Mumbai has evolved considerably over the decades, shifting from the erstwhile landlord-tenant culture to an ownership-driven mindset. Initially, home buying Mumbaikars were happy with basic shelter; a roof over their heads. Later on, as the family requirements increased, they sought additional space with more rooms by moving towards the suburban areas. After a while, the price tag for apartments with those additional square feet within Mumbai’s limits proved beyond their budget.
That was the stage when realisation dawned that a project in the extended suburbs (exurbs) of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), with lifestyle facilities within its premises such as a clubhouse, gymnasium, swimming pool, jogging tracks or a yoga corner was a better proposition. Proximity to the railway station, schools, colleges, religious places, etc. further sweetened the deal. One could manage with fewer rooms as home buyers could access all those facilities across the entire project.
Enabling early ownership: Real estate marketing has come a long way from uber traditional methods like word of mouth to using omni-channel communications. Travelling by a train or on the road, one would come across many advertisements that prompt you to consider owning a property. With so many additional options landing up in your email inbox and smart phone, one can be really spoilt for choice.
Keeping an open mind about the project location has enabled home ownership at an earlier age, making it a lot easier than it appeared at first, with multiple benefits. I noticed this while visiting a friend who had purchased a 2BHK apartment at one such ‘exurb’ project.
Extensive facilities provided: It was a pleasant surprise to be politely intercepted at the entrance by a security guard who provided precise directions to the floor and wing where my friend stayed. However, he first ushered me to a video booth, from where he obtained my friend’s approval to let me enter the premises. There were three lifts for navigation, and a service lift.
After reaching his house and exchanging the usual pleasantries, my friend gave me a quick tour that included an exclusive room dedicated as an office space. He then took me to the huge, combined terrace that covered six wings and showed the amenities like a common study area, a meditation zone, yoga zone and walking area demarcated clearly on the rooftop.
The panoramic view was quite impressive. He then took me to the clubhouse and ordered some coffee and snacks. We continued our discussions as glanced at the decorative and flowering plants along the periphery of the complex, which made an even greater impression.
The bottom line: With the advent of Work From Home (WFH), new projects in the exurbs are not only offering living space but also giving the option of converting some of it for office work. This has truly eliminated the traditional discussion of how much time does it take to reach your office. Taking walk to work to another level entirely, it comes down to just twelve steps from the breakfast table to the work station.
While home ownership with space for WFH is a key accomplishment, one should reflect on the accommodation formats experienced during different stages of life. For some, the journey begins with staying at a hostel as a student, followed by being a paying guest during the initial stages of a career. The next stage is moving to tenancy or a leave and licence arrangement for temporary accommodation while saving funds to purchase a property.
Buying a flat is that proud moment, when the status of ownership is bestowed on you. Owning additional space (a second home) and leasing it out represents the ‘circle of life’ when you find yourself on the other side of the transaction, collecting rent from a tenant!
The first step in selecting a new home involves examining where you would like to reside. This is important as it gives you an idea as to the average price tag for homes in that area and whether it fits within your budget or not.
Since different areas of the MMR have different real estate market conditions, this should be one of your very first steps. This also brings into play the time required for commuting to your place of work and so on.
Once you decide where you would like to live, you can go about identifying suitable projects and comparing them, while also raising the finance for that new home.
(The writer is a Trend Science, Communication & Marketing Consultant)
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