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Househunting and Starting Up – What I Learnt and What I Need Help With

“why is house hunting so much like starting up?” quipped my usual self.
“well, because it is!!!” said, my rational self.
Then there was no further conversation… A wide grin said it all..


When I was asked to shift base to Mumbai on work by my office, parentune and everyone concerned with this move were on the same page, the first thing for me to do was obviously #lookup. Look up for an accommodation for myself.

And, the sketch of my dream house was –
Carpet Area – 600+ sqft
A fully furnished 1BHK flat – modular kitchen, marble flooring, split AC, double bed, microwave, sofa set, fridge, gas stove, cupboard/ wardrobes, washing machine
Rent Budget – Rs. 15,000 per month
Areas – Andheri to Malad on their W side within 2 kms to the railway station

Over the past few days in the process of chasing this dream house (haven’t yet found it), I couldn’t help but find a lot of similarities between #househunting and #startingup. This post is written with a perspective on the former and I hope you get to see the resemblance with the latter.

Discover the realities – Research, read, talk & get hold of as much information as you can. You can start stupid but you can’t continue so if you ever want to reach somewhere.

Hey dream house, btw, you just underwent some construction!

Know where the magic happens – that warm and fuzzy place, where you have adjusted to everything around you and the challenges also seem to be a part of the daily accepted routine, that is the comfort zone. Move out of it, that is where thrill awaits.

Hey dream house, I’m glad we got introduced!

Erase the ‘perfect’ notions – Perfection is a misnomer. If there was one word I could erase from the dictionary it probably would be ‘perfect’. Nobody and nothing is perfect. A little bit of acceptable compromise makes life so much easier.

Hey dream house, even with that plaster peeled away you don’t look that bad.

pic courtesy: quickmeme.com

Keep the madness alive – for some days now I have been so restless and get all the conversations in my home around to my relocation. At a point my parents and close friends thought I’m edging insanity. Precisely, that’s when I knew I’m doing it right.

Hey dream house, I kinda like the way you keep ‘seeping’ into my thoughts.

Negotiate your way – A wise man said “you don’t really get what you deserve but you get what you negotiate.” From the rentals to the security deposit to the amenities, there is the need of finding a path to keep things going favorable for you.

Hey dream house, getting you on a common ground (or floor whatever) with your possessor is a big deal I must say.

Accept the barriers – Sadly, but indeed at about 40% of the places I shortlisted I couldn’t move the conversations to the next level because I said I shall be staying independently. Though I don’t fully agree to this and it has been a big pain point, I learnt to acknowledge what can’t be changed. With a partner in crime you are always viewed differently, uh?

Hey dream house, I detest these modular ways of reaching to you.

Rebuild on dashed dreams – I had found a lovely, fully furnished address that I could step in immediately into with most things in place, a notch better than my dream house. But unfortunately, it was at one of the farthest ends of the town. I kept looking at its pictures and wished it was much more accessible but eventually let go and continued back into reality.

Hey dream house, you didn’t tell me you would need a paint so often.

Distinguish between real n fake – I have got many people (brokers included) some genuinely helping out and some pretending to do so. And, these interactions have helped me understand whom to approach and who won’t be much of an aid. No garnering hard feelings either.

Hey dream house, you also work on ‘grades’ is it? God, you all look so similar!

Rejoice in the journey – Doing things ourselves comes with many lessons and though there is no end in whatever we are seeking it’s the walk throughout that is the most memorable. Had my house hunting been delegated off to someone else I’m not sure I would have had such an unforgettable experience.

Hey dream house, I’m not sure we’ll meet but I’ll never forget the way I architected you. 

Relay Information – Thanks to digital, let many more folks around you know what you are up to (or looking for), somehow somewhere down the line it’ll be valuable for you. And, of course a big thanks and cheers to online communities, all of us seem connected in a way.

Hey dream house, did you know I made you famous?
Tying a lemon and chilly to you, as I now draw this write up to a closure with the last paragraph on my first hand experiences, read horrors in discovering you.

