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Explore the Options - 18 Nov, 2006. Times Property (Times of India)

My wife and I attended a house warming party of our friends Rachana and Romil Ravani last weekend at Lower Parel. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Romil and his family bought the property two years ago @ Rs 5,500/- a square foot, today valued at more than double, at Rs 13,000/-. I do recall that he had got in touch with us to source properties and we could not help much in the budget range he had given us. But guess what, he found just what he wanted and his home looks beautiful. It is so important to follow your dream and hunt till you drop, to get what you want. Romil works at Nariman Point with `Ernst & Young’ and at times works till late hours and used to live until now in Andheri west. Rachana is an interior designer and most of her clients are in town too. With this move they have managed to cut down their travel time by more than half.

 For Romil, like many of us in this city, having an office closer to home is important. I call this “consolidation”. My company/family made a similar move; our home, new corporate office, kids school and club, all are well within five kilometer radius. Given the traffic scene in the city one needs to plan a trip `to and fro’ (from suburbs to town or the other way around) almost as if you are planning an outstation trip.

Buying property is all about timing, I am sure you did not need me to say that. But how many people move fast with what they have liked, from viewing to a finalizing stage. I have dealt with families who can never decide and have lost out on great deals in the last two years and then there are examples like the ones above. There is a distinct difference in “I have to buy” and “I would like to buy”.

Turn to a professional and qualified property consultant for advice just like you would for accounting/law or health related matters. He/she will be able to guide you into emerging markets or locations where you buy to live or invest. For example, when we started work on Bandra Kurla complex on various developed and under construction commercial property sales, we advised several clients to buy residential and commercial properties in the surrounding areas, as we expected the prices to only go up. Last December when the MMRDA announced the plot auctions we expected the prices to sky rocket, which it did and once again much before the auctions started we identified and invested in surrounding areas.

If you have a choice and are not location bound, plan your life and your future – “Consolidate”. If you know your work is in Bandra Kurla and you live at Goregaon OR work is in Lower Parel and you live at Andheri; look for a home close to your workplace or the other way round if you are an entrepreneur. If you are bound by the location of your company office, look for a home around those locations with school options and other facilities. I know it is not simple or easy but you have to keeping looking just like Rachana and Romil did.

Byculla to Sion is new emerging location in the residential segment for the folks working between Parel & Bandra. Now, I know not everyone can accept a complete location change with comforts that one is used to, but if you try to visualize the future given the growth prospects for the city on the economic front, all undeveloped locations across the city are in line for a face lift and subsequently in line for further appreciation in prices. The common man is not going to buy land emerging out of ULC getting up-lifted or any FSI increase, it will be the developer who will get benefit and pay some huge amount which will be finally passed down to the buyer in his purchase price.

Slum redevelopment to redevelopment of old buildings and societies are about to change the look and feel to the city. With this, new retail and entertainment locations will emerge too. Stop getting stuck to your comfort zones and explore. The city is expanding and getting refreshed. If you are house hunting, consider the entire city to be a playground and my advice is, go play.