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dream home

The right price (in today’s terms) was five years ago, but it wasn’t affordable then.

Admit it. That’s the dirty truth.

For most of us, living in our own home gives a sense of security.

But, dreaming of getting a spacious sunlit home like this one?

Snap out of it.

You and your spouse have been looking at potential houses to buy and move in, for months now. And, still looking.

You’re FRUSTRATED. You’re ANGRY. Because, the homes you like are out of reach.

Well, you are not alone. This is our story: three months ago,on one Saturday morning over a breakfast of poha and steaming ginger tea, the day the decision was made —- after weeks of  hesitation, talks with family, and finally the courage to let it go. The first home we had bought years ago was on the market for sale. There were two things on the shopping list: Iron 883  a Harley Davidson Fat Boy Special and a house (in the reverse order), and both could be ours if we stuck to the house budget strictly.

fat boy

Potential buyers come home, look at our home with awe, are generous with their appreciation of how well I’ve maintained our home, and we start thinking again about our decision!  But, there’s no going back now.

We made up our mind to sell the current home, and move into a new home at some spectacular property at an accessible location and at an attractive price. We just didn’t know what or where our new home was to be.

We were excited as we flipped through the pages of the newspaper that morning. Ads for prospective new homes enticed us. It seemed easy with so many new properties coming up in the location we wanted.

Fast forward three months. We are still in the market as a buyer. It’s not FUN anymore packing lunch every Saturday morning driving around the city looking for a new home. After a while, I stop being amazed at all the fancy kitchens and glossy Italian marbles. They all look the same. Drones. We are at a point when we just want to pick one and be done with it. It’s worse than looking for a prospective partner in an arranged marriage these days.

This was me. But, it could be you and thousand others looking to buy a home.

Finding the home you love (and plan to live for the next few years) is FRUSTRATING, especially if you have a budget and no one is gifting you a crore tomorrow morning.

Some amazing things happen when the time is right. It was a HOT day in April and we had been on the road for five hours at a stretch, and I just wanted to go home. We had looked at four properties that day. We took a dessert break at  153, Biere Street for instant high followed by a dosa lunch break at MTR in Forum Value Mall (in that order) when the husband said, you’ll know the home you want to live in the minute you step in. You’ll just know it. He was describing it like love at first sight. The words woke me up, and I almost dropped from the chair: such philosophical words coming from a practical man. And what do you know, two hours later, there was a smile on our faces and a gleam in our eyes.

Long story cut short, we are close to deciding on our new home.

Oh, wait, I can’t reveal to you, not yet. But, I believe I have a lot to share with you all as stats from the previous series on the same topic in 2010 reveal. So, this is what I’m going to do. In a series of posts, I’m going to write about all the properties we visited, and why they didn’t become our next home. We were working with some rules, and it makes sense to share them here to keep this in perspective. Here’s a snippet of the post on finding a new apartment in Bangalore from Aug., 2010:

Since March, we’ve clocked hundreds of miles, numerous nights on the laptop browsing through craigslist, Saturday mornings on the phone with brokers/builders and several hours on the road in our search to find the perfect apartment. A second home. As with any home buyer, three criterion have always stayed on top of the list: location, price, and plan, in no particular order. And, if we have rejected a project, it’s primarily because we couldn’t ccompromise on one of these. Our hunt has taken us as far as Anekal in South-east to Dodaballapur in North-west.

A caveat before I dig deeper: I’m not a broker, not associated with any builder, and neither do I get any commission for this free advertising. If you have any queries regarding a project, please contact the builder/broker.

The good news is all of basic conditions hold good even now, four years later.

 

Now, the rules:

  • The three factors that any property must satisfy – location, price, plan.  After looking at a dozen properties, we were prepared to deviate slightly on any one of them but definitely not the plan.
  • Budget: Rs.1.2-1.4 crores
  • Area – between 1,900 sq.ft and 2,400 sq.ft. I didn’t want too big a house to manage. Personally, for me 2,000 sq.ft was an ideal size, but the husband wanted a bigger one.
  • Type of property – apartment, row house, villa. I hear what you are saying: yeah baby, ask for Antilla at that price.
  • New or resale property but should be available to move in the next six months. Not looking to move in immediately as the current house had to be sold.
  • Not too small a property. Must have at least 100 homes. A moderate sized community so that there was room to walk around the property, and playmates for kids;  imagine touching each other’s arms while walking in the evening.
  • Plan – at least two balconies, and a utility. Some basic vaastu principles I started considering.
  • Ratio of the property area/number of apartments. higher the number, desirable it is.
  • Not a very high rise property.
  • We do not believe in taking huge loans and paying 40 per cent of income in EMI. Compromising on savings and small pleasures like holidaying, eating out because you have a mortgage payment- nah!

We went to the market to buy a row house/villa with a 1.2-1.4 crore budget within city limits. And discovered, it’s like going to Reliance Fresh to buy a Kg of Australian Navel oranges with Rs.45. You barely get a good apartment at that price. Yes, that would be me. I was INSANE. One thing became clear: you can never afford the house you like. When you wait a few years to see if you can afford it, the price of the house you like has moved. Buying a home is not just about checking things off a list; it is an emotional thing.

Ready to join me on this ride as I talk about my experiences, mistakes, what to look for, what not to consider, how to read a plan a like a pro, how not to waste your time on the road, and so much more?

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10 Comments

  1. Oh, wow, Lakshmi! I'm eager to read the next parts. We had the location, price, plan criteria too and yes it is quite frustrating at any point of time because the good builders, I realized, were never going to be in our budget. We compromised and went in with a lesser-known builder.
    Why should good quality houses be so out of reach??!!!

  2. I'd sure like to read the sequels to this one! We might find ourselves in the market in few months. Been there, done that & it IS an ordeal. I'd love to live in a rowhouse but the concept is non-existent here. And with a budget of 1cr, we'd be lucky if we can get a 2000 sq ft apartment…..a villa is an unreachable dream! Sigh!

  3. laksh

    I hear you, Uma. For some reason, I thought of you as I wrote this post. Sometimes, I think it's better to rent out such houses but the past nightmares of having dealt with homeowners (one came with five goons when it was time to return the deposit) continue to haunt us.

  4. laksh

    Thank you Pooja :) This post took forever to write — so much closer to the heart! don't you worry – we'll get there. I like to believe – life has a plan. We just don't know what it is, not yet!

  5. Wow Laksh….finally…

    I am on cloud nine now!!! Have been waiting for this post for a long time…

    Feeling super excited….cud'nt wait to read the sequels…

    Love your analysis and the way you speak from your heart…..

    Wud you reveal your choice at least at the end of this series??? Very curious :-)

  6. sangitha aanand

    Happy for u lakshmi,really..
    Yes house hunting can take,a toll on you..but the whole process of searching for the perfect house and turning it into a home is fun..
    Waiting eagerly for the next post

  7. laksh

    Sangitha: Thank you, so glad to see your comment here. I should hang on to those words of wisdom, after all they come from someone who has just gone through the process :)

  8. laksh

    Vandana: I know, I know :) Thank you. Of course, I will, if we decide to go ahead.

  9. Oh! so much suspense! But I am sure the upcoming posts would be fun to read! We were in the market to buy an apartment last year, and were fortunate to find one in the same apartment complex in which we were living for past 6 years. So, now although we are not looking to buy any apartment, going through the floor plans of apartments has become my hobby. I will be eagerly waiting for your next posts…

  10. I wish your did this series for homes in Pune. We are in the same boat right now. :(

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