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Tag: Flat

A tale of two houses

For many years now, it has been my dream to buy a bigger, better place to live in. Most of it stemmed from the fact that there were a lot of restrictions for me when I bought my first flat and I was neck deep in many other things to do it properly. Not to mention the fact that I was just starting out and lacked experience in building a dream home. A few years and a kid down the lane, I decided that as much as our flat was a great first home, it was not going to be my last.

So when the timing was right, we started house hunting. We just started looking casually and decided to get serious when we had options worth considering. I am unsure whether to call it luck, but soon enough, we stumbled upon some good candidates for our dream home. This post is about two of those which made the cut but were so starkly different that we could not make up our mind for a long time. One was a 3 BHK flat that, was in an apartment society, would let us be first owners, involved relocation, was very far from work. The other was a 3 BHK duplex villa that, was in a gated community, would let us be second owners, was just a stone’s throw from our current place and hence would be near to work.

To make things interesting, I had a history with the 3 BHK flat. Many years back, I had attended the house warming ceremony of a relative and had fallen in love with the flat. I loved that it was spacious, a layout that allowed me to imagine my dream home. You could call it love at first sight and I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that my dream to a better home was conceived there. When I started dreaming about a bigger and better place more often, the image of a dream home was one similar to that flat.

Years had passed and I didn’t think any new flat would be available for sale in that society but I still checked with our relatives about it when we started our house hunting. Much to our surprise, one last flat was available and it met all our requirements. The problem was that I hadn’t seriously considered about the distance from work, the connectivity to various parts of the city and the relocation involved. Like I said, it was love at first sight. Not much thinking was involved :). We tried searching for a similar flat in our preferred locality but in vain. Either we didn’t like the flat or the price was too high for its worth. So we started mentally preparing ourselves to deal with the distance from work and relocation logistics to take the deal forward with this flat.

But we were dealt a different set of cards. Every attempt we made to purchase that flat was thwarted by destiny. Either the seller was going after another purchaser or he changed his mind about the price or he wad not responsive to our interest in the house. Adit was able to accept that maybe it was not meant to be but I couldn’t let it go. I felt like I had not given my best effort as we were yet to receive a straight and strong NO. It felt like it was doable but slightly out of reach. I felt that I am yet to give my best shot before ceding.

While we were making these attempts, the lead for the villa opened up. I will be honest – I had difficulty falling in love with the villa like I did with the flat. Of course, the flat had a couple years to its credit as I had spent some time dreaming about it. My usual pros and cons list didn’t aid me much because the two options were in very different leagues. The price, the scope of renovation, the independence, the design of the house, the locality – everything was so starkly different that we couldn’t draw up a fair comparison between the two to choose one over the other. So we let the threads run in parallel hoping that when it comes to the wire, we would be able to choose.

Maybe our dilemma was too much for the universe that it intervened. Every time we would make a move forward with the flat, something happened to make us consider the villa. Every time we hit a hurdle with the villa deal, I used to pursue the flat because that’s where my heart still was. Adit warned me to take it slow and not to get caught up in it but I couldn’t help myself. However, every move of mine towards the flat triggered something and the universe pulled me back to the villa by offering an advantage that was not there before. It happened so many times that it would have been hilarious if I were not so close to the problem. And then finally, both were available to us if we wanted it and we had to decide. Adit was confused as well but he was able to look at it objectively. I had trouble doing the same. Even if one of us decided one way, we gave enough weightage to the other’s vote that the original decision was scraped. Eventually we chose to be practical and decided on the villa together. Traveling long distances to work is not something Bangalore dwellers can take lightly.

I believe in karma and destiny to some extent – more in the former than in the latter. This entire experience was about the pull of destiny for me. I had sleepless nights, shed many tears out of frustration, and cursed myself for nurturing such a dream that took every bit of mental and physical strength that I had. However, I understand that when I do build that dream home of mine and move into it, I know it will all feel worth the hassle. I am definitely grateful for the experience. There is a mound of work in the form of renovation, fixes waiting for me and there is a race track full of hurdles for me to reach that sweet spot of living comfortably in my dream home, but I am grateful that I have learnt a lot and that I was resilient in pursuing this dream. Also, I am incredibly grateful for the privilege to be able to consider building a dream home, a second time.

On a side note, at some point when it felt like we were going ahead with the flat, we stumbled upon a website that lets you build a 3D model of your house based on the floor plan. I didn’t think I had it in me to do it but I built the flat in 3D using it and learned a lot in the process. Ironically enough, I didn’t do it for the villa even when the deal was done. Maybe I will try it in the process of renovation. Anyway, the 3D modeling of the flat was fun and it warrants a separate post. I will write about it in a sequel of sorts.

