I bought a home: 13 tales from proud new homeowners in Mumbai
ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL: They scoured for months, did extensive research, cashed in savings and borrowed from relatives, but it was all worth it, they say.
It’s the ultimate dream, owning a flat in the city. For the 13th anniversary of HT Mumbai, we spoke to Mumbaiites about house-hunting, dream homes and upscaling to a larger space.
Through touch and feel
Mamta and Namdev Tambe, a visually impaired couple, had been saving up to buy a home since their wedding in 2009. Back then, they were living with eight other family members in a tin-roofed one-room kitchen in Ghansoli, where summers meant power cuts and a torrential shower meant rainwater flooding their home.
Two years later they moved into a 1BHK in Malad provided by the bank where they work as assistant managers, and adopted their daughter. “We wanted a permanent home for our family,” says Mamta, 33. “We couldn’t afford a house within the city. We picked Virar because it’s the terminus for a lot of trains on the western line and that would make the commute easier.”
‘Once we picked our home, we formed a mental map of it, and picked out and arranged the furniture ourselves,’ say Mamta and Namdev Tambe, seen here with daughter Manasvi in their 3BHK flat in Virar. ( Satyabrata Tripathy / HT Photo )
In April, they got a transfer to their bank’s Virar branches and moved into their new home.But the couple will never forget the experience of house-hunting when you cannot see. As they toured houses, Mamta’s mother would describe the layouts of each in detail.
“We had certain criteria that were non-negotiable,” recalls Namdev, 36. It had to be an extremely safe neighbourhood, with a market within walking distance, and a doctor as close as possible. “Once we picked our home, we formed a mental map of it, and picked out and arranged the furniture ourselves,” says Namdev. “This is the first time I have had a dining table!”
A homeowner at 25
Mahesh Mandare grew up in the servant quarters at Navy Nagar in Colaba. A decade ago, the then teenager moved with his parents and brother to a chawl room in Wadala. “Our Navy Nagar home had been small but peaceful. In Wadala, people would throw their garbage on the streets, drink and fight every night. The kids were doing drugs. I decided back then that I would get a house away from all that,” Mandare says.
“My builder told me I am the youngest flat owner in the building. I was very happy to hear that,” says 26-year-old Mahesh Mandare.
After Class 12, Mandare began working as a waiter at a cafe, then as store manager with a dessert chain and is now an area manager overseeing 13 outlets of a milkshake franchise. Over the years, he saved up enough to graduate in banking and insurance and invested his savings with help from his teachers at The Akanksha Foundation.
Last year, he finally had enough for a downpayment on a house in Virar. “There are 99 flats in the building and the builder told me I’m the youngest flat owner. I was very happy to hear that,” says the 26-year-old, grinning.
A flat with a view
It took Nivedita and Ameya Tipugade a year, but they eventually found a home that checked all the boxes — fit within their budget of Rs 70 lakh, was well-connected; and was situated above the 15th floor. “We spend all day, every day working in the heart of Mumbai. It can get chaotic,” says Nivedita. “So we were clear that when we returned home, we needed peace and quiet.”
‘We wanted a home above the 15th floor because we spend all day working in the heart of Mumbai and wanted peace and quiet at home. Now we have exactly that,’ says Nivedita Tipugade, seen here with husband Ameya.
Their 1BHK flat is on the 17th floor of a building on Ghodbunder Road, close to the highway but quiet and peaceful, with unobstructed views of the lush, green Thane hills.
“We must have looked at about 20 flats across Thane before we found this one,” says Nivedita, 28, an HR executive. They moved in in March.
It’s been a big shift for Ameya, 29, who grew up in Santacruz. “But I’ve realised that everything is more centralised here, be it shopping malls or restaurants,” says the talent acquisition exec. “I don’t have to go to neighbouring suburbs to eat out or shop.”
Back in the ’hood
Gaurav Chheda’s hunt for a home ended with a very pleasant surprise in November. The 29-year-old found a 500-sq-ft 1 BHK in the same Ghatkopar building where his family lives. “I must have seen more than a dozen houses over more than two months,” says Gaurav, laughing.
