Bharath University, Corley Higher Secondary School, Christ King Girls Higher Secondary School, Alwin Memorial Public School, Sri Sankara Vidyalaya Matriculation Higher Secondary School and Zion Matriculation School are close by.

As per reports, there is rising FDI in the MNC industries along this stretch of the road. The real estate sector will see many NRI collaborations and the emergence of state-of-the-art, luxurious residential projects in Selaiyur. Besides, the prospective development plan for this locality predicts that Selaiyur will soon be within proposed Corporation of Tambaram, with proposed Palar water supply and drainage connection by Tambaram Municipality. The plans for a proposed new bus terminus at Tambaram and the upcoming 150 ft. perungalathur bypass road can only be termed as icings on the cake.



Home security systems: Technology that keeps your family safe

Home security systems To Keep Your family Safe

Paranoid or not, your home and family are among the first things you should secure against a host of adversaries. Today, it is not new to hear of thefts that have taken place using cutting edge technology and modern gadgets. In fact, there are examples of thieves using computers to hack into the mainframes of digitally enabled homes. In this kind of a scenario it is best to stay two steps ahead in ensuring absolute safety of your kith and kin.

You don’t need to be a tech-savvy person to understand the know-how’s of home surveillance and there are some things that you can try out for yourself. However, do engage the services of a professional security expert if you fall under the bracket of VVIP.

Chalk out what you need first

Before you begin purchasing expensive gadgetry or the famously hi-tech night vision cameras, you should begin to understand the level of security that you actually need. If you require a bare minimum of defence, the good old bare-fanged dog will do, however, if there are more family members or a tendency to store valuables in the house, it is advisable to add a few more layers of security.

A state-of-the-art home alarm system usually comprises of strategically installed window transmitters, CCTV cameras and motion sensors. Do remember that relying only on motion sensors will not be effective as the alarm will sound off after intruders have entered the premises. In many cases, there have been false alarms caused by motion sensors as the alarm sounds off each time a small animal passes by.

Do consider door and window transmitters that immediately sound off an alarm siren in case of a break-in. Webcams that have been installed near the entry-exit points of the house are also good locations for surveillance. However, the drawback with a plain-vanilla CCTV webcam system is that you may not be able to secure the house in case you’re away or if you spot a burglar in action. In this case, it is better to upgrade to a cell phone activated camera system. So, even if you’re thousands of miles away from home, the cellular-based alarm systems will signal for help over a secure cellular network. Additionally, it is also recommended to check out the latest doorbells that come equipped with a hidden camera.

Reports suggest that intruders rarely break in through the front door or windows at the front of a house, more so they will never leave through the same window or door again, so it makes sense to install cameras and sensors in the rear side rooms of the house as well. Do bear in mind that they are more likely to rummage through every room of the house, more so the master bedroom, so it is only logical to consider security measures comprehensively.

Nowadays, security systems come with an additional benefit of wireless smoke detectors. These can be considered if you reside in a house with multiple floor levels, considering that you may minimally need at least one smoke detector on each floor. Additionally, you may need to install one detector in each bedroom and each corridor area. The automatic alarm systems usually come equipped with a siren that sounds off in case of a fire and a pre-programmed system that notifies the fire department in case of an emergency.

To wire or not to wire

If you belong to the old school of thought that considered a concealed, solid wiring system as foolproof, here are a few reasons that may force you to rethink this adage. In the United States, roughly about 25 percent of burglars reported cutting telephone or alarm wires before they broke into a home. About 30 percent of all burglaries were committed through an open/ unlocked window or door and nearly 66 percent of all burglaries were residential (home) break-ins. What’s even scarier is that home intrusions are committed every 13 seconds.

Considering these factors, it is better to install a wireless system that does not require any wiring and complicated set-ups. An easier alternative is to set up a wireless security system that won’t be snapped off and won’t require you to drill holes in the walls. Besides, they come with easy manuals and videos that assist in setting up the system. You may not even require spending heavy installation fees or complicated programming set-ups.