Three women talk about the experience of finally finding a place to call their own
When celebrity chef Rachael Ray said in an interview with Good
Housekeeping, “Good food and a warm kitchen is what makes a house a home,” she expressed the innate wish everyone has to own a place where they find their comfort after a hard day’s work—where they feel at ease and leave their stressful lives behind. While most of us spend our days toiling for a better life, the soaring real estate prices keep making our dream to own a house, look dreary. And the fact that the expenses don’t end at the purchase of property makes it even more taxing. This month, three women share with us the idea of a dream home and how they planned their finances while an expert gives advice.
For most people, renovating their house is a task that can be put off indefinitely—a financial commitment that is meant for people who have excess money. But what they don’t realise
is that remodelling their house doesn’t only benefit the family but also appreciates the resale value of the property. “Just like your wardrobe, homes too need constant reinventing as trends change every season,” says Arunima Kukreja, 35, proprietor, Studio Europa. Being an interior designer, the process of renovating her house was an easy task for her. “If you’re passionate about interiors, I think you will always be at some stage of renovation where your house is concerned,” she adds. Because of her professional expertise, it took her a little over a month of planning before she started work on her house. “From the furniture and fabrics to the flooring and paints, I was very clear about what I wanted which made working around the budget a lot clearer,” she says. While for Kukreja, remodelling was easy, not everyone can sail through it. One of the key factors to work around is to differentiate between what you want and what you need. You may want plush furniture as part of your décor while your floorboards are creaking under its weight. It’s important to prioritise and focus on the needs of your home, and depending on the surplus, splurge on what you want.
Monica Gupta, 30, co-founder, Craftsvilla.com in Mumbai, on the other hand, dreamt of owning a duplex ever since she was a student. After completing MS in accounting from San Diego State University, United States, she began to research extensively. “I needed to know how much it’ll cost me so I could start saving at once,” she says. Snehal Mantri, director, marketing of Mantri Developers, Bangalore, emphasises the need for the credibility of a builder. “A prospective buyer should check the developer's sanctions and legal documents to ensure reliability. Deficiencies on this front can lead to serious consequences for the buyer,” explains Mantri. Gupta had to save for eight years before resorting to a loan. “Checking the real estate prices was routine for me. Ultimately, my savings made for 80 per cent of what I was required to pay and the deficit was met by the loan I opted for,” says Gupta.
For Vijaya Ramam, 67, management consultant, L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, buying a house was a decision that was long overdue. “I used to live in a two bedroom house with my mother where having house guests
was difficult. That’s when I thought of buying a bigger house,” she says. When her sister, Uma Rama Rao, a renowned Kuchipudi dancer bought a bungalow in Banjara Hills, Ramam decided to buy one in the same location. “I wanted to consult with my children in the US about selling a plot my late husband left me. There was a lot of sentimental value attached to it,” she says. Her son Sishir, an IT professional, “liquidated some shares he had invested in and sent me the money for the house. He felt he owed me that much. Even though I tried to dissuade him, he convinced me that it was the best option,” says Ramam. Whether it’s building a house or buying one, it is important to conduct thorough market research. “Today almost 80 per cent of property related searches begin on the internet, making it convenient. With basic details in hand, one can then intensify their search by going to the sites and checking each shortlisted property,” suggests Mantri. For Ramam, the reliability was ensured because of her sister. Even though she believes that she went overboard with the expenses, she doesn’t regret her decision. “After all, when you work hard for many years, the least you owe yourself is a comfortable life. Buying this house was better than spending 25 per cent of my salary on monthly rent,” she says. A most common error is overshooting, but it’s also inevitable when you undertake large projects. It’s essential to keep a 15 per cent buffer margin. “All you need to do is cut down on unnecessary expenditure for a few years to come,” says Ramam.
Whether it’s building a house, buying one or simply revamping your home’s look, a little bit patience and an informed approach can be rewarding for you and your family, for the rest of your lives.
Propreitor, Studio Europa, Delhi “Just like your wardrobe, homes need constant reinventing as trends change.”
Co-founder, Craftsvilla.com, Mumbai “My savings made for 80 per cent of what I had to pay and the deficit was met by the loan”
67 Management Consultant, L.V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad “I have no regrets. Buying this house was better than spending 25 per cent of my salary on monthly rent.”