None of them worked, because he didn’t want to move too far from his family. The big, happy family all lived in one 2.5 BHK; the men worked in the family business, trading in building material. When Gaurav and his brother married and had their first kids, it became too cramped.
“When I found out our neighbour was selling, it was a dream come true,” he says. “I could not have hoped to get something so close.” He now lives in the new flat with his wife and child.
The right spot
A year ago, Anjan Das and his wife Anuradha Chettri decided to make the switch from tenants to owners. “It just didn’t make sense to keep paying Rs 80,000 in rent every month,” he says.
Das is design director with Forbes India and has lived in New York, Bangkok and Delhi, but Mumbai is where he and Anuradha, 42, a senior executive at McKinsey & Company, wanted to make their home.
Almost every weekend, for a year, we would go house-hunting with our broker. It was taking so long that in between we bought a flat in Panaji, as an investment / holiday home.
“Almost every weekend, for a year, we would go house-hunting with our broker,” says Das, 38. “It was taking so long that in between we bought a flat in Panaji, as an investment / holiday home.”
The couple still persisted with their hunt for the perfect home in Mumbai, and it paid off. In May, they moved into a 700-sq-ft 2BHK in Bandra East. “We wanted a good neighbourhood, a good building complex and proximity to work, and we got all three,” says Anjan.
The dream come true
After living on rent in the city for seven years, HR executive Narendra Chakraborty, 31, bought a 1.5 BHK in Ghodbunder Road, Thane, in June 2017. “The EMI I am paying is only a little more than the rent I was paying all these years. Also, considering the tax benefits of home loan and the fact that the rent was just money lost, it does not pinch at all,” he says.
‘The EMI is only a little more than the rent I was paying. Considering the tax benefits and the fact that the rent was just money lost, it does not pinch at all,’ says Narendra Chakraborty.
Chakraborty, however, moved slow when he started looking. “I spent hours on the internet, looking for information and feedback about projects. I regularly followed the real-estate sections of newspapers and did a crosscheck on every broker and dealer I spoke with,” he says.
It all paid off. He and his wife moved into their home six months ago. “A place to call home in the city was definitely a dream, and it’s come true,” he says.
Room for the whole family
After Amit Chheda married in 2015, his childhood home — a one-room-kitchen space in Thane — began to feel very cramped. “My parents, my wife and I needed more space. And we wanted to live in a better locality too, safer and not so far from the station. It was time to move,” says Amit, 29, an IT executive.
The initial plan was to sell their home and buy one of a similar price. But they couldn’t find anything they liked, and after about a year of looking, Amit decided to take a loan and aim a bit higher. “It was scary, but I had to take the plunge,” he says. Their new house in Mulund is a 1BHK, a short rickshaw ride away from the railway station. The family moved in three months ago.
To help save on costs, Amit Chheda took most of the furniture from his old house in Thane, to his new home in Mira Road.
“This is a more buzzing area, on the main road, so it feels safer. There are several eateries and places to go to too,” Amit says. There were a lot of memories attached to the old home, he admits. “But we shifted most of our old furniture here, so there is a continued sense of familiarity. It saved on costs too.”
Rakesh Gadge, 34, and his sister Sneha, 29, grew up on the edges of a slum area in Ghatkopar.
When it came time to find a bride for Rakesh, the area they lived in was consistently an issue. So the siblings decided to put their respective marriage plans on hold and focus on finding their ideal home.
Early last year, they zeroed in on a house that cost Rs 80 lakh. “But it was just post-demonetisation, so selling our flat was not easy, and even our home loan took some time to come through,” Sneha says. “It was a cumbersome process. We eventually had to arrange for part of the finances from the bank and some as a loan from relatives, but my mother, my brother and I finally shifted into the new house in September.”
Their 1 BHK is in an old building and is expected to go in for redevelopment soon, which will give the family an even bigger space. “Soon after we bought the house, my brother got married too,” Sneha says. “Everything has fallen into place.”