Until later 🙂

Buying a flat – Demystifying the experience

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Image Source:indianpropertylawyers.com

Who doesn’t have the desire to own a home? Everyone desires a place that they can call it their own, be it lavish or utilitarian, splashed with aesthetics or a low-key utilitarian. I am no different. I have always wanted a place of my own. I very well knew that I would end up taking a hefty loan and the place wouldn’t really be “mine” till I pay off the loan. But this is an illusional world we live in. We are provided with EMIs which make us indebted on the stake of money which we are yet to earn. Anyway, I digress. I followed the world and clinched my desire by booking a flat. I had very little prior experience with respect to all this real estate, flat construction but there has to be a first time for everything. I started my learning process with this positive thought.

As much as I love our new place, decorating it up, settling in, relishing that I have reached my dream, there are certain ugly truths that I need to face and that’s what nudged me to write this post. In this process of getting it constructed and moving in, we have shed tears, blood, sweat and what not. There are certain dirty clauses that lay hidden in that construction, sale agreements that you sign with nothing more than a skim-read. Behind all those flattering words and smiles, there are certain cunning layers to that marketing guy trying hard to make you book a flat with his firm. There is a certain table left to be turned once you cross that threshold from being a prospective buyer to a trapped customer.

Here are some samples for you to ponder on:

1. Ever wondered how the director of the constructions firm is coming down to meet you just because you wanted to clear some doubts before you hand over that cheque? You might have even wondered whether you commanded that kind of a respect. I request you to stop right there and throw away that narcisstic thought. It is the cheque you might hand over afterwards that commands the respect, not you. Never you. Yes, there’s only a 50% chance that you might book the flat even after you get your discussions done, but that 50% chance is one that’s worth taking for them. If you don’t believe me, wait till you pay up almost 80-90% of the cost as the building progress and see how they behave when you want the interiors finished soon for the rest 10% of the cost. You will see quite a personality change!

2. Possession in xx months – the xx will vary depending on what state of construction the building is in. The maximum quote for a normal apartment at the initial stages of construction would be 14 months + 3 months of grace period. When they say this, stop them right there and read the sale-construction agreement again. There will be a clause that will save their asses from fire when they go beyond the grace period. All possible reasons will be cited such as materials unavailability or labour unavailability. This clause will be used as an excuse again and again till your ears bleed.
If you are smart enough to get a rental penalty clause inserted,(Many builders safely do not insert this clause, assuming we are that dumb. Not to blame them, some of us are.) then miraculously all their labour and material problems will be solved in a minute and your flat will be hurriedly made into a ready condition – one that is just enought to move in, leaving you to wonder about the quality of the work when done in such a hurry. Needless to mention, there will be an aftermath of such hurry where you have to deal with new problem every day. A new day and a new problem, Yay!

3. Quality – Shortly said, when you book the flat, you will promised out of the world quality, but you will get quality which will really make you want to go out of this world. Only way to get this right is to follow up like an obsessed maniac and look at the materials used, read up on internet and so on. You will become a civil engineer short of the educational degree.

4. “We will be completing this task in another ten days” – The most infamous phrase used by the builders. Never trust this excuse. The ten days will span across weeks, months and even over an year. If I had given my rental notice to vacate on the date promised to me, I would have been living on the roads. Do your planning and keep a buffer of minimum 1-2 months.

5. Amenities – This is a huge looting booth for the constructors. The amenities promised and the ones delivered hardly match up. For example, you will be promised a world-class roof-top swimming pool and you will be provided with a bath tub sized one which is too small that it can’t even be called a baby pool. Also,the amenities will not be constructed in the promised time frame but will be in progress even a year after you move in, however, we will expected to cough up the cost of the flat, inclusive of amenities, the moment you move in.

The list goes on…They say that there are good constructors who don’t loot us. I am yet to come across one. I agree that I only talk of the experience of closely witnessing a couple of flats getting constructed in the family and then getting my flat constructed. But believe me when I say, getting one flat constructed will give you enough picture about this. So what should we do about this?

For one, don’t believe a word they tell you when you are a prospective customer. Do your research. In spite of your diligence, there will be mess-ups and that’s life. But the more you do your research, the less ignorant you will be of the scams pulled on you. Before you book a flat, make sure you have the time and energy to closely follow up with the project. Be prepared to make that project your life for that span of time. You will have to think about it literally every waking moment and sometimes in your dreams too. I had many a reminders about things to be done for my place in my dreams. I also spent many sleepless nights pondering over lists to go through, check boxes to be ticked, things to buy and so many other things.

In spite of all this, don’t get shooed away from the dream of owning a place, if that’s what you want. Don’t get pushed into it by the societal pressure that you must own a place once you are at a certain age or stage in your life. If you want to own a place, venture into it well-prepared, armed with some prior research, some know-hows and a lot of energy. You will have a life experience that will teach you many things that you wouldn’t have dreamed of.

Until later 🙂