Sunday, July 1, 2012

House hunting adventures in Bangalore

It all started when we decided that it may be time to move into our own place after having lived in a rented accommodation for two years.

A few things we added to our "must have" and "nice to have" list.  

Must have list 
  1. Right price within budget
  2. Bearing in mind that my husband and in laws are quite tall,  a factor to be included i.e. higher ceilings. Some homes in Bangalore have low ceilings at the most inopportune  places
  3. Another "must have" was Privacy. Rooms situated in such a way that there is enough privacy for everyone. 
  4. We prefer rooms that are NOT dotting the living room, guests/visitors needn't know where every room is.
  5. Good light/air
  6. My family is quite loud, so hopefully no ground floor where one probably shouts out to each other, "where did you keep my purse" and so on..the neighbours hear everything. 
  7. Also ground floor usually meant less light, or having curtains drawn all the time, another no no.
  8. Proximity to place of work. 
The "nice to have list" was quite long as you can imagine. So I will leave that out now. 

Online searching and Agentinvolvement
The search criteria was set up in some of the realty portals : magic Bricks,,indiaproperty and so on.

While we did line up a few places from the search, having an agent or two on the task helps. Their network is way larger and they can line up more places to your liking on a specified day.

Our agent was an old time friend, so there are pluses(lots of hard work and personal involvement) and minuses in such a relationship - one that takes the other for granted 
  1. Give your agent a Budget criteria. If your budget is say 30 Lakhs, be sure most Indian agents will start showing you places for Rs. 50 Lakhs. 
  2. Most would say "your budget is not enough". It never is "enough" for them. Even at Rs. 2 Crores, agents are known to say they have only property for Rs. 4 Crores. Dont get swayed by it. 
  3. The higher the budget, the higher their commission. Ideally most agents like working for big ticket budgets. But dont let that bother you. They are also sensing how far you will stretch your budget.
  4. Stick to your budget. Imagine if you said your budget is 20L, your agent will start showing you something for 30L. Get the drift ? See a few. and then decide what is your actual budget and what you are NOT ready to budge from.
  5. Fix your walk-away price after that, since you get a glimpse of what work the agent can do and what are the properties in his kitty. 
We took a good 6-8 months in our search. At times in a job market like ours, sometimes a possible long term overseas posting etc might put the brakes on your house search, so be transparent with your agent and seller about it.

A piece of advice while house/apartment hunting :
  1. Check the property in daylight. Which rooms have enough light and air, would be easily visible.
  2. Check for quality of doors and windows. These soon become big ticket items if you were change or repair everything
  3. See walls for dampness or for water stains. Address Seepage problems with builder/seller if possible
  4. Check floors for stains. possible water logging(example in balconies/bathrooms etc)
  5. Quick check the plumbing. Are the flush/taps working
  6. If there is wood work done, check for wood borer problems. if its an empty place even better. 
  7. Check balconies to see if there is a proper sunshade or so to divert the water from rains. 
A good idea will be to sign some of these off with the seller/builder before closing a deal.

Remember you are a buyer/customer and therefore can make a few demands like asking the seller to include some stuff if required in the agreed price and so on. 

Watch out for sellers/and seller's agents who put on an act like they are doing you "a favour"(in case you come off as someone who loved the place too much) you might end up seeming needy and agreeing to most of the seller's demands! This is a buyer's market so please know you can push a little. 

A fact :
You will never know what a "good price" for a property is untill you check around enough to know what "VALUE" it has for you right now and in case you decide to upgrade and sell this in the future. 

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