Right place, right time
It took two years from deciding to buy to actually owning a home, but Suparn Kuer says it’s all worth it now that he, his parents and his sister finally live under a roof of their own. “My father was in the Navy, and his last posting was in Mumbai,” says Suparn, 29, a market research analyst. For six years, the family lived in the Navy quarters in Colaba. Then the senior Kuer retired and the family moved to a rented home in Shanti Nagar, Mira Road.
Suparn Kuer (right) likes that his home in Shanti Nagar, Mira Road, overlooks a park and his building has a strong sense of community.
Tired of renting, they decided to buy. “There were certain parameters we had in mind — proximity to the station since I work in Andheri, a sense of community so my parents don’t feel lonely all day, and parking space within the building,” Suparn says.
They found exactly what they were looking for right in Shanti Nagar, in a building overlooking a park. “It’s pleasant, and members of the building get together on weekends. My parents like participating in those meetings and activities. The EMI for the 2BHK is twice the rent we were paying, but at least now the money is going towards an investment,” Suparn says. “We also got the benefit of the PMAY housing scheme, so overall we are quite happy with the decision.”
Exactly the home they wanted
After marrying into a joint family of 10 people living in a 1.5 BHK in Ghatkopar, communications manager Ritika Shah, 35, and her husband Sanjiv, 38, a businessman, lived on rent in Mulund for two years. They finally bought a house and moved into it in October. “It’s 500 sq ft, with a bedroom and two bathrooms. It’s exactly what we wanted,” Ritika says, smiling. “It’s in the plush Kalidas sports complex neighbourhood and was ready to move into when we bought it.”
Ritika Shah at her home in Ghatkopar.
While most people prefer to invest in a property just as work is beginning, when prices tend to be at their lowest, she wanted a ready-to-move-in home because she was wary of waiting for distant deadlines in order to take possession. “We looked at about 15 houses, met so many brokers and searched through property portals online before closing the deal,” she says. “This society really works for us. It is under CCTV surveillance and is well-connected by road and rail.” As for the EMI, home loans do not pinch, she says, when you get exactly the home you wanted.
A good fit
Mayuresh Chaturya thought he had found his dream home in 2001 — a 750-sq-ft 2BHK in Kalamboli, Navi Mumbai. Then the app consultant’s family began to grow, and they decided they needed a new realty dream.
“We now have a 1,240-sq ft 2BHK near our old house. We moved in last September,” says Mayuresh, 31. “The house has a terrace and two bathrooms. It’s more than enough for us and our parents, a daughter and a brother.” Chaturya fell in love with it when he first saw it, but he also researched the builder online and found that the company had a good reputation in the area and had delivered projects on time.
The Chaturyas’ 2BHK in Kalamboli has two bathrooms and a terrace. ‘It’s a perfect fit for my family of six,’ says Mayuresh.
The home has large common spaces, a dining area and large bedrooms, all of it make it feel more spacious than the average home of this size. “The location is accessible through public transport, including train and buses,” Mayuresh says. “I receive many compliments on the house and that feels good.”
New for old
After paying off his home loan two years ago, Satish Bhat, 59, a banking executive from Malad, decided to sell his 1BHK near InOrbit Mall. “I wanted to move into a 2BHK with my wife and son,” he says. “But I couldn’t sell until I got the price I wanted, or I wouldn’t be able to buy the new home.”
He finally sold his house in February for Rs 95 lakh, a bit less than he had been aiming for, and bought a 2BHK in Goregaon, in April. “This house was love at first sight for us,” he adds. “My son got married in May and we have moved into the new house with our daughter-in-law.”
Graphic designer Chetan More, 32, bought a 1BHK in January and moved in with his family of five, including wife, daughter, grandmother and two aunts. “We were previously living in a one-room-kitchen that belonged to my parents,” he says.
He sold that house last year and took a loan to buy his 400-sq-ft home. “We now have a small balcony and some privacy,” he laughs.
More had been hunting for a house to fit his budget for two years, before buying this one. “Rates in Mumbai are very high and I have a big family to support,” he says. “This house has been a longstanding dream that is finally fulfilled.”
First Published: Jul 14, 2018 21:22:39