  1. Singlehood hasn’t haunted me otherwise as much as it does when I’m out house hunting. Sadly, many societies are governed by rules which don’t allow owners to rent out flats to singles. House owners ask me if I will have friends visiting my place and when I answer in the affirmative they mention that it clearly worries them and so they can’t be letting out the house. Should everyone be punished because of a few miscreants? In fact, one of the owners mentioned to me that if I stayed at her place, I need to introduce to her every person entering my house. Beat that!
  2. Flats posted by brokers on the various rental portals are 90% of the times never available and the broker signs off saying “kal hi yeh wala kisi ne le liya”
  3. When compared to the options for families, the houses left for singles are terrible.
  4. The various facebook groups that I was added to by friends is an excellent mine for those looking out for flat mates but not so much for finding an independent flat to stay.
  5. There are examples of brokers posing as owners and listing the properties and one can only figure it out slowly with time.
  6. Appliances like fridge, stove et al. are still amenities even if they date back to 3 decades ago.
  7. Security Deposit? They are the most bizarre figures and I’ll never know how it is even calculated. It’s not one or two or three months of the rental amount but seems to be any favorite number of the owner above INR 60,000.


Thanks rodinhooders for the patient read. This blog is WIP, while I had actually intended to pen it down post me finding a shelter over my head, I thought nevertheless let me share it early on as I can be assisted in my scouting.

Below is the sketch of my humble dwelling now. Any leads on reaching here would be most appreciated. The place shall be my home office initially as we don’t have an office space yet. Me being into sales will be mostly out on client meets. I am looking for an independent 1 BHK or 1 RK as I’ll have my parents stay with me off and on. 

Carpet Area – min. 400 sqft.
A semi furnished flat – a kitchen space, tiled floors, AC, double bed, gas stove, cupboard/ wardrobes, fridge
Rent Budget – Rs. 15,000 per month
Areas – Andheri to Borivali in a residential colony with good transport connectivity

I wish finding a good house was as easy as complaining about everything around but unlikely it will ever be.

Twitter: @SunainaShenoy

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9 Comments

  1. my gosh sunaina,

    moving from NCR to mumbai is gonna be a culture shock in terms of real estate! i sincerely hope your company is actively helping you to re-locate? i realise they too are a startup, but that’s the least startups can do to in case a single lady is re-locating and she will be operating from her house initially!

    let me share this with all the mumbai-based rodinhooders i can think of. i understand sushrut is really helping you out already. himanshu mody is located that side – let me ping him as well.

    all the best!!

    ps: very curious to know what your experience with the #lookup folks was like 🙂

  2. hey asha, completely agree it’s a big shock! i have got a lot of support from colleagues in terms of getting connected with people there to ask for acco but haven’t been able to zero down on any. 

    the #lookup folks have a really good interface and the website is easy to use but my experience with the brokers listed there hasn’t been good at all. the places that i shortlist have never been available and they reply saying the property is not there anymore. n reaching the house owners directly on their numbers is not easy as they often don’t pick the call.

    thanks a lot for the wishes.

    btw, after alok sir shared this blog on his fb page, one of the house owner has left his number in the comments, i have contacted him and shall see the place once i’m there 🙂 #crossedfingers

  3. Hello Sunaina,

    this is what I like about rodinhoods it’s a big family of Entrepreneurs and Asha mentioning this in today’s newsletter brings me to this page after many days 

    Sunaina if you can inbox me your number will send you couple of numbers of brokers for Borivali & kandivali west which would be able to get you a semi furnished 1 bhk flat in budget of 15,000 to 18,000 depends on area and condition of flat possibly will be within 2-4 kms to station with good connectivity but building may be old.

    You can also try on Facebook for rent/houses without brokers there are many times good listings.

    Wishing you all the best and am sure with few hiccups but in sometime you will fall in love with Mumbai especially it’s Entrepreneurial  energy and spirit.

    Do feel to connect for any help 

    Best Regards,

    Darshan

  4. hey any luck sunaina??

  5. Didn’t Taklu help????

  6. sunaina – i think alok means amit baliga 🙂

  7. yes finally found, done shifting & cleaning up.. and a new routine starts from tomorrow

  8. he did connect me to a few flatmate groups on facebook but didn’t get the kind of place i wanted from there..

  9. thanks for reaching out and connecting darshan.. yes getting used to hiccups though i’m sure mumbai will be a great experience for me

    and i agree with your phrase ‘this is what i like about rodinhoods’

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