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YOUR DREAM HOME: IS IT REALLY OUT THERE?

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More often than not the search for a rented apartment in Mumbai is not about choosing a house but choosing the factors to compromise on.
Whenever it comes to house hunting in Mumbai, we are reminded of a scene from the movie Matrix where Neo goes to meet the Oracle and sees a boy bend the spoon by merely looking at it. The following conversation takes place between the two:

Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth.

Neo: What truth?

Spoon boy: There is no spoon.

Neo: There is no spoon?

Spoon boy: Then you’ll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.

I see this scene enacted on the streets of Mumbai day in and day out where the bent spoon reflects the dream house and the spoon boy reflects the real estate consultant and Neo reflects the house seeker.

Real estate consultant: Do not try to find the perfect apartment in Mumbai. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth.

House seeker: What truth?

Real estate consultant: There is no perfect house.

House seeker: There is no perfect house?

Real estate consultant: Then you’ll see, all you need is to make some compromises and your mind will bend to convince you that you have found your perfect house.

The search for an apartment in Mumbai will always involve a compromise on the one/some/all of the following factors:

Compromise on budget

This compromise on budget can be is quite sizeable for people who are relocating to Mumbai from places like Gurgaon, Bangalore, Hyderabad, New Delhi etc as the concept of space has a completely different connotation in Mumbai. Therefore people relocating to Mumbai from these cities take about a week and a visit to 15-20 apartments to get used to the concept of space and budget in the city.

A plush fully furnished 2 BHK (with an area of over 1,000 sq.ft.) in Gurgaon in a premium locality might cost you about Rs20,000, but you would not even get a plush 1 room kitchen (area of about 300-400 sq ft) in that budget in Bandra, and that too in an old building without lift.

Compromise on travel time

This is a very important consideration in deciding the location for residing in Mumbai as daily commute can eat a significant amount of time in Mumbai. However, this is a factor which may be non-negotiable for a lot of people. Typically, families with kids tend to minimize their travel time as every minute saved on travel gives them an extra minute with the kids.

On the other hand, bachelors who have recently started their careers in the city tend to compromise more on this factor to reduce the compromise on the first factor and rightfully so, as saving early in your career is always a good advice.

However, one must always remember that distances in Mumbai are not measured in kms but in minutes. Thus, while evaluating the travel time do not look at distances as traveling 2 km from BKC to Sion may take you the twice the time as compared to traveling 20 kms from Priyadarshini, Chembur to Thane.

Compromise on quality of building

The choice for the right building is also a tough one to make in Mumbai. You will find three kinds of buildings in Mumbai (1) old buildings with no amenities, (2) standalone towers without amenities or some amenities like a gym and (3) residential complexes with all facilities.

All three have their own pros and cons. While most of the old buildings are not very attractive to view but offer some benefits like (1) maximum space in terms of carpet area, (2) easier on financial budget and (3) at times very good quality of interiors within the house. On the other hand complexes offer the luxury of all facilities but they are definitely a big stretch on the budget.

Compromise on locality

The choice for a locality is dependent on several factors like proximity to office, proximity to children’s school, proximity to social circle, general attractiveness to a locality for places like Bandra, Powai, social status etc. This factor is hard to compromise if the choice is account of proximity to children’s school. However, people do consider compromise on the locality for other factors to find a place that fits in the budget.

In a nutshell, as a house seeker in Mumbai, it is better to do detailed research upfront about Mumbai rental market, various residential localities and complexes, cost of living in various areas.

You can always call up a simpLease representative to get this information.
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