Intro - Short but Sweet

My photo
Los Angeles, California, United States
So many interesting things happen around us, Why not write about few of them?

Monday, August 7, 2017

House Purchase & Home Loans 101

This article is for anyone who has
- Just started and Thinking to purchase a home (via taking a loan)
- Already in process in purchasing a home and have few questions on the way.
- Or just in general, Trying to understand the house buying process in real simple words?

Let's see what a most simplified house buying process looks like -

Pre-requisite: Make sure you have a budget, area, configuration in mind.

Step 1: Pre-approval (only if you are taking a loan) -
Pre approval is a process where you approach a bank and let them know that you are interested in buying a house and expecting them to help you with finances.
The bank gets your details, verifies it and provides you with a document which contains -
a. If you are approved or not.
b. If so, Rate of Interest for you.
c. Validity of the approval (usually 60 days)
This document is helpful as it tells the seller that you are a serious buyer and if you like the house, you are in a position to purchase it.

Step 2: House hunting -
Looking for houses can be a tedious task in itself (or fun, if you like it).

Step 3: Putting an Offer -
You (finally) liked a house. yay! Time to put an offer. Its basically as simple as sending an email to the seller or the agent to let them know that you want to purchase the house for X amount.
There can be a lot of to-and-fro for the amount before both parties reach to a common ground.

Step 4: Inspections and Attorney Review -
A Home Inspection is a very important step where a home inspector personally visits the house and inspects it for good 2-3 hours. He looks for things ranging from structural deformities to water leakages. Its always advisable to be personally present during the home inspection. A radon test is also done and is highly recommended.

Attorney Review, on the other hand, is some thing that is independent of purchaser. The attorney makes sure the paperwork for the house in consideration is all legally fine.

The purchaser usually pays for both the steps, but a good negotiator can ask seller to pay for these as well. Also, outcome of this step may result in renegotiation in price or requesting to fix few things before making the purchase.

Step 5: Home Appraisal (again, only if bank is involved)- 
A major step, where the bank steps in and performs an independent appraisal of the house. It actually makes a survey of neighboring houses and tries to figure out if the price thats accepted by both parties can be approved as a loan.
Many a times what happens is the house is over renovated or had very fancy appliances along with it, all these things, although adds value for the buyer, the bank remains unaffected in its appraisal. So there is a possibility that a loan of lower amount might get sanctioned. The purchaser is responsible to pay the difference.
for eg. You like a house which comes with a golden throne (nothing wrong to imagine that)
Now the house costs $300,000 and the throne costs $10,000. You apply for a loan for $300,000 - but the bank says, hey we (obviously) don't consider the throne adds any value to the property, so we approve a loan of $290,000.
Now you end up paying those 10k from your pocket (sad).
Tip: Be aware to catch these golden throne early and negotiate them in advance. 

STEP 6: Loan Approval -
An addendum is signed for the final price and loan approval process starts.
Expect the bank to demand all sort of documents  ranging from - where did you get those 5k in your account 3 months back?, or where did you spend those $1500 last week? or Master Insurance for the house? 
Finally you get a closing document! Thats required at the time of closing the deal.
Once everyone signs it off, the deal is done and Closing is scheduled.

STEP 7: Closing - 
This is where all the involved parties sit together one last time, attorneys, agents, purchaser, seller (and a box of donuts, hopefully brought by one of the agents)
You sign the closing documents, bring in your down payment in the form of cashiers check, sign a bunch of papers and get keys n eat donuts.
Tip: A walk thorough of the property a day or two before moving is always recommended to avoid any unwanted surprises.  


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Is it a good time to talk about brain-drain?

Been a long time I posted anything, guess I was waiting for something big to happen. 

Following news about the software industry in the US from past couple of years and it is interesting. 

Two software giants, Microsoft and Google have one thing in common now, both have an Indian guy as there CEO. 

Its a great news! Very proud to be an Indian and proud of these folks who are doing great stuff. These people are unknowingly representing India and making us all feel great. They deserve a big big congratulations! 
I think being a guy from another country, it must be really hard to travel across the world, be in a strange new place, with new people, culture, food and then through ur sheer knowledge and will to do something good, be part of the best firms and climb the ladder to take the top spot! Thinking like that makes me believe that this must be way harder than actually starting a company, isn’t it? Bottomline is, people like Satya Nadella, Sundar Pichai deserve more than just congratulation, they are real stars and role models for not just indian kids but every talented kid across the globe!

Well said that, On one side when I am all happy, proud and filled with love for India, on the other side I feel sad to see that India has lost such a good cream of talent! 

What would have India achieved if they could’ve used these people in India? This wud’ve-cud’ve might be a very cliched topic and people might have already talked on it, wrote books on it but my whole point is - When will the Indian government realize this fact, that we are producing some really good, talented people and they are leaving India for all good reasons!

Is it a right time to start talking about ‘Brain-drain’?

Monday, December 2, 2013

How good are these doorbusters anyway?! How should a person shop in holiday season?

Origin - 
Thanksgiving, is known for a day when everyone give thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. It is also popular for one more thing, Shopping! Wondered why? It has an interesting fact associated with it. People say it started in late 1860s after the financial crisis of 1869 when the government encouraged people to shop "after" the day of thanksgiving. This was the start of the shopping season which would last till the year end.

In short this was an activity the government put forward to allow people to spend some of their money and effectively get more taxes. A very productive and smart strategy considering the backdrop of the financial situation in the 18th century. Since then, this shopping spree is not just continued but grown, expanded and somewhat exploded! I believe it is not the first tradition that has started as a productive step and tested with time turned into a chaotic and somewhat nonsense activity.

What really has changed? What is the issue? 
The concept of Shopping should be - When you are Happy, you Shop! And now-a-days it is changing to - You shop and (only) then you are Happy!
Talking about statistics, The retail companies, for eg. Walmarts and KMarts, have to register a profit in a fiscal year. Thanksgiving is the week when they make the most of their sales. It is said that out of the total yearly sale, 25% of the sales is done in the week of thanksgiving. No wonder they want to focus all their efforts (to invite more and more customers) in the holiday week.

Every store wants maximum number of buyers to hit their doors. And hence the concept of Doorbusters!
Brushing aside the actual policy of encouraging people to shop "after" the day of thanksgiving, to get more customers, stores started to open early. People started to hoard outside the stores. And now the practice is, people are ready to stay outside the shops for 3-4 days, just to get a discount!
The problem doesnt end just here, At the time of store opening, no matter what time it is, most of the time the situation becomes chaotic and oftenly results in voilence, accidents and complete ruining of holiday mood.
These images are just few of action packed moments -

The questions are -
Is it really worth to stand in a queue for days just to get a discount on a particular item?
Is it really worth to meet an accident, be part of the frustration and chaos in the festive season?

There are so many incidences of shoplifting, accidents in parking, brawls for not getting parking, disputes for line breaking, fighting for getting a discount.

And the answer is, It is totally insane to be a part of it!

And how much discount you get anyways? 
For curiosity, I tried to track prices of few items this year.
To my surprise, All the products which were either new, branded or a successful product did not have any kind of discount. And for the record, the products which were successful and had a discount were just limited quantities. No prize in guessing just to mention it on the website or pamphlet to draw more people only to find "till stock lasts" sign!
The products which were unable to sell, the products which were on shelf for a long time, or few products which needed some advertising boosts were the things having discount.

Said that, Given a choice of online shopping, It is a big question if the doorbusters and deals in store which causes huge lines out side store, making people to wait outside the store for days, giving reason to dispute, really need to exist in the first place.
Is this step to be taken by the government? or Is it the people who need to understand and change accordingly?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Finally a new logo for Apple Maps.

Well, It now feels good to at least see an update on the apple maps logo.

As we all remember, the unfortunate debut of apple maps with 2012. It was introduced with a bang and failed horribly.

The failure was just not limited to the software! It was just not constrained to the agony the users faced when they landed in the middle on a freeway only to hear, "You have reached your destination!". It was extended till the front end and to be precise the logo of the app itself!

It was matter of discussion on many blogs, websites, and forums. How can such a blunder be passed with a company of this magnitude! 

But It is good to see, the software evolving, a stable release is now out. And more importantly, the logo which was unchanged so far is also (finally) updated! 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hack for Draw Something (Infinite bombs in Draw Something)

Well, It has been lot of time i haven't been here. Today i got smthing interesting and thought of sharing. Theres a new app named Draw Something. It has done wonders winning awards all over the place and I love the app too!

But this is what happen when you are involve in anything so much. You tend to know it very well and I just found a small hack which eliminates the use of "bombs" from this app.

Q. What is a bomb in Draw Something?
A. Each player is given a number of "bombs." As a guesser, the bomb eliminates letters not part of the answer; as a drawer, the bomb gives them a new set of guess words to choose from.

How to eliminate the need of a bomb?

Step 1: Consider you have to guess something like this -

Note that you have the following alphabets -

Step 2: Close the app and Open it again.

Note the list of alphabets again -

Step 3: Compare and Eliminate non repeating words.

You can keep the same ones while eliminate the non repeated ones.

Now you are left with the exact jumbled alphabets to make the exact word!

Consider the non-eliminated words and try to form a word from it.



Thursday, May 26, 2011

Domestic Airlines! you kidding me?

When i was a child, I was so excited to see planes flying in sky. It was my dream to sit in one of them. I still remember my first flying experience! But the last journey i had would be one of my most memorable incidents.

It was an United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to San francisco. 10:30 am. I was still having jet-lag from my recent travel back from India. Since I was actually shifting completely, so even though the journey was of only couple of hours still I had like 100lbs of luggage!
Everything was going smooth. I checked in my BIG bags. Took a boarding pass. Went through Security check. Only thing which was left was to board a flight.

As soon as the gates were open, I saw there was more rush today. It took me no time to realize that there were more number of people than the capacity! And people were still pouring in! It was surprising to me and I thought - Are they going to make them sit on the roof today? and I laughed at myself. I never knew i was going to be a part of the joke. As i reached to board the plane.. I was informed that my seat has already been occupied. What? They asked to get a new seat number by joining a new line which i think was longer than infinity. Awed and Shocked, I had no choice but to be a part of the new queue. After one hour, thats 30 mins after the expected departure of the flight, they told me that I wont be able to board in this flight!
Even though i had a paid ticket, a boarding pass, a confirmed seat, I was not going to make it!

I furiously rushed to their customer center. I realized that its just not me who is facing this, but a bunch of people who were following me and heading towards customer care more furiously! It was a nightmare for the staff. They were making adjustments, fixing things, allowing people to board other alternate flights. A rarely seen chaos.

People were shouting, fighting with the staff and they were doing their best to sooth all of them. All this ended up with a negotiation. They gave all the people $400 coupons and apologized! Now it was my turn on the counter. I had nothing to lose. So i just tried, I said, I wanted to go in that flight! My sound was pissed and irritated. Already builded tension helped me and they gave me an extra ticket along with the coupons! You Kidding me? - I laughed.

I came back home. Took rest. Came back in the evening for traveling with the free ticket. It was one of its kind experience.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

India-Pakistan, Face-off!

I know the internet is flooded with emails, pictures, blogs, website notes, rss feeds about the next ICC Cricket World Cup Semi-Final, India v/s Pakistan. But, it is impossible to explain the importance of this match. This is not a semi-final.. this is a MEGA-final!

It is not the first time when India and Pakistan is facing each other in a world cup match. Even though the overall result of the clash has been dominated by Pakistan (69 wins over 46 defeats in 119 encounters) but in World Cup, Men in Blues has given a clean sweep to Pakis (4 wins by India and NO defeat)!

World Cup 2011 is about to face the heat again. But this time, the color green is in tremendous form. Pakistan team has been through a rough time and has survived out of the most ridiculous phase. Even though the world cup is hosted in South Asia, not a single match is played in Pakistan. "World Cup Pakistan me nahi ho sakta, par World Cup Pakistan me aa sakta hai". Thats what the Pakistan team believe and trust me they have nothing to lose.

Indian team, on the other end, is struggling with their bowlers. Inspite of good batting, the bowling has let India down at crucial stages in the initial matches. But not to forget, India is considered to be the team with a box of surprise. And thats what makes this game more interesting, isn't it?

I am all set for the Big Game.

Hoping to see a good game of cricket!

All the best! This time, Bleed Blue!